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.
For my griffin sticker I did my best to pay homage to the cat dog cartoon that was on in the 90s. I had some problems with the nodes and lining the bodies up right, but I liked how it turned out.
2. For my logo based sticker, I decided to make a sticker for one of my clubs. We’ve been planning on making stickers for a while, and I thought now would be a good time to start the process. In the future, we plan to make more in different designs and sizes, but I started off simple for now.
I made two copies of the design, deleted the nodes from the quill and words respectively, and set up the design so the background, words, and quill would all be different colors. Once it was printed, it was hard to get the words off without ruining the arrangement, but it turned out okay in the end.
3. For my complex sticker, I made a doodle I drew into a sticker. I found a small globe online, as well as the magnifying glass, and fit it into the middle of the circle. The quote is from one of my favorite movies. The words were again hard to paste on since they were so tiny, and they ended up a little crooked.
Overall, I’m really pleased with how it turned out, especially with the size of the circles fitting really well, and how the details of the land came out.
Optionally titled: “Shaoyie this is why people dont make stickers with millions of tiny fiddly parts.”
(Apologies for informality, I’m a little sleep deprived.)
So this is the finished product!
Sources first: This quote (and the bear character, named Angus) are from a game called Night In The Woods, which I’m pretty fond of. … without context I realize this quote might seem a little depressing but I promise in context its a pretty heartwarming conversation about human nature and etc. That is also where the whale comes from, although I failed to use him properly.
This was not the original design/idea I was going to go with; I was originally gonna do a cleaner, less fiddly design where I just mashed together some of my favorite video game logos, but logos are pretty well designed and mashing them together kind of felt like sacrilege. So I went for this route instead.
Layers come from Angus’s face, and the lettering. The lettering ended up being very problematic- I intended to use the actual letters, not the cutouts, but they were just…. way too tiny and got all messed up so eventually i gave up and just used the cutout, manually cutting out some weird polygonish shapes. Turned out okay, especially given that they were manually cut and I was using a multitool. and am very bad at cutting straight lines.
Lessons learned: do not use little fiddly shapes like letters or fine tracing (like the whale) unless you are willing to spend inordinate amounts of time adjusting and arranging and working with very very tiny pieces of sticker. That was probably supposed to be self evident, but. oops.
Last note: I guess theoretically the little circles coming off of the thought bubble aren’t physically attached to the main sticker, but they are meant to be. Emotionally.
The first sticker I created during lab section was a combination of a bunny and a cat silhouette. The second is the CU Fab Lab logo, which consists of three layers that helped us practice creating multi-layered stickers.
For my final sticker, I decided to create a little matryoshka doll (AKA Russian nesting doll). Being a first-generation American whose parents were originally from Russia, I wanted to create a little reminder of that heritage. I also think matryoshka dolls are great sources of design and creativity, because every doll is different, and you can customize them to be as simple or as detailed as you want. Not to mention they are nesting dolls, so they are in and of itself, layered by design 🙂
My version was not quite as complicated, and only consisted of one “layer” of matryoshka (even though in terms of material, it has 5). In terms of design, I initially did want to go a more complicated route, by adding several symbols to the matryoshka that I thought represented me (i.e. my favorite flower, which is a sunflower), but I was worried about wasting too much vinyl by creating many small pieces/symbols, so ultimately I went with only one symbol: grapes!
The reason I chose to add grapes to my matryoshka is because my last name, Vinogradov, is derived from the Russian word, vinograd, which means “grapes”. That way, I could complete the overall theme of my heritage by adding the very thing that quite literally makes up my family name.
One challenge I faced during the design process was figuring out the order of layers. I originally wanted to have the red layer be over the blue layer, because naturally that’s how it would be on the real thing, but Inkscape for some reason wanted to keep creating the layers such that the blue fitted over red, so I ended up keeping it that way. I don’t think it makes a noticeable difference though. You also can’t really see it in the picture, but I liked that I used a glossier vinyl for the “clothing” of the doll (i.e. the headscarf, blue bottom, and the grape) and a duller version for the body and eyes because it helps accentuate those colors. Overall, I’m happy with how it turned out and will probably put it on my laptop or somewhere close.
In class, I made two practice stickers: a giraffe-groundhog griffin, and an Umbreon.
My Umbreon’s eyes turned out a little funny-looking because it was hard to get the placement right with no references to line them up. I originally wanted to make a Ninetales, but Ninetales has fewer obvious markings to break up a silhouette, and I didn’t see multiple shades of pale yellow vinyl so any attempts at doing lighting/shadows instead would probably look funny.
For my final project, I chose to make a sticker for my girlfriend of her favorite hero from the game Overwatch, Ana Amari.
I based my sticker off a drawing of Ana’s Cabana skin by @irlwitch on Twitter. I chose this image because of its simplicity. The artist uses clear, distinct shapes and colors without making the proportions too cartoony, which makes their style good for converting to a layered sticker.
I started by trying to trace the bitmap of the image in multiple scans, but I found that it was too complicated to work as intended. So instead, I brought the image into GIMP and used the intelligent scissors tool to simplify the image into six discrete shades. I was aiming for a minimalist style to make it easier to put the sticker together, so I left out all the facial features, the shading and shadows, as well as small details like Ana’s neck and the rim of her hat. I originally wanted to include her hand shushing, but it looked weird without her mouth and with her finger blending into her face.
Next, I imported the image into Inkscape and traced the bitmap to vectorize it. I smoothed out the curves and used the path editing tools to eliminate gaps and overlapping. I learned my lesson from my placement trouble with Umbreon and tried to leave little clues to help with the layer placement. For instance, there’s the little bump of the scarf onto the left edge of the face to help line up those pieces, since otherwise it could be hard to figure out the perfect alignment for the face piece, especially with my original intention of making the hair color be the background. I ultimately decided to change the shoulders to match the hat color and use that as the background because the pale yellow flower blended in too much with the yellowish hair, and I remembered from class that there weren’t enough available shades of pale yellows/beiges to distinguish them. Instead, I changed the hair to a light gray shade more accurate to the character’s in-game appearance. In-game, Ana’s hair and sunglasses are actually almost white, but I used light gray to avoid confusion with the white default background in Inkscape, and also because the bright white was kind of glaring.
As it turned out, I managed to find vinyl squares that almost perfectly matched the shades I wanted. I used the select-by-color option in the Silhouette program to print out each colored section separately. Except for the base hat layer, none of the layers are stacked on top of each other. Instead, I cut them so that their edges would line up and make it easier to get the placement right. I also wanted to avoid making the sticker too thick. I forgot to take pictures while printing the sticker out and putting it together, but here are pictures of the last layer (the sunglasses and eye patch) and the finished product.
Overall, I think the sticker turned out nicely, and my girlfriend likes it. I definitely learned from my practice Umbreon sticker a lot which helped the process for the Ana sticker go smoothly.
The toughest part was lining up all the pieces perfectly. If you look closely, there are gaps between some of the edges, especially between the face and hair. Alas, if only the real world had an option to automatically snap cusp nodes together like in Inkscape! To avoid the hat color showing through the gaps, it might be possible to make each successive layer entirely filled in, but then it would be harder to figure out where to line up the top layers (the same problem I had with Umbreon), especially with stuff like the sunglasses lens. I think the beige hat color is discreet enough that it’s not a big deal where it shows through, but maybe for a sticker with a bolder background color it would be better to use a different method.
During the lab section I created two stickers, one was a fusion between an alligator and a gorilla (A Gorillagator or an Allilla, your choice), and the other was the superman logo.
As for my main sticker project, I decided I wanted to do an alien abduction, but didn’t want to be cliche and have it abducting just a single person or a cow, so I have it abducting an entire house instead. I didn’t use any originally existing logos, because I thought that would be boring, so none needed to be modified.
I then prepared for moving to the cutter by separating the layers into constituent parts.
Next I chose the vinyl I would use to actually cut out my sticker. Unfortunately there weren’t any black pieces large enough to serve as the back piece, so I instead used a dark gray and used a silver for the saucer to make it stand out more.
Here’s what it all the layers looked like after being cut out, but pre-assembly and in the order of layers from left to right:
And here is the final product after assembly!
I was satisfied with the results of my project, but would change a few things. For example, the brown on my sticker is very dark, and can be hard to differentiate from the dark grey layer below it. In addition, it was difficult aligning some of the smaller pieces with areas I had lain out for them, and so the sticker isn’t perfect. But overall it was a fun experience, and I enjoyed the process a lot!
For the griffin design, I wanted to combine my favorite animal (bear) with something else but I couldn’t think of another animal that would combine well with a bear. So I decided to shift my thinking from what would combine well with a bear to what would a bear wear that would be funny/interesting. My mind shot to “jet pack”, but jet packs don’t have a strong silhouette, so I used a rocket as a second-order approximation of a jet pack.
For the logo design, I wanted to use logos from my favorite podcast right now, Hello Internet. Logos and flag design just so happen to be a recurring theme on the podcast, so I wanted to combine the “HI” and “nail and gear” logos from the Hello Internet brand portfolio. One fan’s Hello internet flag design (shown below) inspired me to think of the nail and gear as separate components; and “nail and gear” sounds quite similar to the “hammer and sickle” of the USSR’s flag. I figured if I chose sticker colors that matched the USSR flag’s colors, then the Hello Internet to USSR link would be more easily established.
For the multi-layered design, I wanted to have something that was linked to UIUC. Last semester I started going out to some of the bars on campus more frequently, so I decided to combine the logos of different UIUC bars that actually have interesting logos (so no Legends or KAMS). The Red Lion’s lion was the most prominent logo I could think of, so I decided to use that lion as the core of the sticker. The rest of the bars would be represented by items that were worn by the lion as necklaces, hats, or shirts.
I made the griffin design during my INFO 490 lab section by taking two silhouettes of a bear and a rocket and combining their paths with the union operation in Inkscape…not much work for that.
For the logo design, I took the fan’s Hello Internet flag and used the Color Trace method to break apart the flag into 3 components: the black background, the silver gear, and the white nail. Then I rotated the gear and duplicated/skewed the nail until I had a figure that looked like the USSR hammer and sickle, grouped the components together, and combined their paths with the union operation. Then all I had to do was Color Trace to extract the “HI” logo and rearrange the HI and hammer-and-sickle to fit within a 4×4 inch area.
For the multi-layer design, I took images I found online for the logos of the bars Red Lion, Murphy’s and Firehaus (gone but not forgotten), along with an image of a fireman’s helmet, and used the Color Trace method to extract the shapes that I wanted. The lion of Red Lion is very complex and the Inkscape object for that lion initially had hundreds of nodes, so I had to spend around 10 minutes deleting certain nodes to simplify the figure that would eventually be sent to the Silhouette printer.
Printing Out The Final Stickers & Reflection
The griffin sticker and logo sticker were straightforward to print out and compose using the transfer tape. But the multi-layered sticker was a different story…
The Silhouette printer cut out the intricate designs of the lion and the small letters of “Murphy’s Pub” on the vinyl stickers just fine. But after the vinyl was cut, the excess vinyl had to be removed…and the small size of the cuts (the lion itself was a little less that 4×4 inches) meant that it was difficult to remove the excess vinyl around and inside the lion and the shamrock. Tweezers helped a little bit, but I could not remove the vinyl for the “Murphy’s Pub” text without destroying the shamrock or remove the vinyl for some of the interior of the Red Lion lion without horribly managing the rest of the figure. So I decided to abandon the “Murphy’s Pub” text and the small holes on the inside of the lion and instead just keep the silhouette of the shamrock and the outermost figure of the lion for my final sticker.
Even with that last-minute switch to using simpler shapes, I believe my design is still successful in fulfilling its goal of combining UIUC bars together. Yesterday when I showed my friend my final sticker yesterday, he immediately recognized the lion as Red Lion, the clover as Murphy’s, and the fireman’s logo as Firehaus. But I learned the hard way that even if a design can be displayed on a computer screen well, the design has to be tempered down so that it is feasible to produce in the physical world.
All and all, I’m happy with how my stickers turned out. I think I’ll put the logo sticker on the back of my laptop and put the multi-layered sticker in my friend’s apartment 😛