Category Archives: Buisness

Rebranding 

new logo announced today for quack quack honk designs.

 I’ve been using a version of this for my signature for over a year now and it’s worked out well. So when I found my original logo on the back of some cards (okay, so not exactly the same thing. Mine is cartooned and theirs was a pic) I decided, instead of whining about a logo I wasn’t thrilled with any longer, I’d change it.

It currently black and white so when I scan it I can change it to whatever color I want. It’s simple so it can be read at a distance. And it’s not being used by someone else. I hope u enjoy.

Convention materials: Scanner

Now, I wont say this is an essential… obviously not since I don’t see most people carrying it. However, I really enjoy my portable scanner. It is somewhat like the model below (a slightly newer version of my VuPoint Magic Wand).

Now, for my scanning at home I would never pull this out. It is too low a resolution, doesn’t interface well with a computer, and has some issues recording all the way to the edge.

However, it does something my home scanner just can’t do… travel. I pop in two AA batteries, a microSD card, and I am ready to go. These models do 600dpi, and have reasonable image quality. It has wifi and an app to transfer the files, but skip it unless you absolutely have to. It is just too much of  pain. Instead just pop out the card and throw it in a phone or tablet with microSD support.

To top it off, it is $45-$100 (depending on accessories). If it gets dropped, stolen, or just dies on me, I can replace it.

Now, why would I want one? I like being able to provide a good digital copy to my customers. After all, badges get lost, or damaged. With luck the badge I made for them is special enough they would miss it in that case, and at least they would have the digital one. It also allows me to keep a copy of my work (so I can post for all of you regularly). And best of all I could actually reprint it. The techniques I use to make prints can turn out something really close, if someone actually needed it.

pds-st415-vps_0

Print Discussion Pt. 6 – Layout

Webmaster here. Last time we talked about the format of the file. Assuming you know that now. Lets move on to creating one.

**Note: The images below are not the actual templates used. They have been scaled way down for this post. I may post the actual templates at some point later, but for now these are just examples**

**Note again, I am not an expert. Do not take me as such. I know experts and they are probably cringing at me right now**

So anyway, if you are doing it yourself, or sending your print off somewhere  it is good to lay out the whole page. Here are the advantages of doing the layout yourself:

  • You know you are getting exactly what you want.
  • You can easily print more than one image on a page
    • This allows you to order more copies if someone else is printing them for you, reducing costs
    • It also allows you to quickly and easily work up sets for projects requiring multiple prints.
  • It also helps prevent wasting tons of paper by printing something tiny in the middle of a big, expensive, piece of paper. (and at $2/page, that adds up)

The project Laura has been working on is sizing out to a 5×7 print (8×10 matted) so the calculations have mostly been around that.

If you plan on matting an image, and you should if you want it hung on a wall, you need to allow for some additional space around your image so you can’t see the edges of the paper inside your mat. In theory your mat’s opening is slightly smaller than the selected size. In practice, if you don’t have enough material past the opening it becomes very hard to mount the image, and it does not stay flat.  So in my templates I am allowing at least a 1/4 inch of space on each side for things like mounting tape, and allowances for mediocre cutting on my part.

Starting with an standard sized letter paper (what I can most easily get my hand on for home printing) I figure I can get 2 images per sheet. I created a 5″x7″ 1200dpi image in photoshop and painted the whole thing white. Then I expanded the canvas to 8.25″x5.5″ to create an empty area for the non-printed area I selected this area, made a new layer, and painted it green. I then created a 8.5×11 document, and copied over these two layers twice, so I have two complete copies. I moved on to the left, and one to the right, and drew a line down the middle of the page in black for a cut line on it’s own layer. After all that work it gives me a template like this:

2 5x7 on 8.5x11  thumbnail

 

Now I can just paste in a 5×7 1200dpi image to it’s own layer, and position it as I please.  When I like where the images are placed, I hide the green layer, and it is ready to print.

Then looking at the site of the printer I was using, they had a very good price break at a 12″x16″ sheet of paper, so I did essentially the same thing and it gave me this:4 5x7 on 12x16 thumbnail

For my initial stock this will have four different images on one page. This means getting in my initial stock will be much cheaper since I can have them run off 4 copies of this sheet instead of 1 copy of 4 individual designs to get the same effect. In future orders it might get switched up if something becomes popular, but it is easy enough to do once you have a template.

Then when someone suggested they wanted bookmarks, I had to look up what size a bookmark was, settling on 2″x6″, I did the above tricks and ended up with this:2x6 on 8x10 thumbnailI have to do a bunch more playing with images to make them fit in the window properly, but when I am done, I know exactly what will be on the print. The lined to cut along are clearly marked, making final assembly a bit easier.

Now, I promised to talk about bleed. Depending on your final image’s destination, you want your image to print beyond the area where you are going to cut, so if there is a slight deviation in one direction or another in cutting, or printing, there is not some blank space at the edge of the image. Since the current project I have been doing does not have backgrounds, my templates don’t really have a bleed to them. If I needed a bleed, then I would need to modify the templates so every image had it’s own cut line (rather than sharing as seen above), and make my images go into the green whitespace area.

Well, that is how to make some basic templates. Hopefully it is enough to get you started printing your own work. It takes a bit of tinkering to get the templates the way you wan them, but once you have them it can save you hours getting future are ready to send off.

Print Discussion Pt. 5 – Files

The webmaster here again. Last time I talked about what to print. Now let’s talk about the basics of the files we need to make (sorry, next time we will get to laying them out).

Size:

First, we need to look at our original. If the medium is well saturated and not too textured, you can probably print equal sized, or larger. The project that Laura has been working on are done in marker, and have very little variation and texture to the lines and coloring. As such I plan on printing at the same size as the originals. If the medium does not have complete saturation, like colored pencils, you probably want to go equal or smaller than the original. In all honesty, shrinking things will usually give you a better results overall since it smooths out variations.

Having a general idea of how big you want to go, pick the closes standard size and start designing that way. If you don’t know what sizes are standard, go to your local store and find the picture frames. The sizes change from area to area… so make sure you are not making something that will be hard to frame for no real reason. Exceptions exist… but you will have to bridge the gap with custom matting or frames.

Also keep in mind that you will need to allow some space for bleeds and cutting in your final design. As such it is likely you may be trimming off a section of the original, or adding something…. and so far it has always been easier to trim than to add. I will talk about that more about that in the post about layouts.

Resolution:

Next we need to figure out what resolution to scan in. In my personal opinion, if you want to print it, then get as many pixels as you can. After all the hope is the original sells for lots of money and you never can scan it again. Storage is comparatively cheap in all honesty. Anyway we can always downsize it later. Keep in mind that adding pixels later almost always degrades quality.

Speaking of resizing…. When we send it off to be printed, it can be assumed they will be printing around 600 dpi. So I tend to look for finished products around 1200, just in case they can handle a bit extra resolution.

Format:

I scan to bitmap. Why such a space wasting format? It is a lossless format. Jpeg always has some compression, so there is some loss in fidelity. Gif has a limited color pallet. Other formats such as png can be lossless, but just don’t have the track record of compatibility. Mostly you can chalk this up to me being a geezer (with files he can still read from  16 year old scanning project) shaking his cane at new-fangled formats. Once I have a working copy, I zip up these bitmaps to get the compression (if not convenience) I would have had in another format. I highly suggest you make some thumbnails at a traditional screen resolution (72dpi) to leave outside the zip, so you don’t have to wonder what was in it… I have yet to find a naming scheme which lasts long enough in my memory.

My working format is Photoshop’s PSD files. It is standard enough that I can expect it to work for a few years, it is a bit smaller, and it works with the application I am using. Since other applications (like Gimp and Krita) can also read it, I don’t feel completely wedded to one application.  This format allows me layers, notes, and anything else I need to make corrections and changes down the line.

Once everything is arranged the way I want it, I export to jpg. This file is useless for making changes since it is flattened and compressed… but it is a compressed format everyone understands. It also allows me to double check the final print in other applications before sending it off to someone along with money.

Color depth:

Well, I ended up with 24-bit color depth. I could do 48, but I saw very poor adoption of that format. Since it doubled my file size (halving the resolutions I could use) 48 was just plain out. I imagine I could live with 16-bit for what I am doing, but I might regret it later.

 

Well, that is enough of that. Next time, actually laying out a file.