Author Topic: A closer look at Tichy Train Group waterslide decals  (Read 1304 times)

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Chris333

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Re: A closer look at Tichy Train Group waterslide decals
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2017, 03:03:40 AM »
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Here is the best phone pic I could get of the signs.


So these are printed in process black using all 4 colors?  If so why?  Every once in a while they send us a page this way where all the type on the page is process black and it always looks like crap because all 4 colors need to be in absolute perfect registration to look right.


peteski

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Re: A closer look at Tichy Train Group waterslide decals
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2017, 04:30:04 AM »
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Peteski:  Thanks for starting a new topic - mine had drifted badly!

And I like your comparisons.  IF they ever print my color set, ink buildup shouldn't be a major problem, as I did the artwork so that there isn't any overlap.  There should only be one color, and maybe a white undercoat, at any one place.  Two colors touching occurs in only one portion, where two straight lines are in contact.

Your results also match mine in resolution.  I inch letters are almost readable if handrawn.  I did a USRE map logo for one of my hopper decals, with 5-pixel high letters, and under a 10X magnifier, they are obviously "letters", not just blobs.  But they aren't readable letters.  I don't know what their resolution is, but my decals were created as 800-DPI bitmaps, then converted to PDFs.  Their resolution isn't quite as good as my originals, so I suspect that 600 to 800 DPI is about their limit.

I might yet try putting some rivet strips on a future sheet.  0.002 inches is 1/3 N scale inch.  How thick is a prototype boxcar side rivet head?

SandyEggoJake:  Like you, I'm just glad to have a source for custom decals.  If I can get the decal I need from Microscale, or another traditional printer, that's what I'll use.  But for what I'm ordering, there is no other choice.

I think they'll work fine on a tank car.  The curve is both gentle and consistent, and the decals aren't rigid.

There won't be much ink buildup if they in fact mix and print custom spot color inks. If not, then the color you requested will be printed over white ink in the same way it is done on your home ink jet printer: bunch of little dots of CYMK inks in a proportion which will yield the color you asked for.

I suspect that the Tichy printer's resolution is probably more like 300 dpi.  Plus the ink dots seem to spread out on paper.

There are several customer decal printing companies out there (using Alps printers).  You can find the list on http://robdebie.home.xs4all.nl/models/decals.htm then click on Custom decal companies link on that screen.   But I know that most of them prefer vector-based artwork (Corel Draw, Photoshop, Inkscape, or similar).

Chris, I don't think that the black is printed using all 4 inks overlaid.  But I think that the printer driver creates a halo of CYM inks around black objects for unaliasing purposes.  If you look at your signs under magnification higher than those photos, do you see any color dots on the edge of black?

--- Peteski de Snarkski

Lemosteam

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Re: A closer look at Tichy Train Group waterslide decals
« Reply #17 on: March 15, 2017, 06:56:04 AM »
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This would actually be great on clear acetate for window mullions due to its perceived height.  That way all you would ever need is the outer window frame, cut the acetate around the mullions and plunk it into a recess on the back of the window frame.

Do an upper and a lower overlay and you'd have a double hung style.

peteski

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Re: A closer look at Tichy Train Group waterslide decals
« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2017, 04:06:15 PM »
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This would actually be great on clear acetate for window mullions due to its perceived height.  That way all you would ever need is the outer window frame, cut the acetate around the mullions and plunk it into a recess on the back of the window frame.

Do an upper and a lower overlay and you'd have a double hung style.

You're right - that would be a perfect application for this direct-to-substrate printer.  I wonder if you asked would they be willing to print your design on thin clear plastic sheet instead of decal paper (which has similar thickness)?

As a side-note I'm beginning to really dislike using the word "acetate" while describing clear plastic sheets. I don't think the actual acetate has been used in that application for over 40 years. The clear sheets we use are either Polystyrene, PET, PETG, or Polycarbonate.  But I guess just like we call all facial tissues Kleenex, we latched onto an old name and keep using it.
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Chris333

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Re: A closer look at Tichy Train Group waterslide decals
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2017, 07:17:19 PM »
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Was at a show and saw these guys:
https://www.cmrproducts.com/tag/custom-decals/
they use the same ink jet printer. The guy I talked to didn't know all the details. I asked how close the model is when printed, he didn't know, but said if the print head touches the model they have to start over. Had a bunch of graffiti cars that were direct printed.

If it matters they also had a bunch of N scale resin loco bodies.

SandyEggoJake

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Re: A closer look at Tichy Train Group waterslide decals
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2017, 07:42:04 PM »
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Chris, did they name the brand & model of their ink jet rig? 

BTW, their website has to be one of the sloooooowest I come across in some time.  painful.

Chris333

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Re: A closer look at Tichy Train Group waterslide decals
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2017, 08:21:00 PM »
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Sorry, think I was talking to the son. He kept pointing to the other guy saying "he would know". I did ask though.

peteski

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Re: A closer look at Tichy Train Group waterslide decals
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2017, 10:42:04 PM »
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The printer MTL currently uses is also a direct-to-substrate ink jet. Dunno if the ink is UV-cured or solvent based. It prints colors and white, and the ink layer is much thinner than what Tichy uses.   But I'm not sure if @Shipsure will tell us the brand/model of the printer ot is that a trade-secret.  :)
--- Peteski de Snarkski

nkalanaga

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Re: A closer look at Tichy Train Group waterslide decals
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2017, 01:10:13 AM »
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I GOT MY COLOR DECALS TODAY (3-24)!

They look good, and feel somewhat thinner than the white ones.  That's unlikely, but they're almost certainly no thicker, so they didn't print color-on-white.  If anything, the blcak portions feel thinner than the colors, which could be possible, as black would cover better.

I called them Monday, and they said the latest delay was that they had to "vectorize" them, to make it easier to align the color layers.  That may be true, but I would think that aligning them would be the same regardless of format, as all of the layer files were exactly the same size/shape.  But, in any case, they were to be printed that day, and they arrived today.  The colors look like what I wanted, although I haven't used any of them yet, so don't know what they will look like on paint.

The oddest part was that they DIDN'T align the color layers at all.  They printed each color on a separate sheet.  Weird.  Not a problem, really, except for the set for my mining company's diesel, which should have had a wide red stripe and narrow "copper" stripes.  As designed, that would have been one piece.  Now I have to cut the stripes very carefully, so they'll butt against one another, without leaving gaps between them.  I did that, using trim film, years ago, so it can be done, but it's still slightly disappointing. 

And, if they were going to do that, why "vectorize" the files in the first place?  Seems like extra work, but again, they're the printers.

Anyone thinking of multi-color heralds might want to call them beforehand, and be VERY sure everyone is on the same page about what's wanted.
N Kalanaga
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peteski

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Re: A closer look at Tichy Train Group waterslide decals
« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2017, 02:34:03 AM »
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Nick,
It seems like there was some serious and unfortunate miscommunication between you and  your artwork and Tichy Trains.

As a decal designer and printer myself I can tell you from first hand experience that vector-based artwork is easier to deal with than bitmaps in every aspect. I can't even imagine dealing with color-separated bitmapped artwork . That sounds like a nightmare to me.

Can you take the strongest magnifier and a light source you have and examine the color printing?  Is the color solid, or is it made up from bunch of dots of cyan, magenta, and yellow?
--- Peteski de Snarkski

nkalanaga

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Re: A closer look at Tichy Train Group waterslide decals
« Reply #25 on: March 26, 2017, 01:14:05 AM »
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It's solid, under 10-power magnification.  Even wide stripes show no color variation, although there is some VERY slight texture visible, which isn't surprising.  No more than on many paint jobs, though, and it certainly won't affect the results.  One of the files was for SP&S wide-stripe passenger cars, and included the stripes, so there's a rather large solid color area.

As for aligning the colors, I talked directly to Don Tichy before they printed them, and he specifically said that they "vectorized" them "to make aligning the colors easier".  So, any miscommunication had to be between him and his printer operator, since he knew that they should all be on one sheet, and had prepared the files for that.

I'll defer to your experience on printing color layers, but in this case, he didn't seem to think it would be a problem back in February.  Apparently they print all of the colors without moving the paper, and since my files were exactly the size of the paper, and all identically sized, aligning them should be easy.  Maybe harder with a bitmap file than a vector file, but there was only one way they could fit on the paper, and I did include alignment marks.

What I sent were the individual color layers, and the CYMK code for each color, so printing each layer would have been as simple as printing black or white, if they custom mixed colors, which they apparently did.

In any case, I have the decals, and can't think of any other mixed-color decals I'll be needing, so there shouldn't be any more problems.  White, and probably black, sheets print with no issues.
N Kalanaga
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peteski

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Re: A closer look at Tichy Train Group waterslide decals
« Reply #26 on: March 26, 2017, 03:21:00 AM »
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Since they do print full color billboards (As a single decal), there should be no reason to print all of the color layers in your decal separately.  Maybe the CYMK separation was somehow confusing to them.
--- Peteski de Snarkski

nkalanaga

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Re: A closer look at Tichy Train Group waterslide decals
« Reply #27 on: March 26, 2017, 02:33:05 PM »
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Who knows?  I asked, in the same email I sent to let them know the decals arrived, but won't worry if they don't answer.  Other than the stripes for my diesel, everything else was single-color to start with, so it doesn't really hurt anything to have them on separate pages.  As I said, the old diesel was painted by cutting individual stripes, and I won't have to measure these, so it's still an improvement.

It was a waste of their paper, and probably time, so they might want to look into it, but that won't affect me.
N Kalanaga
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nkalanaga

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Re: A closer look at Tichy Train Group waterslide decals
« Reply #28 on: March 30, 2017, 01:29:45 AM »
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I received an email from Don Monday, saying that the separate color sheets was a "miscommunication on his part", not a limitation on the process, or anything wrong with my files.  So, that's good to know.

In a big surprise, today (Wednesday), there was an envelope from Tichy in our mailbox.  They reprinted the entire sheet, even though I told Don that I was satisfied with the separate sheets.  Yes, the stripes were perfectly aligned, and the color separation is good.

However, at 10x, I can just see the individual color dots, so they apparently don't custom mix colors.  I went back and looked at the first sheet, and the dots aren't visible as dots, although that could be some of what looked like surface texture.  Unless one plans very close-up photos, the colors on this sheet also look solid.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2017, 02:19:06 AM by nkalanaga »
N Kalanaga
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peteski

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Re: A closer look at Tichy Train Group waterslide decals
« Reply #29 on: March 30, 2017, 02:39:16 AM »
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I received an email from Don Monday, saying that the separate color sheets was a "miscommunication on his part", not a limitation on the process, or anything wrong with my files.  So, that's good to know.

In a big surprise, today (Wednesday), there was an envelope from Tichy in our mailbox.  They reprinted the entire sheet, even though I told Don that I was satisfied with the separate sheets.  Yes, the stripes were perfectly aligned, and the color separation is good.

However, at 10x, I can just see the individual color dots, so they apparently don't custom mix colors.  I went back and looked at the first sheet, and the dots aren't visible as dots, although that could be some of what looked like surface texture.  Unless one plans very close-up photos, the colors on this sheet also look solid.

Well, that sure explains things - thanks for the followup.  This now makes sense.
But I'm still puzzled as to why the color on the separate color decals does not show the halftone dots where the new sheet does.
--- Peteski de Snarkski