Federation Commander Forum Index Federation Commander
A NEW fast paced board game of starship combat!
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Decals - How hard to make your own?

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Federation Commander Forum Index -> Miniatures
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Warhammer
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 04 Dec 2006
Posts: 29
Location: Memphis, TN

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 5:13 pm    Post subject: Decals - How hard to make your own? Reply with quote

I am going to dip my toe into the minis for FC. I have done plenty of Battletech minis in the past, so I have no problem with the painting, basing, or priming of the mini. My question is about decals. How hard are they to do it yourself? Where do you get them done? Etc. I would imagine that a laser print would be better, can you get this done at a Kinkos?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
OGOPTIMUS
Captain


Joined: 10 Nov 2006
Posts: 981

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Several people have done it here. And I'm sure they'll chime in. Mine are still in progress... Rolling Eyes

You can buy kits at a hobby store that will have software and paper etc, but many people have said that the software is rudimentary and does not easily lend itself to making the small details necessary for SFU minis.

Yes, the general consensus seems to be that using a laser printer is vastly superior. You can likely get this done at Kinkis, but make sure you talk with them beforehand and see if the paper will go through the printer without issue.

And really make sure that you print out your decals several times on generic white paper to see that they look the way you want. Don't waste decal paper doing this!

I can't seem to find many of the threads that previously discussed thius, but here's one:

http://starfleetgames.com/federation/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?t=1133&highlight=custom+decals

Good luck!
_________________
O.G. OPTIMUS


NEW Page | OLD Page
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Starfighter Decals
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 04 Feb 2008
Posts: 66

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can send you a tutortal if you like. PM me or e-mail me thru my web site.

www.starfighter-decals.com
_________________
Assumptions and Conclusions are not facts.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
djdood
Fleet Captain


Joined: 01 Feb 2007
Posts: 2928
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most of what I would add has been covered by the giant robot.

One thing that throws even some old-pros though: clear coat. You *have* to clear coat your decal sheet, once you've printed it, especially if it was laser-printed. If you don't, the printer-toner will just start to flake off when you soak the decal for applying it.

As OG noted, the commercially available decal packages (Testors, etc.) pretty much suck. They're geared to scale modelers and rc-car guys almost exclusively - all of whom work at a much larger scale than we do. The software really wasn't able to scale down to our size and was very "clip-art" oriented. Don't waste your money.

Testor's decal paper did fine for me, just avoid the software.

I do all my decal art preparation in an old version of Macromedia FreeHand. Others use Adobe Illustrator, etc. You're going to want a similar vector-based drawing software. You can make do with Photoshop, or GIMP, etc., but they aren't optimal for this kind of work. They are geared to working with raster (bitmap) images like photographs. You want a program that is geared to creating shapes and printing them with nice, crisp edges (no dithering, etc.).

It doesn't need to be new or razzle-dazzle. The copy of FreeHand I use is FreeHand 9 (and is nearly 10 years old). There is likely a free open-source application out there that can do this job for you, but I've not looked into that.

Decal paper is expensive, so You'll want to squeeze as much decal content onto your sheets as you can. I spent a lot more time moving objects around and consolidating than I did drawing.

I started with stuff like this:

Eventually, I ended up with an 8.5x11 sheet packed even more full than this:


Once I was all done, I had a friend color laserprint the sheet for me. Ideally, it should get clear-coated as soon as it cools down after printing, to avoid having any toner chip off in transit. You don't need to hose-it-down with clear coat, but a nice thin even coat will seal it all together and give better results.

Good luck!
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Scoutdad
Commodore


Joined: 09 Oct 2006
Posts: 4467
Location: Middle Tennessee

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What 'dood and the giant robot forgot isthe background color.

If you're printing declas for use on white or very light minis, then clear decla paper works well and a bit of clear paper overhang is no big deal.

If you're goign to laser print decals for use on minis with a darker base color, you need to:
A) use a white paper.
This works well for regularly shaped designs that can be cut right to edge with a sharp exacto knife. Gorn Fleet insignia, Hydran fleet bands, and some Kzinti ship emblems fit this category. Odd shaped decals will leave bits of white decal paper showing around the design unless you can cut it precisely.
B) use an ALPS printer.
ALPS printers have the ability to print white ink. This is useful for printing a white base on a clear decal sheet and then printing the color design over the white... but this is a very advacned technique that Mark will have to go into more detail on as I've never had access to that type of equipment.
_________________


Scoutdad's minis photos here!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Yahoo Messenger
Warhammer
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 04 Dec 2006
Posts: 29
Location: Memphis, TN

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How did you determine the size of details?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
djdood
Fleet Captain


Joined: 01 Feb 2007
Posts: 2928
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scoutdad is right. I forgot to mention it, because it's the nature of the beast. If you are printing these yourself, that pretty much means inkjet or laserprint, which means doing any decals for use on a dark background color will be a royal PITA.

Laserprinted decals on clear film look fine on white and light gray (and similar light colors). They disappear on darker colors (Kzinti reds, Klingon grays, etc.). You either have to print them on white film and be very, very good with an Exacto knife, print them on ALPS (very tough to find), or go to a decal vendor to ALPS them for you. (Without a white or metallic layer behind your art, there's nothing to reflect the light and your art just blends into the background darkness).

Determining sizing involves a lot of measuring of the minis with calipers and rulers and quite a bit of trial and error with curved surfaces (which is what the cheap inkjet test shots on paper are for). There is also the hassle of getting prints at 100% of your art's original size (or as close as you can get - most printers do something to the scale).
_________________
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
OGOPTIMUS
Captain


Joined: 10 Nov 2006
Posts: 981

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Getting the sizing correct can be a real pain.

That's also why I suggested printing out your decals on regular paper--you can then cut them to size and see if they fit on the miniature.

I've used A LOT of trial and error on mine, and they're still not done. For me it's a very iterative process.
_________________
O.G. OPTIMUS


NEW Page | OLD Page
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Alex Knight
Lieutenant JG


Joined: 06 Jun 2008
Posts: 57
Location: Michigan

PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

djdood wrote:

It doesn't need to be new or razzle-dazzle. The copy of FreeHand I use is FreeHand 9 (and is nearly 10 years old). There is likely a free open-source application out there that can do this job for you, but I've not looked into that.


Indeed, that is true. I've used OpenOffice Draw to make a Fed DHD ship card and found that to be vector based. (Turned out nicely.) I haven't tried it for decals *yet* but I probably will at some point. The other nice thing about vector based programs is if you find out that the decal you want is too large, you can shrink it and it'll remain as sharp as your original.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Federation Commander Forum Index -> Miniatures All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group