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Home-made Lining & Lettering - 2


MikeOxon

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In the first post in this series, I covered the basics of setting up Photoshop Elements (PSE) and a printer, to make water-slide transfers on ink-jet printable paper.

 

My first topic was 'Boiler Bands', which are made up from simple straight lines. Now it is necessary to consider the more general subject of lined panels, which raises the new problem of dealing with corners.

 

My 'cheat' way of making sure that the lining will be a good fit to the model is to scan the model itself. I lay the model on its side in my Canon 9900F flatbed scanner and scan it at fairly high resolution, to produce a 1:1 scale image on the computer. The original size of the image shown below was 6900 X 2030 pixels (px), scanned at 800 px/inch Alternatively, if you have a scale drawing, you can scan this as a template for your lining.

 

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Scanned Image of 'Stella' model

 

My 'worked example', below, covers the cab-side lining for my GWR 'Stella' class locomotive. I draw the lining and/or crests, etc. over the image of the model in PSE.

 

When I built my own model, shown in the previous post, I worked directly on the scan at this resolution and ended up with rather 'over-scale' lining. Since I want to change the cab-side number, I will re-do both cab sides, using the higher resolution of 720 px/cm, as I described for the boiler bands. I could re-scan at higher resolution but it is very simple to change the resolution by using the 'Re-size' dialogue in the 'Image' menu of PSE. I used the 'Crop Tool' to select the cab side from the original image, shown above. In my case, the cropped image measured 618 x 898 px. I re-sized this cropped image to a resolution of 720 pixels/cm using the dialogue box shown below:

 

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Re-size Dialogue in PSE2 (newer versions may appear different)

 

Note that, after the change in resolution, the size of the image in pixels has changed but the Document Size, which represents the size when printed, remains the same, so it will still print at the correct size to fit the model.

 

Having produced a template for the cab side, I next select the area to be printed on the transfer film. I use the 'Polygonal Lasso Tool' around the edge of the required area. For the curved areas around the wheel-arch, I still use the Polygonal tool in small steps, but you might find the 'Magnetic Lasso' works better for you. Once I have selected the area, I flood fill the selection with the GWR green body colour: R,G,B = (1,46,3). I then invert the selection [menu: Select | Inverse] and clear everywhere outside the coloured area [menu: Edit | Clear], as shown below:

 

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Create a Cabside Template in PSE2

 

The lining for GWR locomotives in the period 1881 - 1906 was very similar to the boiler bands, I described previously (i.e. black, bordered by two 1/8” orange-chrome lines) but the overall width is only 1-1/8”, meaning that the central black line is only 7/8”. In my previously chosen scale, this makes the the black line 21 px wide and the orange lines 3 px wide (as before)

 

.As I mentioned before, you may find that, in the smaller scales, the lining is too 'subtle', so you may want to widen the orange lines to suit your personal taste.

 

I start drawing the lining by placing a vertical black line along the longest straight edge (the front of the cab side). I then bound this line with two orange lines, exactly as described for boiler bands. Since PSE creates a new layer for each of these lines then, if you look in the drop down Layers palette, you will see that there are now three layers containing these 'shapes', in addition to the Background. For convenience, you can link these layers, by clicking on the boxes shown below, then combine them by using the command 'Merge Linked' in the 'Layer' menu..

 

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Linking layers in PSE

 

You now 'Duplicate' the combined layer ['Layer' menu] and use the 'Move' tool to place the duplicate along the vertical edge at the back of the cab side. It will be too long, so you simply use the 'Eraser' tool to trim off the excess. Make another duplicate layer and, this time, rotate it through 90° [menu: Image | Rotate | Layer 90° Left], to make the top lining. Repeat these steps as necessary for all the sides. If you have an irregular shape, you can use Free Rotate layer to match non-parallel sides. When you have completed the straight sides, 'Flatten' the image [Layer menu].

 

Unfortunately,I have not found an 'easy' way of doing the curved lining around the splasher and side cut-out. I use the 'Line' tool to draw an orange line in small segments around the curved edges. Work at 'Actual Pixels' on your screen, to make sure that the segments are contiguous and aligned with one another. Link the segments up with the existing straight edges - you can trim away any excess by over-painting with the background colour. The draw a second orange line, inside the first, by the same method. I draw the second line at the correct spacing, by 'eye'.

 

It sounds tricky but, once you have the hang of it, it goes quite quickly. Then, 'Flatten' the image again and use the Bucket tool to fill the space between the two orange lines with black. The result should be something like that shown below. If you have more patience than me, you can draw in smaller segments, to make smoother curves! You can easily 'touch up' the corners by drawing new linking curves, before painting out any over-run.

 

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Drawing curves as a series of line segments

 

Once you have gone around all the sides and joined all the corners, you have a transfer ready for printing. Since you are going to want the opposite side as well, you can copy the whole side and then, after pasting the duplicate (which will automatically be placed as a new layer), select 'Flip Layer Horizontal' from the 'Image | Rotate' menu. If there's not enough space on your drawing area for both sides, simply increase the 'canvas size' to suit, from the 'Image | Resize' menu. Now you have a 'matched pair' of cab sides, ready for printing on decal paper.

 

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A Pair of 'Stella' lined cab sides

 

After printing at actual size, as described for 'boiler bands', remember to varnish over the whole area and then use a scalpel to cut carefully around the lining. The decal film is pretty tough, so you should not find it too difficult to 'tease' the loop of lining into place on the model, providing you have 'wetted' the area beforehand, to ensure an easy 'slide'

 

Next time, I will cover number plates, crests, etc. and, hopefully, will provide a few more handy tips :).

 

Mike

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Gosh, Mikkel, you were quick of the mark!  I hope you weren't kept sitting waiting for this :)  Thank you for the comment.

 

Mike

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A good way of getting a curved line is to use just a small part of the circumference of a really large, hard edged brush. erase the bits you don't want and then do another smaller by your line width in side this. If you have full PhotoShop, the pen tool and create a path and then transform this is the best way to do it.

 

Scanning the loco is a great idea but you will get a better defined scan by placing something like an upturned box over the loco to cut out the background light like the lid does when you scan a flat page.

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A good way of getting a curved line is to use just a small part of the circumference of a really large, hard edged brush. erase the bits you don't want and then do another smaller by your line width in side this. If you have full PhotoShop, the pen tool and create a path and then transform this is the best way to do it.

 

Scanning the loco is a great idea but you will get a better defined scan by placing something like an upturned box over the loco to cut out the background light like the lid does when you scan a flat page.

Thanks again, KH1, for additional tips - I wasn't too concerned about scan quality, since I only wanted a background template, but I take your point - I hadn't though of a box!  I intend to say a little about using a pen tablet in a future post.

 

Mike

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Mike,

Many thanks for the second instalment. This is absolutely first class and is like being tutored.

I don't think of anything else other trying it myself as soon as the domestic authorities stop saying;' you spend far too much time up there!'

Keep up the good work as it is much appreciated.

 

Best regards

Michael dJS

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Thank you,Michael.  I'm actually doing this writing while I have an enforced break from modelling - I have dermatitis on my hands, probably from some of the materials I have been using - flux, adhesives, brass...??? 

 

A nuisance, but it's clearing up ok.  This writing keeps me in the swing of things and has also brought some useful feedback, with additional ideas :)

 

Mike

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I think this is a very well explained way to do transfers.

You have unfortunately got the lining wrong I think I thought it was orange green black green orange. Not orange black orange.

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My lining is correct for the 1881 - 1906 period (according to 'Great Western Way')  The intervening green line came after 1906, when a 1" black line was flanked by

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  • RMweb Gold

Hi again Mike, today has been a day full of tedious chores so I've been logging on here regularly in between to get a bit of relief! Yes Dave's Dean Goods livery is fantastic isn't it!

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