Here’s a project I did a few years ago, but I thought of sharing it here anyway because fixing a CMYK printed playfield with photographic artwork requires a slightly different approach than the traditional airbrush fixes on spot colours.
One of the great things about the pinball community is that people are always happy helping each other. A friend of mine, who is much better at electronics than me, helps me keeping my games alive. In return I have fixed his LOTR playfield, which had significant wear on the large insert between the flippers.
No way to fix the damaged part only, so the first step was to remove all the print on the insert.
Actually the biggest problem wasn’t the insert itself, but rather that there was some loose paint on the playfield itself. I had to address that area as well, because the clearcoat would not stick well on loose paint. The bad news was that, after all loose paint was removed and sanded, some text was gone as well.
I had no choice but to reproduce the missing parts in Photoshop. Time for some copy-paste and creative usage of the clone and healing tools…
I then printed the missing artwork on my Alps printer.
The good thing was that the Alps printer’s resolution is very similar to the resolution of the original screen print on the playfield (I estimate about 100 dpi), hence the ‘dots’ more or less matched. The bad thing was that, as expected, the colours of my printed decal were close, but not spot on. Once the decals were applied, the borders were still very visible. I would address that in a later phase.
I then had the playfield clearcoated in a local car repair shop. Unfortunately the guy slightly damaged the new decal. Shit happens. So I sanded the playfield, then removed the damaged decal and printed a few new colour variations (slightly different hue and/or saturation), hoping to obtain a better match with the original colours.
And yes! I had an almost perfect match with the original printing on the insert.
Next I addressed the decal borders on the playfield itself. With a paintbrush I consecutively applied very thin layers of almost transparent paint to mask these borders and match the colours of fix and original print. Obviously perfection would not be possible, but in the end I was very happy with the result, and I was pretty confident that one would not notice the fix without knowing what to look for.
Next I sent the playfield back to the car repair shop for a new clearcoat session. I asked the guy to be a little more careful now. Actually I asked him several times