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Old 12-09-2005, 09:01 PM   #1
Lambo003
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Photo reduced gauges with out a camera!

Use to be that model guys had to set up and entire story board then measure off a predetermined distance to the board and take pics of whatever they were photo reducing.

I've been using this technique for quite sometime with pretty good results!

For this example, I'll use Revell's Diablo Roadster gauge cluster as the model came with no gauges at all! Not even a sticker!



First, I determined that I wanted to have white faces just because I like them and they show up better than the black faces. An image search on Google for "VDO WHITE" instantly brought up perfect pics with every gauge I needed to use so, I saved them all to my computer.



I then opened these pics individually in my Photo editing program. Once open I was able to mask off the surrounding area and erase it. I then slipped in a Lamborghini bull logo just as on the real gauges. Once I got them to where I thought they looked good, I saved them again to my computer and replaced the original file. One note, You need to save the images as GIF's to allow the transparency around the gauge.



I then went to MS Word and drew out a large rectangle keeping the approximate scale size I had from measuring the height and width of the gauge cluster of the model part. Once I had the box drawn, I then use the fill feature to add the "look" of carbon fiber. I chose to exaggerate the fiber weave by making it a little larger than usual. This was done because once you reduce the image, most likely your weave pattern would be lost.



I then was able to insert the individual gauges and place them over the carbon fiber filled box.



I also opened up a pic of a real Diablo gauge cluster to judge where to put the individual gauges. Some of you may have another program to do this in. I just find it easier working with Word since I've used it extensively in the past.



I then grouped all the images together and reduced them down to the approximate size I wanted the final product. I laid out several different sizes just to cover all the bases since going from screen to printing, sizes can vary.



I then copied and pasted the images repeatedly to cover the entire page. I did this because the final product will be copied on a laser copier and qualities of the copies from them are varied at times. Plus, you have all that space! Might as well fill it up as it betters your chances of having the perfect final image!



At the last minute, I decided to add a cluster of images with the FILL changed to a rosewood background. I then printed the entire sheet on out on my printer. When printing the final images out, I find it easier to print them in reverse now rather than do it on the laser copier. Just a step covered beforehand so you don't forget to do it when it's time to copy your images on the laser copier. Here are the final images printed out in reverse.



I then haul butt to the copy center and have my images printed on transparency film using a laser color copier. $1.99 it cost me per copy so you see why I filled the entire page with graphics. Better to have a bunch of them to choose from rather than just a few, only to have them come out crappy and pay again to have another sheet printed out.



Here's the final transparency copied onto the transparency film. As you can see, color copiers print out in red, blue, yellow and black. All colors except black are also transparent. Don't worry, we'll take care of that in the next step!



Now you will need to add the white background to complete the images. I use cheap Walmart brand FAST drying flat white paint.



You now want to MIST on a few coats of the flat white onto the side of the transparency which the images were copied! Make sure you are painting over the COPIED side as your images are reversed. Keep this in mind and remember to MIST on a few coats as the toner used in the copier WILL RUN if you flood it with paint. You could use a waterbased paint but, I find that when gluing the final gauges onto the model, these types of paint tend to peel or crack.



Once dried, flip the transparency over and here's what you have! Perfect tiny replica's in white of your gauges! Also, regardless of what color you want you gauges, white paint is always used to paint the back of the images. Even though you can't see it, the color of your original is there just waiting to be brought out by WHITE paint.



Now you want to take your model part and run down the copy sizes and pick out which one is the correct size and shape to fit your dash.



Once you have picked the image you want to use, go ahead and carefully cut it out of the sheet with a straight edge and razor. I knew where the gauges were to start from the bottom up on the dash so, I went ahead and trimmed the bottom edge where I wanted it now, as it's difficult to hold the smaller pieces once trimmed.



With the image trimmed, I then glued it to the dash section with super glue (This is another reason to use solvent-based paint as AC glue may attack waterbased paints).



Finally, I ran a razor around the leading edge of the model part, trimming any excess away. I followed up by coloring the edge with a permanent black marker to hide any white edges that may show.



There you have it! Photo reduced gauges complete with logo's and what not! You can add any details you wish just as long as you remember to set all your images with a transparent background in GIF
format!

Sorry for that last pic but, my camera's batteries were going dead and this affected the focus . . .

I forgot to add, before you cut your images out, clean the shiny side with an amonia based cleaner. Transparency film has a coating on it and it is a little dull. Once you clean and polish this coating from the SHINY side, it will appear as though your gauges are "Under Glass"

If you can find a copy center that will let you load and use decal paper, you can forego the reversing of the images and copy them right onto blank white decal sheets! I just prefer the transparency film as it leaves you with a very shiny "under glass" look.

Finally, use your imagination here! I left out small details such as warning lights from the gauge cluster but these can be added also. As mentioned above, this copy center lets me use decal stock in this copier. I've printed out details and pics on clear decal sheets and then applied the decals over Bare Metal foil which, in the end, gives you an awesome "Brushed" aluminum look. Great for emblems and such that need a chrome finished base.
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Last edited by Lambo003; 12-10-2005 at 06:23 AM.
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Old 12-09-2005, 09:18 PM   #2
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Re: Photo reduced gauges with out a camera!

Very nice write up.

Never heard of anyone ever going through the effort of setting up a camera and all that in an effort to reduce an image size. Why would anyone do that in this wonderful computer age?
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Old 12-09-2005, 09:28 PM   #3
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Re: Re: Photo reduced gauges with out a camera!

That was way back when before the internet took over . . .lol

I think the first I heard of it was when guys started sellin' photo reduced license plates and such. . .



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Originally Posted by freakray
Very nice write up.

Never heard of anyone ever going through the effort of setting up a camera and all that in an effort to reduce an image size. Why would anyone do that in this wonderful computer age?
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Old 12-09-2005, 10:32 PM   #4
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Re: Photo reduced gauges with out a camera!

awesome
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Old 12-10-2005, 12:54 AM   #5
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Re: Photo reduced gauges with out a camera!

This should be added to the How To. Great write up.
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Old 12-10-2005, 03:53 AM   #6
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Great How To. Added to the HT Section
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Old 12-10-2005, 11:08 AM   #7
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Re: Photo reduced gauges with out a camera!

Excellent write up! Thank you very much, it was very clear and I understood all of it. Now I just have to master my photo editing program (Adobe Photoshop 5.0 LE)...
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Old 12-10-2005, 12:13 PM   #8
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Superb how to, great for those missing decals in my Enthusiast 365 GTB/4 Daytona kit. Reading about and actually DOING are two completely different things though!!! One day........?
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Old 12-10-2005, 12:36 PM   #9
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Re: Re: Photo reduced gauges with out a camera!

Thanks for the comments guys!

Yeah, some of the photo stuff can be a little intimidating at times and takes a bit to get the hang of . . .

At least with the the Adobe stuff, if you keep in mind that your workin' in layers and each is manipulatable, you can usually do pretty well. . .

I didn't think to mention that if you have a nice straight on photo of all the gauges such as those in car brochures or magazines, you can usually skip any photo manip and go right to laying out the different sizes to print out.


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Excellent write up! Thank you very much, it was very clear and I understood all of it. Now I just have to master my photo editing program (Adobe Photoshop 5.0 LE)...
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