(Topic ID: 71059)

How I recreate plastics


By JeffHecht

5 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 84 posts
  • 45 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by rygar
  • Topic is favorited by 138 Pinsiders

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There are 84 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
27
#1 5 years ago

I recently was asked how I recreate broken, faded, or otherwise less than desirable plastics. I should state that I only reproduce plastics for myself and don't sell or redistribute them.

I start out with good quality scans of the original plastics at 300 dpi.

Scan1.jpg

I then bring the scanned image into Photoshop and clean the image a bit. From this point forward I spend most of my time using the Pen tool to create the vector artwork. Learn how to use it. The Pen tool is your friend. There are many good tutorial videos and articles on the internet that show how to use it. Of course familiarity with Photoshop is a plus.

Using the Pen tool, I start out by creating outlines of the plastics and removing anything from the image outside of the plastics themselves. This includes removing anything between the printed artwork and the edges of the plastic.

Outlines.jpg

I then select all of the black areas in the plastics using Select->Color Range, and convert that to a working path and then rename and save that path as "black". Then, using the Pen tool, I fix all of the areas that need adjustment (this can be time consuming) and finally create a new layer and fill the path with black. Here you can see the black shown with the plastic outlines.

black.jpg

Following this, I use (you guessed it) the Pen tool to create a path for the different colors. In areas where the color meets a black edge, you can be sloppy and let the red edges bleed into the black areas since the black layer will always be on top of any color layers. It's a simple matter of selecting the path in the dialog and filling that path with the correct color.

red.jpg

I continue this process for each of the colors, creating new layers as i go for each color.

green.jpg
yellow.jpg

After getting all of the color layers completed, using the Pen tool, I create paths for where the holes will be drilled.

colors.jpg

This file could then be used to create silk screens, or with a vinyl printer (my method... it's way cheaper and looks quite nice). When the vinyl image has been applied to PETG, I use a scroll saw with a very fine blade to cut out the plastics and a drill press to drill the holes.

In the end, I have a very new set of looking plastics that look much better than the old originals. This is especially handy where reproductions are not available

Jeff

#2 5 years ago

So are you printing onto white vinyl and trimming to the right size?

#3 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing this information

I know I will be using it...

#4 5 years ago
Quoted from Aurich:

So are you printing onto white vinyl and trimming to the right size?

Yes. The printing company I use uses the paths I create for the edges of the white color for where the plotter cuts the vinyl. They look really nice... I'll be posting a picture of finished product in the High Hand machine soon.

Jeff

#5 5 years ago

Great post! I'm having trouble locating plastics for my pinbot. Maybe this could be an alternative if I can figure it out

#6 5 years ago

Edit: Where do you find the scans?

#7 5 years ago

Here is a shot of the plastics installed in the High Hand machine.

HighHand.jpg

Jeff

#8 5 years ago
Quoted from LynxOne:

Edit: Where do you find the scans?

I scan them myself using the original plastics. If you don't have the originals, you would have to have someone scan them for you (300 dpi), or see if you could borrow a set to scan.

Jeff

#9 5 years ago
Quoted from JeffHecht:

Here is a shot of the plastics installed in the High Hand machine.

Nice, bet that felt good.

Is the vinyl self adhesive or are you using some kind of glue?

#10 5 years ago

Nice write up! I was just wondering if there was an easy way to do this. Thanks a ton!

#11 5 years ago
Quoted from Aurich:

Nice, bet that felt good.
Is the vinyl self adhesive or are you using some kind of glue?

The print shop I use does it for me, so I really don't know. I think they really enjoy it when I walk into their shop. They have done many prints for me for various restorations, including an entire playfield (look for my Strikes and Spares restoration thread). The graphic designer that I typically work with to do the prints thinks it's cool to be working on something other than making signs.

Jeff

#12 5 years ago

another topic to add to my favorites!

thanks for sharing and the nice write up!

This is what pinside is all about!

#14 5 years ago

Nice work, Jeff. You should let people know how long it takes just to redraw the artwork. It might surprise some folks.

I'm curious as to why you use Photoshop for all the redrawing, though. I do all my redrawing in Illustrator. Sure, I scan the image then drop it into PS to clean it up, but then I drop it into Illustrator to do all the vector work. Same pen tool, I guess, I just feel like there are more options in Illustrator. I could be wrong, though.

#15 5 years ago

This is fantastic, thank you for sharing.

So the print shop can print directly on the sheet of plastic?

#16 5 years ago
Quoted from Miguel351:

Nice work, Jeff. You should let people know how long it takes just to redraw the artwork. It might surprise some folks.
I'm curious as to why you use Photoshop for all the redrawing, though. I do all my redrawing in Illustrator. Sure, I scan the image then drop it into PS to clean it up, but then I drop it into Illustrator to do all the vector work. Same pen tool, I guess, I just feel like there are more options in Illustrator. I could be wrong, though.

I had the same question and thoughts on the PS vs. AI matter. What say you?

How did you get the whites done? Is it just part of the print? This takes a special printer to be able to print white on clear vinyl.

#17 5 years ago
Quoted from Miguel351:

Nice work, Jeff. You should let people know how long it takes just to redraw the artwork. It might surprise some folks.
I'm curious as to why you use Photoshop for all the redrawing, though. I do all my redrawing in Illustrator. Sure, I scan the image then drop it into PS to clean it up, but then I drop it into Illustrator to do all the vector work. Same pen tool, I guess, I just feel like there are more options in Illustrator. I could be wrong, though.

Illustrator would be my choice too

#18 5 years ago

You did a wonderful job. would you consider doing this for other pinsiders if you were provided with a good scan?

#19 5 years ago
Quoted from Miguel351:

Nice work, Jeff. You should let people know how long it takes just to redraw the artwork. It might surprise some folks.
I'm curious as to why you use Photoshop for all the redrawing, though. I do all my redrawing in Illustrator. Sure, I scan the image then drop it into PS to clean it up, but then I drop it into Illustrator to do all the vector work. Same pen tool, I guess, I just feel like there are more options in Illustrator. I could be wrong, though.

I use Photoshop because that's what I have. When it comes down to opening up my wallet for more software or more pinball stuff, I usually opt for the pinball stuff. I have no doubt that Illustrator would be the tool of choice. Perhaps someday when I get tired of working around things in Photoshop, I'll spring for it.

Quoted from Pafasa:

You did a wonderful job. would you consider doing this for other pinsiders if you were provided with a good scan?

Thanks for the kudos. It's quite rewarding. I haven't really considered doing work outside of things for myself, but I might consider it depending upon how busy I am.

Jeff

#20 5 years ago
Quoted from Pafasa:

How did you get the whites done? Is it just part of the print? This takes a special printer to be able to print white on clear vinyl.

The printing company I use has the capability to print exactly what I want (white, clear, colors, etc.) based on the artwork I provide them. I don't know the exact answer to your question, other than to say I get what I want from them

Jeff

#21 5 years ago
Quoted from JeffHecht:

The printing company I use has the capability to print exactly what I want (white, clear, colors, etc.) based on the artwork I provide them. I don't know the exact answer to your question, other than to say I get what I want from them
Jeff

Are you just using a local shop? What kind of work do they advertise themselves as doing? I think finding the printer is probably going to be the trickiest part for people who are already comfortable doing the graphics.

BTW - I'd use Illustrator too, just because I'm more comfortable with the vector tools in it vs Photoshop's, but nothing wrong with your method if that's what you have.

#22 5 years ago
Quoted from Aurich:

Are you just using a local shop? What kind of work do they advertise themselves as doing? I think finding the printer is probably going to be the trickiest part for people who are already comfortable doing the graphics.
BTW - I'd use Illustrator too, just because I'm more comfortable with the vector tools in it vs Photoshop's, but nothing wrong with your method if that's what you have.

Yep... local shop that I have established a good reputation with. They advertise themselves as a full service sign shop (from small stuff to big bucket truck things). If you are interested in having them do work for you, PM me and I'll get you their contact information.

Jeff

#23 5 years ago

Here are a few up close images of the slingshot plastics for a better look at the quality.

IMG_0412.JPG
IMG_0413.JPG
IMG_0414.JPG
IMG_0415.JPG

Jeff

#24 5 years ago

These look fantastic for one off replacements. Really nice work.

#25 5 years ago

So if I understand this correctly, you bring the printing shop a sheet of PETG plastic and have them apply their own vinyl sticker print of your artwork to the plastic, and then you take the sheet home and cut out the pieces yourself, right?

#26 5 years ago
Quoted from FirebrandX:

So if I understand this correctly, you bring the printing shop a sheet of PETG plastic and have them apply their own vinyl sticker print of your artwork to the plastic, and then you take the sheet home and cut out the pieces yourself, right?

Yep... that's pretty much it. They have been kind enough to source the PETG for me, but other than that, you are correct.

Jeff

#27 5 years ago

Those photoshop files are of incredible value. It would be nice to build a database of artwork files (cabinet stencils, playfields, plastics) and host it somewhere on the internet so people could get them printed themselves. I think you'd be ok as long as you gave the files away. Not sure though.

#28 5 years ago
Quoted from JeffHecht:

Yep... that's pretty much it. They have been kind enough to source the PETG for me, but other than that, you are correct.
Jeff

Wow so it gets even easier! That means you bring them the artwork files, and they give you the PETG sheets with the vinyl already applied! All you have to do is take the sheets home and cut-to-fit, correct?

I gotta know this place so I can find out if there's one in my area, or if I need to do long-distance business with them directly. Can you PM me their info? Thanks a bunch!

#29 5 years ago

This is awesome, nice work!

#30 5 years ago
Quoted from Richthofen:

Those photoshop files are of incredible value. It would be nice to build a database of artwork files (cabinet stencils, playfields, plastics) and host it somewhere on the internet so people could get them printed themselves. I think you'd be ok as long as you gave the files away. Not sure though.

I'm sure you would get "the letter" from Gottlieb or someone about copyrighted material.

There has been talk lately of anonymously uploading manuals, schematics and artwork to the technical e-book newsgroup:

alt.binaries.e-book.technical

#31 5 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

I'm sure you would get "the letter" from Gottlieb or someone about copyrighted material.

I'm not so sure about that. You can get crappy silk-screen reproductions of many plastic sets, and I doubt any one of them actually got official permission, yet they are even going so far as to make money off them. Reproduction artwork files that are free of charge should be perfectly okay.

#32 5 years ago
Quoted from FirebrandX:

Reproduction artwork files that are free of charge should be perfectly okay.

If you say so.

I've always hear about people getting "the letter":

==========================================================

"

My name is Bob Fesjian. I am the Manager of Gottlieb Development LLC

(http://www.mondialgroup.com), the owner of the valuable Gottlieb® and

D. Gottlieb & Co.® trademarks, related copyrights, and other

associated intellectual property, including, but not limited to,

artwork, trade dress and designs (collectively referred to as the

'Gottlieb Marks').

It has been brought to our attention that you may be infringing the

Gottlieb Marks. Specifically, we have information that, without our

permission or authorization, you have been reproducing and making

available on your Website game manuals, ROM downloads, and other

documentation bearing the Gottlieb Marks.

"

#33 5 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

If you say so.
I've always hear about people getting "the letter":
==========================================================
"
My name is Bob Fesjian. I am the Manager of Gottlieb Development LLC
(http://www.mondialgroup.com), the owner of the valuable Gottlieb® and
D. Gottlieb & Co.® trademarks, related copyrights, and other
associated intellectual property, including, but not limited to,
artwork, trade dress and designs (collectively referred to as the
'Gottlieb Marks').
It has been brought to our attention that you may be infringing the
Gottlieb Marks. Specifically, we have information that, without our
permission or authorization, you have been reproducing and making
available on your Website game manuals, ROM downloads, and other
documentation bearing the Gottlieb Marks.
"

That's when you offload the files to a Russian host and tell "Bob" to have fun with that. Because until they manufacture old pinball plastics instead of bitching about those that do, they can shove it up their ass.

#34 5 years ago
Quoted from FirebrandX:

That's when you offload the files to a Russian host and tell "Bob" to have fun with that. Because until they manufacture old pinball plastics instead of bitching about those that do, they can shove it up their ass.

So........what are you trying to say???

#35 5 years ago

I agree with FireBrandX.
If they don't like us making up reproductions of their products and we are trying to restore/preserve them. Well, we should shove the whole pin up their asses with the legs on!

#36 5 years ago

Less is more here. Great post! Thanks for the tips and info.

#37 5 years ago

Great work mate !!

#38 5 years ago

Other software available so you can spend more on your pinball hobby...

GIMP is a free image manipulation program (for those who cant afford the "professional" software).
GIMPSHOP is a free image manipulation program with Photshop controls. So if your Photoshop trained you can use GIMPSHOP.

Good info. Thanks for posting, I have to few broken plastics I want to "recreate" and this is great information.

Thanks again.

1 week later
#39 5 years ago
Quoted from JeffHecht:

I recently was asked how I recreate broken, faded, or otherwise less than desirable plastics. I should state that I only reproduce plastics for myself and don't sell or redistribute them.
I start out with good quality scans of the original plastics at 300 dpi.

I then bring the scanned image into Photoshop and clean the image a bit. From this point forward I spend most of my time using the Pen tool to create the vector artwork. Learn how to use it. The Pen tool is your friend. There are many good tutorial videos and articles on the internet that show how to use it. Of course familiarity with Photoshop is a plus.
Using the Pen tool, I start out by creating outlines of the plastics and removing anything from the image outside of the plastics themselves. This includes removing anything between the printed artwork and the edges of the plastic.

I then select all of the black areas in the plastics using Select->Color Range, and convert that to a working path and then rename and save that path as "black". Then, using the Pen tool, I fix all of the areas that need adjustment (this can be time consuming) and finally create a new layer and fill the path with black. Here you can see the black shown with the plastic outlines.

Following this, I use (you guessed it) the Pen tool to create a path for the different colors. In areas where the color meets a black edge, you can be sloppy and let the red edges bleed into the black areas since the black layer will always be on top of any color layers. It's a simple matter of selecting the path in the dialog and filling that path with the correct color.

I continue this process for each of the colors, creating new layers as i go for each color.

After getting all of the color layers completed, using the Pen tool, I create paths for where the holes will be drilled.

This file could then be used to create silk screens, or with a vinyl printer (my method... it's way cheaper and looks quite nice). When the vinyl image has been applied to PETG, I use a scroll saw with a very fine blade to cut out the plastics and a drill press to drill the holes.
In the end, I have a very new set of looking plastics that look much better than the old originals. This is especially handy where reproductions are not available
Jeff

Nice job on the High Hand plastics! Although... Next time, you should ask around for scans as there are many pinsiders willing to help. My Capt. Card plastics are near perfect and could have saved you some work.

- jeff

#40 5 years ago
Quoted from IntoPinball:

Nice job on the High Hand plastics! Although... Next time, you should ask around for scans as there are many pinsiders willing to help. My Capt. Card plastics are near perfect and could have saved you some work.
- jeff

Very good point! I'll keep that in mind next time. The pinside crowd has been very nice and is a helpful bunch of folks with a common interest keeping this wonderful activity alive.

Jeff

#41 5 years ago
Quoted from arpman:

Other software available so you can spend more on your pinball hobby...
GIMP is a free image manipulation program (for those who cant afford the "professional" software).
GIMPSHOP is a free image manipulation program with Photshop controls. So if your Photoshop trained you can use GIMPSHOP.
Good info. Thanks for posting, I have to few broken plastics I want to "recreate" and this is great information.
Thanks again.

Do NOT load this, It's loaded and bundled with viruses.

#42 5 years ago
Quoted from FirebrandX:

That's when you offload the files to a Russian host and tell "Bob" to have fun with that. Because until they manufacture old pinball plastics instead of bitching about those that do, they can shove it up their ass.

I sympathize, but if they do not make some demonstrable effort to protect their copyright they may lose it. That's probably the main reason they blast out that form letter.

#43 5 years ago
Quoted from Richthofen:

Those photoshop files are of incredible value. It would be nice to build a database of artwork files (cabinet stencils, playfields, plastics) and host it somewhere on the internet so people could get them printed themselves.

There used to be a web site called "balls of steel" that had scans of a lot of pinball artwork, mainly plastics if I remember correctly.

It was shut down due to copyright issues. I believe that it was Wayne's lawyers that caused the guy to get pissed off, so he took down the scans on the site. Though the scans conceivably still exist somewhere.

Perhaps someone from RGP can chime in with more info.

Robert

#44 5 years ago

More info:

http://ballsofsteel.net/

https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.games.pinball/qWAmg91RKY0/

Robert

PS: Somehow I cant get the entire RGP url to be an url...you'll have to copy and paste into your browser.

#45 5 years ago
Quoted from radium:

I sympathize, but if they do not make some demonstrable effort to protect their copyright they may lose it. That's probably the main reason they blast out that form letter.

And yet there are dozens of photos and scans on IPDB per game. There's a difference between sharing the preservation of classics as opposed to somebody trying to make money off it without permission. If Gottlieb doesn't know the difference, then they have a lot of work to do suing places, STARTING with IPDB

#46 5 years ago

The balls of steel site had individual scans of plastics, at 600 dpi, done flat and square.

Not exactly what you can find other places.

Robert

#47 5 years ago

These really do look great, and it makes me want to make a replacement for my Scared Stiff backbox. The plastic "headboard" is broken into multiple pieces and taped back together. Then, I start to think about the amount of work involved compared to how much free time I have, and I realize PPS will probably repro them before I could finish.

#48 5 years ago

300dpi minimum, yea? but we could scan higher without issue?

#49 5 years ago
Quoted from northvibe:

300dpi minimum, yea? but we could scan higher without issue?

The file gets quite large @ 600 dpi, and the added dots may not be much higher resolution after printing.

Best to try both and see if there is a difference after printing.

Robert

#50 5 years ago
Quoted from MrSanRamon:

The file gets quite large @ 600 dpi, and the added dots may not be much higher resolution after printing.
Best to try both and see if there is a difference after printing.
Robert

Agreed. I have tried 600 dpi in the past and the files just get too big. 300 dpi works quite well for me.

Jeff

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