By Courtney Saba
Vehicle wraps aren’t easy. Designing to a car’s exact measurements, taking into consideration curve, and overlapping panels so text lines up properly are just some of the challenges.
Software solutions including templates, design programs, and clip art minimize error and costly rework. Even the most experienced vehicle wrapper relies on these tools.
Templates are mostly utilized for achieving accurate measurements. A print service provider (PSP) has the ability to build its own template; however, this option risks more user errors throughout the design process. Templates are readily available in an abundance of vehicle models and years.
Design programs allow PSPs to create high-quality output with a variety of tools—all in one graphic solution. Features like mirroring graphics or slicing an image down the middle are helpful. These solutions make it easy for less experienced designers to pick up the trade.
Clip art collections are created with a vehicle wrap in mind, so scale and size are predetermined in many cases. This solution leaves little room for error and allows the customer to have a better idea of the final product beforehand.
Wrap software benefits print providers by saving time and money, but also by enhancing the creative and design process.
For example, drawing your own template takes up valuable time that can be used on the design portion of the job. In some cases, it can take an experienced artist two to four hours to create a vector template.
Larry Lopez, owner, Art Station Vehicle Templates, says he has had customers who would spend time drawing their template only to order another from him because their customer brought in a completely different vehicle. “Having the vehicle templates available at your fingertips is half of the battle,” he says. “Another thing that can keep you awake at night is did you take the correct measurements? Do you have the drawing at the right scale?”
Design programs adapt seamlessly to a provider’s workflow, design space, and productivity. PSPs benefit from the high quality and versatility within a design program.
“Any print shop producing wraps should be using an application specifically optimized for the kind of work they do. If you look at the series of steps and tasks that need to be completed for just a single car wrap job, you’ll quickly see that getting the job done right by hand will cost print shops three very important things—time, money, and patience,” notes Gérard Métrailler, VP of products, graphics and productivity, Corel Corporation.
Another form of wrap software is clip art. According to Dave Dorsey, owner, Aurora Graphics, no print shop can produce its own wide format digital art for vehicle wraps for the price it can be purchased.
“In other words it might take two and a half weeks to produce a killer looking, seamless camo with no repeats. Two and a half weeks equals 12 days at eight hours a day. That is a total of 96 hours. If that same artwork can be purchased for $95 and downloaded for immediate output, you can see how purchasing artwork is a much smarter choice,” explains Dorsey.
He adds that artwork can be shown and approved by the client prior to creating anything or spending any money, so there is no wasted effort or profit that could be rejected by the client. The artwork can even be sold to the customer prior to purchasing it.
Templates, Design Programs, and Clip Art
Here, companies provide a look at their vehicle wrap software.
Action Illustrated offers a number of volumes of vector artwork that can be used for vehicle wraps. For example, its Action Graphics vector artwork collection contains over 1,200 vectored EPS images for $399. It includes flame, tribal, and other accent art.
Art Station Vehicle Templates
According to Art Station Vehicle Templates, all vehicle wrap designers need some form of a vehicle template. A business can create its own or buy a template ready to use. There are two different formats—raster and vector. Art Station Vehicle Templates specializes in vector format templates.
“Our vector templates are easy to use in both a drawing and raster program. They are completely editable and don’t take up too much hard disk space. The entire collection—which goes back 12 years and contains 7,000 templates—is small enough to download straight to your computer. We have all the popular vehicles that are most often wrapped. No one has every vehicle, but more than likely the one you will need is in our collection,” suggests Lopez.
Each template includes all five sides of a vehicle and as much detail as possible. Art Station Vehicle Templates constantly adds to its collection and sends quarterly updates to its customers.
On the other end of the spectrum, Aurora Graphics specializes in clip or digital art. Many vinyl shops simply don’t have the time or talent necessary for the high-quality artwork that is demanded in today’s competitive market, explains Dorsey. Digital art is an entirely digital design of a completed object, background, or design element. “It’s not something you would add to a layout, it is the layout,” he says.
At Aurora Graphics, backgrounds and partials are available in large scales so there are no challenges printing them at full-life scale while keeping the resolution and integrity of the artwork intact.
CADlink Technology Corp.
The company offers two versions of its vehicle template library, Pro Vehicle Outlines (PVO) 2016 Pro Version and PVO 2016 Online Version. The PVO 2016 Online Version includes over 9,860 vehicle and specialty templates including model years from 1994 to 2016. New vehicles are added on a regular basis and online access is 24/7.
The PVO 2016 Pro Version contains the same amount of templates and model years, but is shipped as a complete DVD library that includes a 160-page template reference book, special yearly upgrade pricing, and a 12 month online subscription.
Corel offers CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X8 as a complete graphics design solution with vector illustration and layout, photo editing, tracing, and font management. The product also allows for an extensive collection of fonts, clip art, and vehicle templates.
Several features make CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X8 stand out. For example, it supports huge page sizes, which allows users to work at a 1:1 ratio even on enormous projects—ideal for large format jobs like vehicle wraps. The company also offers special tools for node editing, font management and selection, and a redesigned knife tool that can quickly create overlaps and gaps for applying physical media. CorelDRAW integrates with color palettes from select hardware vendors to offer superior color accuracy across all jobs.
Print providers look to wrap software to save time and money. Building one’s own measurements risks user error. Some choose to utilize templates, design programs, or clip art—all of which are useful tools for the design process. Each company works with a different solution to match its workflow and specific operation methods.
May2016, Digital Output