September '21

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9 4 G R A P H I C S P R O S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 1 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M to ensure your horizontal and vertical lines were straight, it changed the overall sizing of the image. To correct that in FlexiSign, turn off the Proportional setting when transform- ing the image so that you can adjust height and width separately until the measurements you took align. When you have the photo properly scaled to actual size, it's ready to go in FlexiSign Pro. If you are creating your wrap layout in Photoshop, write down the overall photo height and width at actual size after scal- ing in FlexiSign, and change the height and width of the image in Photoshop to match. Lower the resolution of the image until the overall MB is a manageable size. For most cars, trucks, box trucks, etc., an overall image size of 150-200 MB should be plenty big to maintain crisp images. LAYERS Once the photo has been sharpened, cropped, straightened, and scaled, you can start the de- sign process. The first step is creating layers that you'll design between. The top layer is the photo with any areas of the vehicle that will be wrapped cropped out. The bottom layer is the photo without any masked areas. In FlexiSign Pro, we crop out the wrapped areas using the masking tool. It's a relatively quick process of drawing boxes and circles around any areas of the vehicle that we won't wrap. Once all these areas have been drawn out, group the shapes, bring them to the front, and click on the top copy of the photo while holding the shift key to select the shapes and the photo together. Then click on the Mask tool under Effects>Mask. The top image will have blank spaces where the wrapped areas will show through. The bottom image is the original photo. I like to design in FlexiSign when working with vector-based artwork because the art- work maintains crisp lines and sharp details at any size since it's all lines, no pixels. You can still incorporate raster images in Flexi- Sign while keeping your text and other vec- tor objects as line art. Just import the raster files, with any modifications in Photoshop if needed, into FlexiSign and add the art be- tween the layers. In Photoshop, it's a similar process. The photos are scaled actual size, and the back- ground image of the vehicle is untouched, while any wrapped areas in the top image are deleted, so the wrap designing you do on the layers between are visible. There are masking and grouping tools in Photoshop that offer up different approaches to the same concept. Many of them are ways to organize your layers, and since Photoshop is a complex program with many features you may not use, I suggest doing whatever you're used to that gets the job done most efficiently. For me, it's a top layer, bottom layer, and design layers in between that I carefully la- bel to keep organized. The nice thing about working in Photoshop is the ease of blend- ing and fading images and objects, working with raster files, and adding drop shadows and effects. PROOFING Once you've designed the wrap to meet the customer's requests, you can create a proof to show the customer. By designing on the photo of the vehicle, the customer will have an excellent idea of what the final wrap will look like. Working on the vehicle photo means that any after-market parts, door handles, rubber seals, and other obstacles are accurately rep- resented, and you're able to move important design elements around them. This means that you've made necessary adjustments be- fore the customer sees the proof, and there will be no surprises on the final wrap. When you set up your print files, one final tip is to be sure that any tight text is printed and contour cut separately, or you've already planned them away from obstacles as much as possible. Keep these areas in mind throughout the process. GP CHARITY JACKSON is co-owner of Visual Horizons Custom Signs based in Modesto, California. She has been in business since 1995 and has worked in the sign industry for over 25 years. You can visit her website at why we launched the NNEP. Swauger rec- ommends that you find someone else that knows machine embroidery. "I have a friend who does embroidery. I can talk to her when I run into something new or have an issue. We can compare ideas sometimes. It is so nice to talk to somebody that knows what you're talking about. We speak the same language." Another piece of excellent advice Swauger shares is to just step away from the ma- chine when things are not going well. She has learned that when she gets in a hurry, things can become frustrating. "I want to get it done, and it's just not going right. That's when I have to stop, walk around a bit, and regroup. Sometimes I just turn everything off and go upstairs." She leaves it alone for the rest of the day. She swears by the ad- age, "Sleep on it," because it works. That's where she gets ideas about what happened and figures out what to try differently in the morning. When people do not seem to relate with what Swauger does or question her prices, she says, "Embroidery stays. That's my man- tra, just those two words. When they look at me questioningly, I'll say, 'Well, you have screen printing, which is very nice, but it doesn't always stay. Over time, it can peel or flake off. Embroidery stays. Then I share a story about a red T-shirt that I embroidered for myself using matching red thread. The T-shirt has been washed many, many times and has faded. But the embroidery has stayed red. It has not faded." I asked her what lights her up about her work doing custom embroidery. Swauger says, "It just makes me happy when people are satisfied. And if they come back and say, 'I really like this,' or 'Can you do some more?' that is just great!" GP JENNIFER COX is one of the founders and serves as president of the National Network of Embroidery Profes- sionals (NNEP), an organization that supports embroi- dery and apparel decoration professionals with programs and services designed to increase profitability and pro- duction. You can contact her at continued from page 84 STITCH SOLUTIONS WRAP DESIGN continued from page 19

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