Sunday, November 12, 2006

It's getting cold, and that means only one thing...

... it's time to get back to working on nose art. Very few of you were reading this blog around this time last year, so here's a quick refresher. I commissioned an artist that I knew would work for free to draw me a nice picture to put on the nose of the plane, more or less to play along with the military fighter motif. The resulting picture was delivered as a colored pencil drawing on coarse paper:

The first step was to get it digitized using the digital camera. That's what you see above. That was the easy step. The next step was to spend many, many hours making the colors crisp and solid. This necessitated a foray into the exotic and esoteric skills needed to work in a complex digital editing program named GIMP, which is a fantastically powerful tool in addition to its
best feature: it's free. Working at the molecular level (eg. pixels) was the only way to get the clean, crisp digital image that it would take to get a high quality image transferred onto a vinyl decal:

I didn't track the hours that it took, but it was a lot. Here's the latest cleaned up image:

The next problem was to find a way to get the image transferred to a decal. I didn't exactly hunt for a service provider in the way a wolf hunts for comestibles, rather I used the watering-hole ambush method: when I saw an ad for an outfit that looked like it had this capability, I'd fire off an email asking if they could create a decal based on the image. This turned out to actually be theblackhole approach: questions went in, but nothing came out. Recently, however, I came across a referral on the Vans RV Forum and fired off yet another email. This one struck gold, and it now appears that the project is back on track. This prompted me to put a few more hours into cleaning up the image, and now that I have a nice color photo printer, I was able to print the results and see how they would look on the airplane:

The actual decal would be trimmed a lot tighter to remove the white background (and of course the bottom wouldn't be chopped off like that), and there would be two more gun ports on each side, for a total of six. The builder of the plane was more or less trying to create an F-86 look (albeit a taildragger F-86 (which doesn't actually exist) so I'm going to use three ports per side, just like the F-86 has:

I won't go to the bother of having two different sizes, though, and the grey background around the ellipse of the gun port would be trimmed off.

So, there's your update to the nose art saga.

1 comment:

  1. Very Cool ! I like the characters - particularly the rather pensive looking parrot worth the time GIMPING .. congrats