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How is MCI decals?

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11 hours ago, nowinaminute said:

I know they should be called stickers technically, I just end up using the wrong terminology because it's so widespread, you have more luck using decals as a search term than stickers and you just end up going along with it. The same way people call off road vehicles jeeps, tablets ipads and vacuum cleaners Hoovers. It irritates me even though I'm guilty of it myself lol

I think decals started out as a transfer method for putting a logo onto a surface, but techniques have changed a lot, so the definitions have blurred.

 

11 hours ago, nowinaminute said:

I definitely agree that MCI appear to use raster graphics, I was just reluctant to come across looking impolite or like a know it all. I definitely don't know everything but it's clear to see the source images aren't of a high enough resolution. It's strange that the colours are so pure though, assuming some of it has come from scans. Unless the images have been cleaned up in terms of colour, but just weren't of a very high resolution or perhaps some of the resolution was lost as a result of trying to clean them up such as forcing a lower colour depth etc.

yeah, given the number of different sheets that can be reprinted, it would be almost impossible or at least not really worth it for a business to remake them perfectly. So I can understand why they are just using scans, and many would be hard to get good copies of. Colour wise, they could just have very well tweaked profiles. And some printing machines are better at getting a wider colour gamut. Most printers are CMYK based, but I've seen ones that extra cartridges for orange, silver etc to help with colour richness.

 

11 hours ago, nowinaminute said:

When I print them at home it's far from a professional setup but I make and effort to get the best quality I can. I confess to just making up sheets of decals and saving them as a raster file to make things quick and easy but I make the sheet large enough so that the art should meet or exceed the magical 300dpi when printed at a4 (they should be good up to A2 actually) 

You can sometimes even get away with lower DPI. The lowest I'd go without really affecting print quality too much is at 180DPI to 240DPI. Even going to 240DPI will reduce file sizes. 

 

11 hours ago, nowinaminute said:

A lot of the logos are imported from vectors into photoshop as rasters at a resolution much larger than needed and then downscaled to fit on the sheet so that they are sharp and within their detail limit at the pixel level. Some logos I can find online already as vectors and some I have either traced from scans in illustrator or used the program vector magic if it does a good enough job by itself. Occasionally I'll find a raster of a logo that is already very clean in terms of colour with no compression artefacts or other noise and of sufficient resolution that it exceeds my needs and again I'll just shrink it down to fit the desired size.

You could also try and use a free program like Inkscape and work with vector format. Much smaller files.  Note, I have not used that program myself.

 

11 hours ago, nowinaminute said:

This isn't the full size file of course but this is the kind of simple sheet I use:



I only have a mid range Epson A4 photo printer, I find the basic quality of the printer to be pretty good, they have been pretty good since the first 720p Stylus photos came along really so that aspect is fine.

Epsons are pretty good printers, I've own several desktop and wide format ones over the years. They are were pretty consistent too, so a print on say and A4 one, it would come out almost the same on the A3 or A1 printer. The were really good for printing onto thin paper too. Which brings me to another technique that I have done once, You print onto a bond or rice paper and lacquer the print onto the surface. You need a white background and the lacquer will make paper will disappear, so you only see the ink on the surface. I've see this technique used on surf boards so there is no sticker that will get ruined by the waxing of the board.

 

11 hours ago, nowinaminute said:

I don't have any kind of proper calibration going on between screen and printer but it's close enough for my purposes, especially with basic graphics like these.

gHtWuvw.jpg

They look pretty good. We use to spray lacquer our prints with Crystal Clear when we needed to water proof them.

 

11 hours ago, nowinaminute said:

Obviously by the time I print it and take a photo, downsample it and then someone else views it on their screen it's hard to assess the resolution and colours but in person they look near enough to do the job in my opinion.

They look pretty good to me!

 

11 hours ago, nowinaminute said:

Like I say, the biggest issue for me is when there needs to be a clear background. I find this easy enough when its darker colours but as you say @Truck Norris the printer uses the white of the paper as a substitute for white ink and this has an effect when I try to print lighter shades onto clear vinyl as it just doesn't come out opaque like it should. The lighter the shade the more transparent it becomes. What I sometimes do is slightly alter a logo to include a colour background so that it doesn't just have a white box around it when you put in on a car. 

With the stickers I make, (and its a concept that is very important in printing in general) I add on what is called bleed. So I extend the edge of the colour or image or design by 2 mm, and I then cut that off, so you never get white lines.

 

11 hours ago, nowinaminute said:

Overall though, I'm quite pleased with the results I get for the effort and costs involved. I even used a colour HP laserjet and plain adhesive labels at one point and the results weren't awful but I think the inkjet vinly is a step up!

 

11 hours ago, nowinaminute said:

Great to discuss things a little more in depth. Like I say I'm not an expert on professional printing. I actually work with printers and consumables but it's more of a supply situation so unfortunately we don't have anything particularly impressive laying around, just your average home to medium office sized inkjet and laser machines. We don't do any actual printing in a professional capacity so I'm not much of an expert in that sense. I just try and do the best I can with the resources I have.

 

10 hours ago, nowinaminute said:

When you say vinyl cut I assume you mean starting with a sheet of solid colour and using a cutter to cut out the art work?

yep, you can get them in rolls at 610 mm or 1220 mm wide, lots of nice rich colours too. Thats probably what I like the most, you can get metallics, chromes and rich colours that are hard to print. They are also very scratch resistant.

 

10 hours ago, nowinaminute said:



I have noticed that the cutters seem to be getting more and more affordable. It does seem like a great solution for certain graphics. The large part on that Audi in particular I can appreciate how well it would work and the lettering on the Renault is lovely.

Cheers. Vinyl cutters are definitely getting cheaper, my current cutter, which I've had for 18 years now, cost $6000 new. If I were to replace with a similar model, they are about $2500 now, but thats for a commercial cutter. You can get hobby ones for well  under a $1000 now.

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5 hours ago, yogi-bear said:

They look pretty good to me!

I'm pretty pleased with them, the only downside is that sometimes the blacks develop a slight green/yellow tint. I've made sure all the blacks are pure in the file and tried various methods or printing from the bog standard windows viewer right up to photoshop with PS handling colour management and having it turned off in the printer driver. None of it seems to make a big difference. I've noticed certain areas are worse than others, parts that have a lot of yellow and black together for example seem to lead to the tint in the blacks. It doesn't seem to happen with proper photo paper so it may be a peculiarity of the cheapy vinyl I use, perhaps the ink takes longer to dry and the layers have a chance to start mixing together slightly. I know the printer will only use the colour ink when on the higher quality settings and mixes to make black so maybe the cheap paper is allowing things to stray slightly. They normally come out looking fine but then develop a tint as they dry. With conventional photo paper, the black stays much deeper even when it's dry.

I'm not going to get too worked up though, you can't really notice it unless you put one of the worse ones against something pure black.

I'll carry on experimenting with different media and see if I can get any improvement.

 

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5 hours ago, yogi-bear said:

You can sometimes even get away with lower DPI. The lowest I'd go without really affecting print quality too much is at 180DPI to 240DPI. Even going to 240DPI will reduce file sizes. 

Totally agree, I only really went as far as I did just in case I ever want to print much larger. I'm quite into photography  (although I've been neglecting it horribly since I caught the RC bug) and from normal viewing distances 180dpi is just fine for must things. I remember there was a whole thing about the "DPI" myth a few years back and how it wasn't as important as many made it out to be.

Also a lot of fundemental misunderstanding on the part of printers and newspapers etc. Rejecting images for not being 300DPI but if you simply opened it in PS and changed it to 300DPI without actually resampling it, just so the file said 300DPI then suddenly it would be fine even though the true resolution was the same!

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5 hours ago, nowinaminute said:

I'm pretty pleased with them, the only downside is that sometimes the blacks develop a slight green/yellow tint. ...

check that your photoshop file is also set to CMYK mode and not RGB, you can big get colour shifts when mixing colour palettes. Grey colours can also go greenish. If you are in CMYK mode, pure blacks should only print as pure black on the printer regardless of the quality of the print setting.

 

4 hours ago, nowinaminute said:

Totally agree, I only really went as far as I did just in case I ever want to print much larger. I'm quite into photography  (although I've been neglecting it horribly since I caught the RC bug) and from normal viewing distances 180dpi is just fine for must things. I remember there was a whole thing about the "DPI" myth a few years back and how it wasn't as important as many made it out to be.

Also a lot of fundemental misunderstanding on the part of printers and newspapers etc. Rejecting images for not being 300DPI but if you simply opened it in PS and changed it to 300DPI without actually resampling it, just so the file said 300DPI then suddenly it would be fine even though the true resolution was the same!

well, the 300DPI rule came from the era when half-tones etc were used, in a time you had to make plates for each colour. 300DPI is an optimal file quality that ensured a good print, so a printers pre-flight check would include checking that, and if its not 300DPI they would not print, so any image issue is not then their fault. Now off-set machines are digital, and production digital printers are just as good as off-set machines, so there is more leeway on how you can set things up. But that is a relatively new thing in say the last 15 years.

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11 hours ago, yogi-bear said:

Vinyl cutters are definitely getting cheaper, my current cutter, which I've had for 18 years now, cost $6000 new. If I were to replace with a similar model, they are about $2500 now, but thats for a commercial cutter. You can get hobby ones for well  under a $1000 now.

Even less than that. My Silhouette Portrait was £130 ($235). It's obviously not commercially robust but for what I do it's perfect. It's paid for itself twice over with graphics I've made and sold. I also use it to make paint masks, cut out styrene and cut the correct shapes from the 3D headlight texture stickers I use.

It's pretty amazing how small it will do, see these tiny O•Z logos for example. That dot is 0.5mm diameter:

impreza-98-wheel-detail.jpg

This is the last sheet I had printed by ScreenprintDigital. Their printer can also cut, so all I do is draw the cutlines in Illustrator and the machine does the rest:

screenprint-white-cut.jpg

Using this method I can take advantage of white vinyl (brighter whites and stronger saturation of other colours) but without an edge or border:

screenprint-monte-bleed-cut.jpg

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3 hours ago, yogi-bear said:

check that your photoshop file is also set to CMYK mode and not RGB, you can big get colour shifts when mixing colour palettes. Grey colours can also go greenish. If you are in CMYK mode, pure blacks should only print as pure black on the printer regardless of the quality of the print setting.

I tried that but it was even worse. When I read around about it, the consensus seemed to be that you have to send it as RGB because the printer converts it internally even when you set it to let the software colour manage. If you send it as CMYK the printer still tries to convert it and it goes pretty weird. the only Epson machines I know of that are overtly advertised as directly accepting CMYK are the bigger plotters and dye sub ones.

There's a trick people used to do to force the black cartridge but it only works in when you print black and white images. I discovered it back when the Stylus photo 1400 was still new. People were getting colour casts when printing greyscale. Back then it was possible to simultaneously select the highest quality setting and plain paper as the media. With plain paper selected and greyscale selected the printer would put out a beautiful black and white image with no colour cast. Unfortunately, on newer machines you cannot replicate the same trick. I could get it to work on my old Stylus R220 but not my newer printer. Unfortunately my R220 seems to have hit old age because the quality has become somewhat fuzzy recently no matter how much I clean or align it. I fear the old girl has finally reached the end after 13 years. It doesn't matter anyway because it would only work with the printer set to greyscale.

I've never found a way to force the printer to use the black cartridge for black on the higher quality settings. I'm happy to keep trying though.

 

3 hours ago, yogi-bear said:

well, the 300DPI rule came from the era when half-tones etc were used, in a time you had to make plates for each colour. 300DPI is an optimal file quality that ensured a good print, so a printers pre-flight check would include checking that, and if its not 300DPI they would not print, so any image issue is not then their fault. Now off-set machines are digital, and production digital printers are just as good as off-set machines, so there is more leeway on how you can set things up. But that is a relatively new thing in say the last 15 years.

One thing I remember vividly is when a company called Dreamwave reintroduced the Transformers comics in the early 2000's. They once had some sort of competition where you submitted your own art and I remember the mass confusion because they stipulated that the images needed to be 300dpi but made no mention of what size they would be printed so nobody really knew what resolution the pictures needed to be. In the end people just panicked and changed image to 300dpi in photoshop which or course had no impact on the actual resolution of the images. 

 

1 hour ago, Truck Norris said:

This is the last sheet I had printed by ScreenprintDigital. Their printer can also cut, so all I do is draw the cutlines in Illustrator and the machine does the rest:

screenprint-white-cut.jpg

Hmm so they can print on clear. I ordered a set of sponsors from them and they were printed on white and not all of them had bleed which was a shame. The spotlight decals I ordered all did and some of the sponsor sheet but others on there had been cut with a gap around them so they had a white outline. Very nice quality otherwise though.

When I get round to re-doing my sheets and making new ones I'll definitely add cut lines.

 

1 hour ago, Truck Norris said:

My Silhouette Portrait was £130

That's the one I've had my eye on.
 

1 hour ago, Truck Norris said:

It's pretty amazing how small it will do, see these tiny O•Z logos for example. That dot is 0.5mm diameter:


Holy.....

Once thing I'm curious about, can you put a separately printed sheet into the cutter then send the corresponding file with cut lines to it so it cuts the pre printed images or does it only work making stuff from scratch with blank vinyl? I guess it's a matter of calibration so that the cutter is working in exactly the same place as the printer was. 

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9 hours ago, Truck Norris said:

It's pretty amazing how small it will do, see these tiny O•Z logos for example. That dot is 0.5mm diameter:

thats very impressive, especially for a cheaper machine!

 

9 hours ago, Truck Norris said:

This is the last sheet I had printed by ScreenprintDigital. Their printer can also cut, so all I do is draw the cutlines in Illustrator and the machine does the rest:

screenprint-white-cut.jpg

Using this method I can take advantage of white vinyl (brighter whites and stronger saturation of other colours) but without an edge or border:

screenprint-monte-bleed-cut.jpg

I see those stickers also have very good cut registration. Digital screen printing is also one of the best ways to do stickers. How does the pricing compare to normal stickers?

I use a latex printer with a matching vinyl cutter, but the cutter is often about 0.5mm out and sometimes more. I quite often get this:

Marui-Galaxy-Sticker-set-4.jpg

 

 

8 hours ago, nowinaminute said:

I tried that but it was even worse. When I read around about it, the consensus seemed to be that you have to send it as RGB because the printer converts it internally even when you set it to let the software colour manage. If you send it as CMYK the printer still tries to convert it and it goes pretty weird. the only Epson machines I know of that are overtly advertised as directly accepting CMYK are the bigger plotters and dye sub ones.

Thats quite possibly true. I've heard home printers are quite often optimised for printing photos etc, so that may be how they do it.

 

8 hours ago, nowinaminute said:

One thing I remember vividly is when a company called Dreamwave reintroduced the Transformers comics in the early 2000's. They once had some sort of competition where you submitted your own art and I remember the mass confusion because they stipulated that the images needed to be 300dpi but made no mention of what size they would be printed so nobody really knew what resolution the pictures needed to be. In the end people just panicked and changed image to 300dpi in photoshop which or course had no impact on the actual resolution of the images. 

Yeah, thats a bit silly

 

8 hours ago, nowinaminute said:

Once thing I'm curious about, can you put a separately printed sheet into the cutter then send the corresponding file with cut lines to it so it cuts the pre printed images or does it only work making stuff from scratch with blank vinyl? I guess it's a matter of calibration so that the cutter is working in exactly the same place as the printer was. 

yes you can. My workflow for printing stickers is that they are printed on a HP latex printer, along with registration marks. Those marks are detected in a separate vinyl cutter that I use. The problem with the setup I use is that there are only 4 registration marks, so over longer cuts the accuracy can go out . The pics from @Truck Norris looks like they have registration marks throughout the print. That is a much better setup as it keeps cutting accuracy for longer cuts. 

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In support of the original thread title, MCI quality is good to go.

This is a sample I had printed for the Tamiya Championship finals race in SoCal, entered a discontinued Audi R8 LMS body to race and designed a special graphic livery. I design exclusively in vector line art.

31045395718_019e88583f_b.jpg

42973678354_61fed521f5_b.jpg

28800770977_19ba68882c_b.jpg

 

 

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6 hours ago, studioRS said:

In support of the original thread title, MCI quality is good to go.

This is a sample I had printed for the Tamiya Championship finals race in SoCal, entered a discontinued Audi R8 LMS body to race and designed a special graphic livery. I design exclusively in vector line art.

31045395718_019e88583f_b.jpg

42973678354_61fed521f5_b.jpg

28800770977_19ba68882c_b.jpg

 

 

Quality looks great! Proves that it's just the artwork letting down some of their sets.

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Hi all. I recently made a purchase with MCI and wondered if I could get some thoughts/opinions from you please.

I came across the following set (and ordered):

TAM-DF-03MSDECALS_900x.gif?v=1594670864

But I'm now worried about the quality as the image is not good. Areas of white, black and blue are missing and terrible. I thought it was just the website but when I later viewed the following ones, realised something else might be going on as they look much better quality:

ddf4cbc9909211994fb7ef60aeade925_900x.jp

Will the DF03ms stickers really turn out that bad or will they be more like the tt02b ms stickers? 

I'm not expecting tamiya quality but based on the image of the DF03ms stickers, they don't look like they are worth printing. 

Any thoughts/views would be greatly appreciated. 

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35 minutes ago, mman2005 said:

Hi all. I recently made a purchase with MCI and wondered if I could get some thoughts/opinions from you please.

I came across the following set (and ordered):

TAM-DF-03MSDECALS_900x.gif?v=1594670864

But I'm now worried about the quality as the image is not good. Areas of white, black and blue are missing and terrible. I thought it was just the website but when I later viewed the following ones, realised something else might be going on as they look much better quality:

ddf4cbc9909211994fb7ef60aeade925_900x.jp

Will the DF03ms stickers really turn out that bad or will they be more like the tt02b ms stickers? 

I'm not expecting tamiya quality but based on the image of the DF03ms stickers, they don't look like they are worth printing. 

Any thoughts/views would be greatly appreciated. 

Send Nathaniel (MCI) an email and ask him? He build his print collection from scans he got from us RC builders and collectors and usually the print quality is (very) good.

  • Thanks 1

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