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Great Software Tool for Signs for Cities and Buildings--And It's Free! (Though they accept donations.)

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Great Software Tool for Signs for Cities and Buildings--And It's Free! (Though they accept donations.)
Posted by markalan on Sunday, November 2, 2008 5:27 PM

 I came across this program two weeks ago while reading PC World.  It said paint.net (that's the name of the program) is just about as good, or as good as, Photoshop Essentials.  I thought it was worth a look.

So far, I've figured out how to resize a sign:

change colors:


and how to adjust perspective:

and I'm working on how to make a two sided sign.  But, I have to figure out how to flip the letters inside the sign still.

It took a while to learn this and, if anyone needs some coaching on basics, I can provide what I've learned.  It's not an intuitive program so the learning curve is slightly steep.  But using Google images and this program opens greats potential, I think.  

I'm next going to experiment with creating interiors using images like this one.  I don't know if I'll like the results but it's worth a try.

That's as much as I've figured out so far,

Mark
markalan

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Posted by mecovey on Sunday, November 2, 2008 7:05 PM

Good job! The last time I tried flipping an image I was using MacDraw but I went over to the dark side years ago. I have photoshop but haven't learned to run it yet. Keep posting your progress

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Posted by loathar on Monday, November 3, 2008 11:44 AM

Pretty good software. Thanks! I really like that being able adjust perspective. I've seen a lot of pics I'd like to use, but they were photographed at odd angles.

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Posted by tomkat-13 on Monday, November 3, 2008 4:53 PM

I use MS Publisher to do my signs. I find signs on ebay under collectables/signs, then I copy & paste to MS Publisher, crop & resize to my scale (HO). Real eazy! Just print on card stock or photo paper for glossy metal signs. You also can copy & paste photos or postcards for background buildings. Also copy & paste old ink blotters off ebay for good billboards.

Feel free to copy these signs I found for your own use!

 

 

I model MKT & CB&Q in Missouri. A MUST SEE LINK: Great photographs from glassplate negatives of St Louis 1914-1917!!!! http://www.usgennet.org/usa/mo/county/stlouis/kempland/glassplate.htm Boeing Employee RR Club-St Louis http://www.berrc-stl.com/
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Posted by CSXDixieLine on Monday, November 3, 2008 7:20 PM

Mark, That looks really good and I am going to have to check out this application. By the way, another good resource for prototypical signs, billboards, etc. are the websites of the marketing companies that do the actual sign & billboard designs. These designers usually have quality samples of their work in the portfolio sections of their websites. For example, I am an absolute freak when it comes to Jersey Mikes sub sandwiches. While railfanning my prototype railroad a while back, I saw a billboard for them but did not stop to take a photo (what was I thinking!). However, I did a Google search on "jersey mikes billboard" and found this:

My goal is to take that image and this new billboard kit from BLMA:

...and turn it into this:

Of course, I'll have to do a bit of work to get it to scale out correctly. I am a website developer and have worked with marketing companies quite a bit. You can find lots of modern ad campaign graphics on the web with a simple search. Jamie

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Posted by markalan on Monday, November 3, 2008 9:28 PM

Thanks all,  I think for photos this program offers a lot.  I'm working on this some more and learning more.  I was aware MS Publisher did some of these things.  I wasn't sure about correcting perspective like with the Rexall sign.  And, this is what I'm working on now.  This is a link to the paintdotnet forum.

http://paintdotnet.forumer.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=27440&p=226807#p226807

Thanks,
Mark
markalan

 

 

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Posted by loathar on Tuesday, November 4, 2008 10:56 AM

There's also Inkscape if you haven't tried it.

http://www.inkscape.org/

It's free too.

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Posted by topcopdoc on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 7:10 AM

I downloaded the program it looks a lot like Adobe.

I did not see a perspective command where is that located?

Doc

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Posted by markalan on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 11:57 AM

topcopdoc

I downloaded the program it looks a lot like Adobe.

I did not see a perspective command where is that located?

Doc

 

Doc,

It does look a lot like Adobe.  I was going to use Adobe but the cost of paintdotnet was too good!  But, I'm going to send a donation to them.

Perspective adjustment is found under Layers then Rotate / Zoom.  Open your image, Click on Layers etc., and have at it.  Under View you can turn on Grid to help.  As you rotate on any of the three axes, you will see a gray and white checkerboard.  In paintdotnet the checkerboard represents transparency, nothing will be printed where it shows.

 

Lothar,

I've checked out inkscape.  I'm going to look at it more after I learn more about paintdotnet.

 

Pasadena Sub,

Good info.  I think your billboard will be great!

 

I've finally figured out the two sided sign technique.  It took about an hour of reading and messing around and, as is often the case, it does not seem hard now.

Original:

Flip the whole image:

Finally, flip the letters inside the sign:

Print, glue, mount on your building.

Mark
markalan

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Posted by loathar on Friday, November 21, 2008 11:25 AM

The more I use it, the more I like it! Have you tried their Magic Wand tool yet?? I downloaded some graffiti decal pics and was able to remove all the back ground crap and water mark logos with one mouse click!
You can use it for doing color separations on multi color logos for printing artwork.

I'll have to try that sign flipping. I've got a couple of those pics I'd like to use.

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Posted by markalan on Friday, November 21, 2008 7:34 PM
loathar, I've been using the magic wand to add color to a black and white sign I've created from two separate b/w images. It's pretty cool the way it is adjustable. I'm going to stick with this and not bother learning adobe, at least not until I find I have to. Mark
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Posted by SuperChip64 on Friday, November 21, 2008 11:12 PM

 Adobe Photoshop is a real beast to learn, if you NEED to learn it.

 

I use Gimp in Linux.

Overclocking my SD70ACe with Intel Quad-Core Processors
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Posted by tsasala on Sunday, November 23, 2008 8:38 AM

I agree - GIMP is easy to learn and has most of the features of Photoshop.  I've been using for years.  There is a Windows port for all of you main streamers out there, and it even has a Mac OS version too ;)

http://www.gimp.org/

-Tom

 

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