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Sizing Up Vehicle Graphics


The Creation of a Template


By Melissa Donovan


Part 2 of 2


Many print service providers (PSPs) may spend their own time creating vehicle templates. This could lead to costly errors that can have a trickle down effect all the way to the next customer. To eliminate this risk, turning to pre-made templates, created by vendors who spend their own time and money to create accurate measurements of current and past vehicle models, is an ideal option.


Creation of a Template

According to Art Station Vehicle Templates, it usually takes four to five hours to complete a full template. Larry Lopez, owner, Art Station, explains that he takes his own photos and measurements at a car dealership. He stands about 25 to 30 feet away from the vehicle to reduce lens distortion. After images are captured, measurements regarding key points of the vehicle are taken using tailor’s tape because according to Lopez, “it is soft and flexible and will not harm the vehicle’s surface.”


Once Lopez is at a computer, he uses Adobe Illustrator to trace the photos at tenth scale. For example, if a door is 41x32 inches, it becomes 4.1x3.2 inches. He then makes shapes out of the doors, hood, trunk, and gates—making it easier for designers to control color fills, as the templates are kept in B&W to only show design parameters. “I also provide an undistorted rear window shape because most vehicles may show an accurate rear drawing but the windows are foreshortened due to perspective issues,” adds Lopez.


Many of Art Stations’ customers find this in particular an attractive feature. Todd LaBrie, president/CEO, Carwraps, Inc., is one such client. “Lopez creates outlines that show every detail. It helps prevent the graphics professional from experiencing unexpected fit and finish issues, which are costly and time consuming,” he explains.


When Digital Designware creates a template it takes them approximately ten hours. They create them using manufacturer-supplied vehicle renderings, as well as physically viewing and measuring. Once all of the information is gathered, a vector line drawing is created and saved in Adobe Illustrator and then uploaded to the Pro Vehicle Outlines Web site.


Ranging from four to ten hours, these suppliers cut down on a considerable amount of time for the PSP. For a print shop who regularly produces vehicle wraps, creating a template for every job adds unnecessary pressure to the task at hand. Every car is different, and assuming the same template will be used for every project is unreasonable.


Why would a print provider choose to not use pre-made templates? One such reason may be to have a sense of control over the entire process or because they can make a template just as well as the vendor. Lopez shares some advice, however, “some people take it to the next level and produce their own vector templates from their photos. Just keep in mind that it takes time out of your schedule. One way to make more money is to save time. Pre-made vehicle templates do just that.”


Save Times Infinity

Recognizing the benefits of pre-made vehicle templates is essential to a well-run sign shop. PSPs who constantly create vehicle wraps or those just getting their feet wet, should consider the attractiveness of these tools, as is in the ability to save time and money.


Read more about vehicle templates in the May issue of Digital Output.


Click here to read Part 1 of this exclusive online series, Wrap Tools.

Click on the link above to get more information on the vendors mentioned in this article.

Apr2011, Digital Output

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