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2005 dodge Dakota

Discussion in 'Vehicle Graphics' started by j2signs, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. j2signs

    j2signs New Member

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    Apr 6, 2010
    I am trying to help out a friend who wants to add some graphics to his "new to him" 2005 dodge dakota. We don't do a lot of custom graphics, usually box trucks and trailers and a bunch of real estate signage.

    He wants to follow the body lines on the side so something as close to the real thing would be great. I did take some pictures, but worried the scaling might be screwed up when i actually cut the vinyl.

    The truck is white and we were thinking of doing a row of 1/2 checkers down the side- about 2.5" wide total. He has a detailing business, so somewhere along the side we'll put his logo and then tie the striping into the white trailer he pulls and do the logo again on the trailer.

    Usually someone comes to use with corportate logos and ready to go artwork. I have to come up with this one from scratch....kind of looking forward to it.

    If you have pictures of something you did in the past that i can feed off of, that would be great too.

    Thanks everyone in advance!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2010
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  2. Malkin

    Malkin Very Active Member

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    You're probably fine to work off the photos, helps that the truck is white.

    Just make sure the photo is straight on. Also, to reduce distortion, step back a ways, and zoom in to make the truck fill the frame.
     
  3. j2signs

    j2signs New Member

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    Apr 6, 2010
    Thanks Ted. I am going to ask him to hook the trailer and truck up together and do that.
     
  4. mikey-Oh

    mikey-Oh Very Active Member

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    okc
    having a known dimension in the center of that frame helps scalability
     
  5. phototec

    phototec Very Active Member

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    Belton
    Full Size Photo Template

    Even with a vehicle template (which can be off a little), I always shoot a high quality photo of the vehicle straight on, as mentioned above, place a known reference scale on the side of the vehicle, I have a magnetic yard stick (actually a tape measure available from Sign Warehouse), I stick it on the side in the center of the vehicle.

    To eliminate any distortion, it's best to get way back, exactly centered left to right and position the camera half of the height of the vehicle (center up and down), move way back and use a telephoto lens, NOT a wide angle, which causes distortion. If the back gets a graphic image, then I use the same procedure to create a full size image of the back of the vehicle. I have also got up on an over pass and taken a straight down photo of the hood on one project, because the text was very tight and I didn't want the text to run off the hood.

    Then, I open the image of the vehicle in Photoshop and scale it up to full size at 100dpi, based on the yard stick on the side of the vehicle, so one foot (12") on the ruler measures an actual 12 inches in Photoshop. Then I have a full size image in the base layer in Photoshop which I label as "TEMPLATE", I set the opacity of this layer to about 50%, sometimes more depending on the color of the vehicle. If you don't have the computer power or memory to create the full size image, you can make it half size, then enlarge it 200% before printing.

    Next, I create the graphics for the vehicle on a separate layer, sometimes I use several different layers for the graphics and blend between the layers to achieve different effects. All text and any vector based graphics are created in Illy, and merged into Photoshop as "Smart Objects", on a separate layer labeled "text" or "logo", etc. Keeping all the vector parts as "Smart Objects" on separate layers allows them to keep their vector format and makes them 100% scalable up or down without loosing any quality, they are also transformable using any of the "transform tools" in the edit menu.

    Attached is a proof of a 44' trailer I designed for Midland college, the base layer was a full size photo of the trailer at 100dpi, this allowed me to create the full size image in Photoshop, and make sure no text or important graphics would be covered, blocked, or broken by the door frames, window frames, hinges, etc.

    It is also a useful tool for panel layout, most of the aluminum panels on the trailer are 48" wide, I developed a system, were we apply 48" wide graphic panels from seam to seam on the aluminum panels, then we print narrow graphic panels to match the narrow aluminum on the trailer sides. This way there are NO graphic seams in the middle of the aluminum panels, only the aluminum seams, our clients say, it looks like the aluminum panels have been screen printed with the graphics before being applied to the trailer.

    I have attached a photo showing the panel layout, and also a photo of the actual finished trailer, the flash bounced of the aluminum panel edges, so you can tell where the seams are. When the panels are printed, each has alignment targets printed in the margin abve and below, and also each panel is printed with a 1" bleed left and right. Also found it helpful to label each panel (STREET SIDE PANEL 1), before sending them to the printer, as there were 14 panels on the street side of the trailer.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. CheapVehicleWrap

    CheapVehicleWrap Very Active Member

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    "did take some pictures, but worried the scaling might be screwed up when i actually cut the vinyl."

    This is verifiable, and the BEST way.

    Good job all around Phototec!
     
  7. phototec

    phototec Very Active Member

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    Belton

    Yes, I think it is a good work flow, I had to do some trailer projects, and didn't have a template, so I made my own.

    It is very important to shoot as straight on as possible, so you don't get any distortion, many of today's digital cameras have zoom capability, however they start at a wide angle setting, which will cause distortion. So, set the zoom to a little more than then halfway towards telephoto, Ideally you want a lens setting equal to a 50mm to 80mm on a 35 SLR camera, this will give less distortion to the image.

    Always place a know sized object in the photo (on the vehicle) so you can later scale up the photo to actual full size or half size, etc. That way you will get a perfect sized image without distortion to use as a template. Remember the old saying, "Garbage in Garbage Out", the more time you take to make sure you take the image from centered left to right, centered top to bottom and as straight on as possible, will yield the best template without distortion.
     
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