Best decal programs

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19narvik40

Well-Known Member
Hello all,

I'm asking for recommendations for a straightforward program to make some decals for my 35th scale Tiger-34 from Kelly's Heroes. The turret numbers are probably based on Cyrillic number used for the Soviets and the LS key is oversized compared to ones I have seen online. I have made some paper markings from scrrenshots but my printer is only printing in 600 dpi and in greyscale. This is where I have got to so far. I still need to add the camouflage and netting with shrubbery.
kelly__s_heroes_view_2_by_pzkpfw_vi_tiger.jpgs-l500.jpg33era09.jpg
DSC06438Resize.jpgDSC06439resize.jpgDSC06440resize.jpgDSC06441resize.jpg
 

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jusdrewit

Active Member
I normally use Adobe Illustrator for my custom decals. Just depends on your level of comfort and familiarity with it
 

19narvik40

Well-Known Member
I normally use Adobe Illustrator for my custom decals. Just depends on your level of comfort and familiarity with it
Does Illustrator have the ability to use inches or millimeters? I tried using some pixel conversion programs and it never seemed to work out.
 

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jake88

Sr Member
I import my saved images into power point, then scale using the ruler and print. Ive had great results with waterslide paper on a standard HP printer. Just use some dullcoat on the sheet before you cut and dunk into water.
 
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thorst

Well-Known Member
Inkscape also does what you are asking for and is a vector editing program, so I would choose that. It's kind of a free substitute for Illustrator.
 

DonS

Active Member
Best to use a vector drawing program like CorelDaw, Inkscape or Illustrator as vector drawings will give you a great leap in crispness of printing versus bitmap graphics. Remember old arcade games like Battlezone and Red Baron where the drawn curve outlines of the objects stayed the same thickness even as those objects grew larger or smaller on the screen? That's vector graphics where the screen drawing is a result of mathematically-derived paths versus the grids of pixels that produce bitmap drawings. When you resize or zoom in to a bitmap object, the edges break down and become pixellated.
 

ed-209

Sr Member
When I first saw the film, I noticed the Tiger had a painted KEY on it. I thought that was cool as it was the "Key" that opened the bank to the gold.
 

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19narvik40

Well-Known Member
When I first saw the film, I noticed the Tiger had a painted KEY on it. I thought that was cool as it was the "Key" that opened the bank to the gold.
ed-209,

I love your idea, it hadn't occured to me before. Well done Sir !!!
 

19narvik40

Well-Known Member
I want to thank everyone so far for your help and suggestions, it is really appreciated !!

What I have so far are image captures from the movie that I sized out and cropped in Paint. I am including them in this post in what I hope is 1:1 scale for the decals I want. I did get Inkscape but must admit to being a bit overwhelmed on how to procede. No doubt I'm going about it the wrong way but it won't be the first time, LOL.
Tiger markings3a.jpg
Can I convert these images into vector images or do I need to draw them separately? I was thinking of trying to make a sheet with the marking for all three Tiger-34s, 112,113 and 115.
 

jusdrewit

Active Member
I want to thank everyone so far for your help and suggestions, it is really appreciated !!

What I have so far are image captures from the movie that I sized out and cropped in Paint. I am including them in this post in what I hope is 1:1 scale for the decals I want. I did get Inkscape but must admit to being a bit overwhelmed on how to procede. No doubt I'm going about it the wrong way but it won't be the first time, LOL.
View attachment 842326
Can I convert these images into vector images or do I need to draw them separately? I was thinking of trying to make a sheet with the marking for all three Tiger-34s, 112,113 and 115.
I know Illustrator has the capability to convert those to vector (can't speak about the others), but it wont be perfect as it's an image currently. The higher resolution a photo the better the conversion will be though. That said, given how small the decals might be, it might not matter if they aren't that crisp. However, if you want crisp really sharp looking decals, your best bet is to probably recreate them which unfortunately takes a lil work. When I created decals for some custom McFarlane statues, I gathered a ton of reference and then created the logos, fonts, then printed them on regular paper in a various sizes to determine the correct size I needed until i perfected the right size that I wanted. When it was ready, I printed them on decal waterslide paper. The hardest part is recreating them, in your case you would need to type out "115" in whatever vector program you have, and try various fonts to match the one above, then make the fill red, then add an outline behind them etc, and then do the same for the key logo. Once you create one though, you'll just copy/paste them so you can print out tons on your sheet. Here's an example of some of the ones i made, which were vector (I had to convert them to .jpg to show you here though)

E Elliott.jpg
 

DonS

Active Member
With all the editing that would be needed if those numbers were converted to vectors in Illustrator, it would likely be easier to find the correct font and redraw them.
 

19narvik40

Well-Known Member
With all the editing that would be needed if those numbers were converted to vectors in Illustrator, it would likely be easier to find the correct font and redraw them.
Seeing as the movie was shot in the former Yugoslavia, the turret markings are not a standard German pattern. The closest thing I could find as a sheet from Verlinden (which is pictured in the inital post). Two things though, one is that the markings are in white which would be great if they were wider and second, they are rather difficult to find. Besides, I have to learn how to draw these things out on Inkscape and my digital editing skills are somewhere around kindergarten level, LOL.

- - - Updated - - -

I know Illustrator has the capability to convert those to vector (can't speak about the others), but it wont be perfect as it's an image currently. The higher resolution a photo the better the conversion will be though. That said, given how small the decals might be, it might not matter if they aren't that crisp. However, if you want crisp really sharp looking decals, your best bet is to probably recreate them which unfortunately takes a lil work. When I created decals for some custom McFarlane statues, I gathered a ton of reference and then created the logos, fonts, then printed them on regular paper in a various sizes to determine the correct size I needed until i perfected the right size that I wanted. When it was ready, I printed them on decal waterslide paper. The hardest part is recreating them, in your case you would need to type out "115" in whatever vector program you have, and try various fonts to match the one above, then make the fill red, then add an outline behind them etc, and then do the same for the key logo. Once you create one though, you'll just copy/paste them so you can print out tons on your sheet. Here's an example of some of the ones i made, which were vector (I had to convert them to .jpg to show you here though)

View attachment 842341
If it weren't for the zimmerit, I'd just say screw it and make some tape masks and paint them on. The rather uneven surface of the zimmerit precludes doing anything like that.
 

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DonS

Active Member
Don't let current lack of knowledge stop you....when I had to do it, I went from never having used illustrator before to a full sheet of decals over the course of a weekend. Online tutorials and Google are a huge help.
 

Daeothar

New Member
For what it's worth, I've used Photoshop for decals many, many times, and Illustrator not as much (but it has many other uses, of course).

It too has a rather steep learning curve, but once comfortable with the program, the results can and will be great. Especially for custom decals on miniatures and models, the only limiting factor will be the resolution your printer can put out.

The best part is that you can use the larger amount of selection options in Photoshop (vs those in Illustrator) to good use to 'copy' artwork in new layers, to clean it up and make suitable for printing.

However; for variable sizing of graphics, Illustrator can't be beat.

To get the absolute best results, you should really use them both, although I figure that, as I stated, for model work, you really shouldn't be needing it... ;)
 

sbaxter

Active Member
To get the absolute best results, you should really use them both
That's what I do. I haven't done a whole lot in terms of making actual decals -- though I have done a few -- but I create drawings in Illustrator and then export them as a TIFF or as a Photoshop document (the latter if I want to retain layers so as to manipulate some items independently of others) almost daily. I do this mainly because a lot of my printing goes to a large Epson inkjet, and I like the control, previews and reliable results Photoshop gives me. I can rasterize the Illustrator artwork (at the exporting stage) to a resolution appropriate for the printer and the images come out with ever-so-slightly smoother (as opposed to sharper) edges than if I printed directly from Illustrator.

SSB
 

Watto

New Member
When I first saw the film, I noticed the Tiger had a painted KEY on it. I thought that was cool as it was the "Key" that opened the bank to the gold.
That key (actually a lockpick) is the symbol of the "Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler" division, Hitler's elite troops, his personal body guards, as the name implies.
Their commanding officer was Sepp Dietrich. "Dietrich" is the German word for "lockpick", that's why they chose this symbol.
 

Jaitea

Master Member
I made my own decals for a Studio Scale Star Wars B-Wing.,,,(worked out about 1/35),...& to tell you the truth,..all this advice about trying to go down the route of vector graphics doesn’t make sense to me,...vector allows you to make crystal sharp graphics if you are going big...like logos etc on livery for vans or lorries etc....when you are going smaller for scale models, a good jpeg should be fine...still needs to be sharp & detailed.....& a good quality printer

John
 

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