Since I am a fan of the recent movie “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” I decided to make a sticker of the main character from that movie. To further complicate my design, I added the arch reactor of iron man on his chest.
I took a screenshot of spider-man directly from the movie myself and found a template of the arch reactor on the internet. I had to trace out the colors by hand since the image did not have clear borders around the colors. Since I am more comfortable using photoshop compared to Inkscape, I used photoshop to do the trick.
I traced out the primary colors by hand, do some cleanups on the edges, and filled the shapes with solid colors.
I went through a similar process to paste the arc reactor on the chest. Added the missing color and cut off the edge a little to make it seem like it is behind the jacket.
Once the image was imported in Inkscape, it was ready to be printed. However, I noticed that the layers of the colors were all messed up in there order and shapes. To challenge my skills with Inkscape, I reshaped each color the way I wanted them to be as a sticker.
Left is what it looked like when I imported the image. Right is when I edited each color parts.
After a short session of printing and assembling the stickers, I was done with my project.
During the activity, the majority of the time was spent constructing the design in photoshop. The physical works were quick, unlike the name tag project. However, the most challenging part was assembling the stickers. As you can see on my final product, there are air bubbles, and the arch reactor is slightly misplaced. Even though I was using transfer tape and was extremely cautious, it was challenging to make it perfect.
In my free time, I spend it playing a video game called Overwatch. One of the characters (Mei) has a little helper robot called snowball. I wanted to have an Overwatch sticket, so I thought to make my own! All of the pictures I found all had a fair amount of shading (as is seen in the original picture) and some rough edges. I thought I would use this as an opportunity to use inkscape to manipulate it into what I need it to look like.
To start, I used a color trace method in inkscape , the result was…less than good. I was able to get 4 layers that gave me the primary shapes, but they were very incomplete and distorted. This was going to require a lot of path and node manipulation.
Color traced image
Exploded image of the layers I got
I needed a way to work on each of these layers without moving them so I could see them and then needing to layer by eye or snaps which did not work great due to the odd shape. So, I actually sent each layer to its own inkscape layer, where I could then hide each layer, or expose while I worked on the paths almost like working with transparency film.
Layering in inkscape used to keep everything aligned but still allowed me to work on each path individually.
From here, it was a lot of splicing paths, joining paths, connecting paths, and switching between node types to get a final image that I felt was a good representation of Snowball, but that had all the right path shapes I needed to be cut.
Final look of the illustration
From there it was time to pick out my colors, I got three out of my four colors from the scraps bin, but for the last I had to buy a foot of vinyl.
I then prepared my material by cleaning with some 99% isopropyl alcohol to make sure everything would stick to itself without issue.
My next hurdle was going to be how to apply these layers so they line up as best as possible, my hands are not steady enough and the material not forgiving enough to do this freehand. So I came up with a method to help me. I started by adding a rectangle around the image that I wanted the cutter to cut (ideally all the way through, but I could not find the right depth, and I did not want to risk damaging the machine). This rectangle was unique because it was referenced to the image, so it would be a constant, fixed, and predictable location for every layer. I would cut each layer, then first peel off the vinyls to the outer rectangle, then cut the square backing to match.
rectangle around whole image
Then remove the unneeded sections to prepare for layering. For my base layer, I secured it to the table with tape, then I would line up the edges of the backing paper of next layer over top of the base layer. Then I would place my transfer tape on top of all of it, making sure to have enough tape at the top that also grabbed the table.
Then I would peel back the tape using the top part on the table like a hinge, then remove the backing.
Finally, I would just squeegee the tape back over the base layer, therefore depositing my next layer perfectly placed on top of my base.
This procedure was repeated for each layer, providing me with the finished product.
Overall, I liked how this came out. I am happy my idea for lining up the layers worked as well as it did. In the future, I would use a more sticky tape to affix the base layer to the table. I used the transfer tape itself which I had to be very careful with because it would want to lift up with each layer application, so I had to keep an eye on it and move slowly.
For the vinyl assignment, I’ve tried various techniques. Started with the one in class, simply merging two graphics into a hybrid one. I picked a tiny dragon and a skull for their simple and curvy outlines. Thought it would be cool to have that dragon grow out of the skull.
The end result looks nice and I have put that onto my water bottle.
For the logo sticker, I picked a logo of Star Wars theme. It has three different colours, so that I can exercise my taste of layering vinyl print.
This one took me quite some time in the lab. For a 4 -by-4 print, the letters were really tricky at the time. The hollow areas in letters like ‘P’ was painful. Also, i found that the glossy white vinyl is much harder and thicker the the rest, and the printer was not very well adapted to it. I tried printing it with default setting twice, no way to get it off. Then tried change the blade to 2, instead of 1. Finally made it off the back. Looks not too bad though.
For the final sticker, I picked this owl. Reminds me of DuoLingo. The process in InkSpace was not as smooth as it was for the previous one. Took lots of time manually fixing the outlines. Finalized to a seven layer design with each dedicated to a colour. With practices from the Darth Vader, the assembly took less time and the finish was quite cute.
For my Griffin part of the lab, I decided to start with a silhouette of a bear and a fish, to try to combine them. I was first thinking of just putting a fish back fin/tail on the bear, but I thought it would be nice to combine more of the fish with the bear, so I added the top fin as well. Then I had some extra time in the lab, so I thought it would be cool to add a third animal in my design, so I found a nice set of reindeer antlers on a silhouette of a reindeer and combined that with the rest. It ended up like this: (and is now on the door in the main area of the fab lab near the bigger sticker cutters)
For my logo, I wanted something that I would like to put on my laptop, and the UIUC logo works well for that purpose. I found a version of the logo that would be fairly simple to create, since this is mostly practice for the main design. I thought about how to create this for a little bit and decided that the best way to do it would be to have two layers. There would be a bottom layer of white and a top layer with the blue and the orange. I thought this would be better than blue on bottom, then white, then orange, since that would really have a layered feel when put together. I wanted to avoid that, so I thought of my two layered method.
From the start of this part of the sticker lab, I knew I wanted another sticker besides my logo to put on my laptop. So for this, I wanted something with a design that I thought would be cool to look at all the time and not too large.
One problem I encountered with the logo design was some bubbles that occurred due to the way I placed the layers on top of one another. I was able to squeegee out some of them, but not all. This became something to improve on for the final design. Duncan was helpful in telling me how to avoid this issue in the final design, by placing the layers down on top of each other more carefully and not all at once.
I have always liked designs with shapes, so one of the first things I thought of was a design with a main feature of some kind of circle with a star inside. When trying this out in Inkscape, I tried manipulating the star shape in different ways until I found a cool design from it. This came when I began changing the roundedness of the star, which after a little bit starts inverting the star in really cool ways. I did this, added a circles above and below it, and eventually got this:
I thought it looked sort of like a sun, so the next thing I thought of was to add solar flares around it, from this photo:
I knew I couldn’t directly use this, as I had to trace the bitmap first. I first tried this though brightness tracing, but it was a mess, so I decided to do it with color tracing. After some adjustments, I realized the best way to accomplish this and be able to easily add it to my design would be if I traced it with very few scans, 3 or 4, so it would only have a few color layers in it for me to deal with. It turned out like this:
From there I wanted to get rid of mostly everything inside of the outer layer, as I only really wanted that to frame my current sun image that I created. To do this, I made a circle that covered most of the inner mess and took the difference of this and the above.
There were still some parts of the black layer in the brown layer, so I wanted to get rid of those to make it a bit smoother. I accomplished this by creating some lines to cut off the parts that stuck out and took the difference of that. Then I deleted those parts that stuck out.
I combined that with my previous layers and got this (then cut it ):
I realized that this would be way too complicated to cut out and combine, so I started peeling back the layers a bit.
I wanted to middle part to be less complicated to start, so I changed it to this:
It was still a bit complicated here, so I decided to peel off one more layer from this:
I felt like the above would be much more manageable to actually create and put together into the final sticker, so I stuck with it. It would be four layers. A yellow layer on bottom with the black on top of it. The the other two would be a blue circle with the red circle and cut-outs above that. Then I would combine those top two layers with the bottom two for the final sticker.
After trying this I found out I should have done it a bit differently. The yellow and blue layer were very simple, as they were just a square and circle. The black layer was also pretty simple because of the square outline and just a part cut out of the middle. The problems I encountered were all with the red layer. It was a huge pain to take off with the transfer tape, as when I tried getting the blue outer cut-outs all off, the whole outer part of the red circle came with it and I had to try really hard to get it back on the original sticker paper in a circle again, which it really didn’t want to do. Then the tiny cut-outs of the inner part of the circle were too small to easily come out, which just made it take a while to very carefully get them out.
All in all, it turned out fairly well even through all the complications with the red layer and I was able to put it on my laptop.
If I were to try it again, I would definitely make the red and blue layers a different design. It would still be sun-like, but I would make it something combined for the red layer, so it would peel off into separate parts. I would also avoid tiny parts like the inner cut-outs in the red layer. I might change the blue slightly to add ridges or something to add to the design, since I’d be taking away a bit from the red part of the design. Also the red part is already having slight problems with peeling off when taking my laptop in and out of my backpack, so I would try to avoid the pointed triangles or other shapes in an outer layer. Those would have to be hidden below a top layer if they were to be incorporated and meant to last.
For this assignment, we were tasked with creating three vinyl stickers: a “griffin” sticker combining two creatures (real or fake), a logo sticker, and an original sticker.
For my griffin sticker, I decided to combine my two favorite Pokémon: Pikachu and Shinx. In lab section, just as we were about to print the sticker, the file crashed, with me not having saved yet. In order to catch up to the rest of the section, I quickly redid the sticker, but simply replacing Shinx’s tail with a Pikachu’s.
For my logo sticker, I decided to go with the Superman logo. It was surprisingly difficult to line up the layers perfectly. I went with a yellow square for the base, followed by the blue and red layers.
As for my original sticker, I decided to combine my two favorite games: Pokémon and Overwatch. I wasn’t entirely sure how I would combine them. I initially wanted to combine a pokéball and the Overwatch logo, and after receiving some advice, I decided to make an Overwatch themed pokéball instead. I started by taking an image of a pokéball and changed the red to the orange of the Overwatch logo. I then replaced the button with the Overwatch logo itself. In order to make the pokéball a little more complicated than a simple color swap, I made it so the white would encroach to the top of the pokéball up to a boundary level to the boundary found on the logo. In order to make it look more visually appealing, I added black lines to the boundary.
There was a problem though. I had put the design together without really thinking, so I had to fix all of the models in order to cut the correct shapes into the vinyl. After several attempts of using grouping and ungrouping, unioning and differencing various shapes, I was able to create the shapes that I actually needed to print out. Placing the layers was difficult due to small shapes, but the end result was definitely worth the effort.
Originally, I wanted to replace an old sticker that I’d had on my bike years ago, but with some creative license taken (obviously). In short, the end product was not what I was looking for, and I’ll be making edits and trying again sometime in the near future. I messed up the sticker by mistaking the layout, with some layers being only virtually overlapping, which caused problems when I went to cut them out. Essentially, there should have been a white portion on top of everything, and, rushing myself through this, I overlooked that.
This was more what I was looking for. Essentially, I inverted the colors of an image, did a *lot* of node editing, make some other minor adjustments. I might try this design again, or I might do something different, since the shapes are very difficult to line up well enough.
I really enjoyed the Griffin assignment – the result of my combination of shapes turned out more perfectly than I could’ve imagined.
I wanted to combine two distinctive animal shapes together, I went with a dolphin and a giraffe.
I had a couple of errors – The positioning of my image in SilhouetteStudio was off, and a little portion of the top of my sticker couldn’t get printed on to the vinyl itself.
Also, instead of removing the surrounding vinyl, I removed my shape itself 😛
As you can see however, the dolphin/giraffe combination looks hilarious and also very clean.
The process of using transfer tape, and using it to work with the three stickers was SO COOL. I felt like I was doing very complex stuff by putting down a transfer tape with sticker 1 and picking up sticker 2.
the results were great, and I cant wait to work on my self-designed layered sticker.
Self designed sticker
I wanted to work off of the following leafeon image.
It was difficult, but I arrived at the following layers and outlines. I had to make sacrifices such as leaving out certain shapes, and also having overlap of certain lines in 3 layers. I tried various combinations of Object difference/intersection/division, but couldn’t arrive at a set of layers that were perfectly split and grouped by color.
Once I printed them out, and then stripped the background layer from each sticker. This step was very challenging since there were many thin lines – I had to use a pencil and an easy-cutter to properly lift off the background while keeping the foreground stuck down.
They looked like so.
I then had to use transfer tape to gather these layers together. This also proved to be challenging from an alignment aspect. Each color was not positioned in correct alignment against the lines in other colors. The result is there are imperfectly aligned lines and shapes in my final sticker. I still dont mind – I kind of like the effect it creates.
I also couldn’t find a color close enough to match the body of the Leafeon, so I chose a shiny color to represent a “Shiny Leafeon”.
After this Leafeon project, I feel like I have a better grasp of Silhouette Studio, and what kinds of shapes and lines are easier to work with. I feel confident that I can translate cool sticker ideas I have into reality.
For the Griffin Sticker, I chose to a cross between a rabbit and a fish, two animals unlikely to be friends in the wild:
Simple Multi-Layered Sticker
For the simple multi-layered sticker, I chose to do the logo for Raspberry Pi. It’s a relatively simple logo, with three defined colors, so I figured that the sticker would come out nicely:
I chose to use the green as the foundation of the sticker, and have holes throughout all the layers in order for it to come out. The red will predominantly come out in the holes of the top black layer, as shown:
Complex Multi-Layered Sticker
My complex sticker was designed around the theme of Chicago. The colors were derived from the flag of Chicago, with Cloud Gate replacing the red stars and the Sears Tower shooting up from the bottom of the heart.
There are a total of four layers that construct the sticker. From bottom to top:
The blue heart
The white middle stripe
The black Sears Tower
The four red beans
The choice of layers derived from what needed to be aligned and what needed to be on top of another. For example, the Sears Tower needed to be behind the red Beans, and the Beans needed to be on top of the white strip, since they use the white in their design as their “shine”.
Looking back, I wish I factored in needing to center the beans with respect to the rest of the object. Some of the issues with using a red bottom layer, however, was that the Sears Tower needed to be behind the Beans, while still being on top of the stripe. This, however, never ended up being an issue, since the beans were misaligned from the original design to begin with. The Sears Tower itself is also slightly misaligned from the center of the heart, thus leading to a small sliver of blue showing at the bottom of the Tower.
While I initially decided to use the design I had set aside from last week (seen below), I quickly realized that converting it to a vinyl sticker would take 7 layers, all of which had to be different shade of the same color since I intended for it to be monochromatic. Since the lab did not have access to 7 layers of monochromatic vinyl, I decided to shelve the idea again.
Instead, I decided to use another patch I had previously designed for one of my engineering teams a year prior – a parody of the famous Lockheed Martin’s Skunkworks experimental team, modified with the UIUC mascot of a squirrel:
By simplifying the brown parts to dark orange, and dark brown/black parts to dark blue, I could reduce the required layers to 4, allowing for a simplified vinyl sticker.
Build Process and Modification
The build started off relatively normal, with me placing four vinyl patches in 2×2 pattern consisting of dark blue, dark orange, white, and salmon.
After the cutting began, however, I realized that a 4″x4″ was a rather small surface to cut on, especially given the details of my logo. However, instead of stopping the cut and moving to a bigger canvass, I decided to continue and use whatever practice I could. The result was a relatively small logo, although the details turned out better than I expected.
When peeling off the excess, I noticed that small details and patches – particularly around the letters, would sometimes stick to the excess as it was lifted up. I decided to proceed by peeling the excess off first, and then cut off the necessary bits stuck to it using an X-ACTO knife and a flathead screwdriver to nudge and modify the pieces back into place:
This process of reattaching and modifying the small details extended my work time by approximately two hours, yet once I was done the sticker looked relatively whole:
This weeks design task was to create an multilayered (minimum 4 layers) sticker of original design. This is not my first time using the silhouette cutter so there were not any issues regarding interacting with the technology. Issues with this task arose from the art/creativity side and will be explained late in the post.
The bulk of this assignment was spent in this planning phase. Starting out, I had a couple ideas but none I really liked. Most of them were simple, cut a logo in half, splice it into another one, made for a decent cop-out.
I have an affinity for taking dumb ideas and running with them, thus the Cannon Tangler! The Cannon Tangler is a Turtle with an Angler’s head and tail as well as tank cannons on its back. While this may just be a stupid design I actually had to actively think about certain aspects of the sticker that I would not have had to worry about had I went with one of my cop-outs. One such aspect was a sense of depth. the grey backing shown in Pic. 1 was made to be a consistent backing for the whole sticker as well as providing a base for one of the back cannons. In the final product (Pic. 2) you can see that I was able to achieve that sense of depth by making it seem that the Tangler has one cannon on each side of its shell. Finally, the grey backing supplied a stable base that made the sticker, well, stick better as a whole. Had I not had the backing, the back cannon would most likely not stick to the whole Tangler when peeling off the backing.
Pic. 1 Tangler Genesis. The Tangler gets its significant backing
Pic. 2 Tangler Revelation. Finished Tangler with green skin, brown spacers and, two cannons.
I do not have any pictures of the building process but in short it was mostly just connecting nodes, similar to that of the griffin lesson. However, getting the lines to fit the scraps properly was a bit of a pain. I just had to move around the red trace lines around a bit.
The initial stickers I created for this project helped push me in the direction of my final product in a major way. Experimenting with images that were more complicated than a simple shape or silhouette proved difficult and made me decide that I would take simple shapes to make a greater image.
I inevitably decided on making a Valentine’s Day sticker for my girlfriend because of the timeliness of this project. She really loves chihuahuas, so I decided that a chihuahua on a heart would be the perfect image for her. I also wanted to create an interesting design using simple shapes, so I made a pattern of circles to overlay with a background color to help contain the sticker and extend beyond just being a two shape design.
The design process in this project was without a doubt the biggest time commitment for this project. Carving shapes out and thinking about how layers will be laid out took a while to ensure my final product would turn out both correct and in a way that would layer correctly.
The cutting process within this project is really satisfying to me and it’s super cool seeing exact shapes get spit out by the cutters. Making designs that are easy to extract from the full sheet is definitely a challenge and takes some experience with vinyl in order to pull off.
I think one important thing I learned from this project is how complicated things can get very quickly when it comes to multi-layer sticker designs. The first couple ideas I thought of immediately became so difficult to actually try and execute that I had to abandon them. However, it was a lot of fun to try and think of ways to make more simple shapes into more complex patterns and arrangements to make something that looks much more complicated than it really is.
I was also extremely limited for time during this project and I think that if I had more time (or the fab lab was open during different times!) I would have been able to create some even cooler stickers.
Learning more in-depth tools within Inkscape made me realize how similar it is to Illustrator and how it could easily be used as a replacement in a pinch.
I had a lot of fun with this project and it’s insanely cool to be able to create little designs/pictures of your own and put them on everything. I was happy with my final product and I hope my girlfriend is too!
Motivation: I knew at the very beginning of the assignment that I wanted to draw my own design. I didn’t have a solid idea of what I wanted, but I ended up going with a cute design involving pancakes. The initial sketch can be seen below.
Build Process: I took this sketch and polished the line art and laid out how the sticker would eventually look. This can be seen in the below image.
While I would have loved to make a version that was fully shaded, I went with more simplistic coloring. The reason I did this is because I didn’t want to have a sticker with a ridiculous amount of layers and because I wanted to keep in mind that the selection of vinyl colors would be somewhat limited.
I then transferred this design into Inkscape to separate into separate layers for the sticker. Unlike the last project I had little problem getting my desired image to transfer into Inkscape bitmapping. I made the bitmaps the same general shape to make it easier for me to keep track of and at the end made it far simpler putting the sticker together. The bitmaps can be seen in the below image.
The only big-ish issue I had during the whole assignment was during printing, where on fortunately a small portion of my sticker was cut off. So in the future I should try to be more careful with laying out my vinyl and finding vinyl squares that aren’t irregularly shaped, which was my main problem. However the cut off portion didn’t have a meaningful impact on the overall piece.
The only other problem I had was not having the layers placed perfectly on top of each other so there is some bleed over of other colors. However, being a human made it hard to lay everything perfectly. Thankfully this bleed over doesn’t ruin the design and in my mind the sticker looks how I wanted it too. The final sticker can be seen below.
Reflection: Overall I really enjoyed the process of this assignment as it let me go off in whatever direction I wanted. If I make another layered sticker I might look into doing designs with more shading, which might require me to go out and find an even wider selection of vinyl colors I had for this project. Lastly in the future just keeping in mind any printing errors that might come up so the final product isn’t affected at all.