(Topic ID: 119415)

Visual Study: Pinball Art


By Bubbatom

5 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 9 posts
  • 5 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by Aurich
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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    Exploded-view-CMYK-logo.png

    #1 5 years ago

    Hey there guys!

    It's my last year of highschool and part of the Design subject I'm doing at the moment involves doing a 20 page visual study on a chosen topic. I naturally chose pinball art and illustration. I've already done a fair bit on it.

    I've started this thread just to chuck any random questions regarding pinball art at you guys and I thought you may be able to help. A lot of these questions I couldn't find answers to online anywhere, so pinside was the obvious second choice!

    I'll add questions here as they come to me, but I don't think I'll have too many! I only have one for now:

    I read somewhere (I think on pinside) that playfields and cabinets were restricted to a maximum of 11 colours to work with for each machine, likely due to silk screening costs. I can see this on a lot of machines before the 2000s, but after then, there doesn't seem to be this limitation? Why? What changed so that more than 11 colours could be used? I'm assuming silk-screening is still used to print the artwork on playfields? I may be wrong.

    If you could provide a source with your answer that'd be sweet!

    Thanks for your time, Tom

    #2 5 years ago

    I cant help, but this is awesome you are doing this, bumping you to the top.

    #3 5 years ago

    Worth a bump.

    #4 5 years ago

    Gradient dots were introduced, which gave the appearance that more colors were used.

    There have been a handful of pinball art books printed over the years, so those might give you a more complete history of the techniques and technology that emerged.

    #5 5 years ago
    Quoted from Bubbatom:

    I read somewhere (I think on pinside) that playfields and cabinets were restricted to a maximum of 11 colours to work with for each machine, likely due to silk screening costs. I can see this on a lot of machines before the 2000s, but after then, there doesn't seem to be this limitation? Why? What changed so that more than 11 colours could be used? I'm assuming silk-screening is still used to print the artwork on playfields? I may be wrong.

    The answer is that modern playfields don't use individual screens for each color like they used to, they're done with CMYK process. So 4 screens, plus any special colors that might still be used. For example Tron LE was printed CMYK, but then had a 5th screen to print the silver ink.

    The advantages are that you're no longer limited in your color palette, you can do photorealistic images, sophisticated fades and gradients, etc. And since 4 screens covers most scenarios it's much cheaper to print. Less screens to burn, less ink passes to make. Time and materials go down.

    The downsides are that you lose out on the rich solid colors because you have the fine dithered dot patterns, and also some colors just aren't possible with CMYK. It's hard to get a proper orange for example, and florescent colors like AFM used require special inks. And if it's not printed right you end up with playfields like LOTR, which are muddy and fuzzy.

    Here's an example of how CMYK printing works for anyone not familiar with it:

    Exploded-view-CMYK-logo.png

    #6 5 years ago

    Here, I found a good closeup of a LOTR playfield, you can see the dithering on it easily. Stern has improved their print quality since this game, LOTR's printing is pretty much the worst example IMHO.

    Click the image to enlarge it so you can really see it.

    p1000352.jpg

    #7 5 years ago

    Let us know what kind of grade Aurich gets on your homework.

    You have been helped by an expert - I bet you get an A!!

    #8 5 years ago

    Thanks for the replies guys!

    I may need to track down some books on the topic as you say ForceFlow, though I don't any cover the more recent Stern games.

    All the info you've supplied Aurich is top notch! Cheers! I'll be able to include a fair amount of this, what excatly is your background so that I can include you in my sources?

    Thanks again, Tom

    #9 5 years ago
    Quoted from Bubbatom:

    All the info you've supplied Aurich is top notch! Cheers! I'll be able to include a fair amount of this, what excatly is your background so that I can include you in my sources?

    I'm the creative director for Ars Technica, been in the design industry for 20 years. Full name is Aurich Lawson if you need to cite me, feel free. Good luck!

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