Date   

Re: Decals offered on Ebay by dkmtech

Tony Thompson
 

Dennis Storzek wrote:

 

I can't disagree with that... as first industrial designers, then advertising agencies became more involved with creating the "image" for any specific railroad, they borrowed heavily from what they knew best; printer's type, as it applied to headlines and advertising copy. There were some problems, though. Printer's type is designed (and designed again, and again...) for easy reading on the printed page, which is typically vertical format. Railroad cars are nothing if not horizontal, and require very extended letterforms to properly fill the space with a pleasing composition. So, the designers ended up re-drawing established typefaces to better fill the space.


      This last statement is true for passenger cars but not for freight cars. in fact, most railroad lettering, if examined carefully, is narrowed or compressed (called "condensed"), relative to most standard font characters. This is especially visible in numerals.

Kerning was built into the old loose printers type, and it is built into the code that generates the images in a modern computer font. There is not much use for kerning with railroad car lettering; only so many words were expected to be assembled from the standard letters, and those were defined on drawings of specific stencils. Without the kerning rules, railroad lettering is a collection of charaters, not a font.

       Not sure I understand the point here. Certainly with individual characters in metal type, the characters could be set "tight," that is, butted together horizontally, but could also receive spaces between words and even letters if need be. That was how you got justified line widths. A digital font can readily be adjusted in kerning. But for neither kind of font is it true that kerning rules are an essential part of the story. And for railroad stencils, the draftsman making up the drawing used his own judgement as to spacing, and "visually kerned" the characters to look "right." That isn't constant kerning, nor is any good typesetting. Anyone who has set headlines knows you have to visually work with each letter pair to get the overall "right" look. Railroad lettering drawings are no different.

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705         www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history





Re: Decals offered on Ebay by dkmtech

Steve Caple <stevecaple@...>
 

"Schuyler Larrabee" angus502001 <mailto:schuyler.larrabee@...?subject=Re%3A%20Decals%20offered%20on%20Ebay%20by%20dkmtech> wrote:

"I have created artwork for ERIE LACKAWANNA decals working from almost straight-on photos, using proportion. Somewhat cumbersome but in doing so I found that on one series of EL cars, the two N’s were not the same width. Pacific Car & Foundry erred in cutting the stencil. This was later verified in the field. However, finding this out at 3:30 AM under a great deal of pressure was rather disconcerting!!!"

Ouch!


"Working with not-perfectly-straight-on photos to develop art work for lettering has been done for years."

I know about skew tools, and have straightened images with them. Is the clean up done in a bitmap editor? If so, are the bitmaps eventually converted to vector images for sharpness sake?

Steve


Re: AB-1B brake valve

Dennis Storzek
 

Never seen one from any parts supplier. Given that many of the manufacturers can;t even agree on the basic size of the valve, just pick one that looks somewhat different from what you normally use.

Dennis Storzek


AB-1B brake valve

Tom Madden
 

Has anyone offered an HO version of a Westinghouse AB-1B brake valve? It's essentially an AB valve with a selector valve assembly added to the face of the center portion (pipe bracket section) and a filler/stretcher/spacer added between the pipe bracket and emergency sections of the valve. Probably not something worth worrying about given the number of excellent AB valve models available and the small size of such a detail, but I thought I'd ask....


Tom Madden


DKMTECH decals

Andy Carlson
 

This confirms my suspicion that the decals are being digitally printed-offering everything in multiple scales indicates to me the likelihood. "Typeset" was a puzzler.
   
Who would of thought that there would be new offerings made with ALPS technology? White cartridges are soon to have production cease in 2016. ALPS white cartridges contain only 1/2 the length of ribbon as their regular colors do. What happens next?
thanks,
-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA


Jim Kink wrote:
 
I have purchased a few sets of S scale decals offered by DKMTECH and will buy more.  They are good quality ALPS but, as expected, not as opaque as other printing methods.  We in S are thankful for any decals of decent quality since there are so few sources.
 
Jim King
(828) 777-5619
www.smokymountainmodelworks.com
 



Re: Decals offered on Ebay by dkmtech

Greg Martin
 

When you are using a side view of a freight car to make decals you need to remember that the lens of the camera that took the photo is convex-ed and there is a slight distortion in the final product, it stretches the lettering... The best approach is to use lettering diagrams and both if you have them.
 
With regards to this companies decals I would guess that buying them would be the best solution for critiquing them. I have emailed him for a list of decals and I will go from there.
 
Greg Martin  
 
Eventually all things merge into one and a river runs through it.
Norman Maclean
 

In a message dated 12/1/2015 7:21:35 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, STMFC@... writes:

I have created artwork for ERIE LACKAWANNA decals working from almost straight-on photos, using proportion.  Somewhat cumbersome but in doing so I found that on one series of EL cars, the two N’s were not the same width.  Pacific Car & Foundry erred in cutting the stencil.  This was later verified in the field.  However, finding this out at 3:30 AM under a great deal of pressure was rather disconcerting!!!

Working with not-perfectly-straight-on photos to develop art work for lettering has been done for years.

And could we ban the word “font” from this discussion?  There are only a very few railroads that truly used fonts for lettering, and I believe most of the cases where this was true, an advertising firm or graphic designer was involved.

Schuyler


DKMTECH decals

Jim King
 

I have purchased a few sets of S scale decals offered by DKMTECH and will buy more.  They are good quality ALPS but, as expected, not as opaque as other printing methods.  We in S are thankful for any decals of decent quality since there are so few sources.

 

Jim King

(828) 777-5619

www.smokymountainmodelworks.com

 


Re: Decals offered on Ebay by dkmtech

Dennis Storzek
 




---In STMFC@..., <sarahsan@...> wrote :

Schuyler,

Banning the word "font" is like getting rid of "roofwalk". It probably ain't gonna happen. :~)

I believe we could consider the C&O's late 1950s Futura Bold to be a font. Isn't this also what the UP used? I also think the Broadway ("Zephyr") family of lettering used by the CB&Q, WP and others for passenger equipment was a font. It certainly seemed to have been based on an existing lettering. But you are right; these designs were probably developed or adapted by an advertising agency for their railroad clients. After our period this probably became more common as railroads sought to modernize their images.
===============

I can't disagree with that... as first industrial designers, then advertising agencies became more involved with creating the "image" for any specific railroad, they borrowed heavily from what they knew best; printer's type, as it applied to headlines and advertising copy. There were some problems, though. Printer's type is designed (and designed again, and again...) for easy reading on the printed page, which is typically vertical format. Railroad cars are nothing if not horizontal, and require very extended letterforms to properly fill the space with a pleasing composition. So, the designers ended up re-drawing established typefaces to better fill the space.

Back to fonts. There is more, much more, to a font than just the letters. A big part of the appearance of the font is the spacing of the letters, called kerning. With most modern fonts this is proportional to the width and bulk of each letter, with special rules for certain pairs of letters that otherwise look odd when next to each other, such as AV. Kerning was built into the old loose printers type, and it is built into the code that generates the images in a modern computer font. There is not much use for kerning with railroad car lettering; only so many words were expected to be assembled from the standard letters, and those were defined on drawings of specific stencils. Without the kerning rules, railroad lettering is a collection of charaters, not a font.

Dennis Storzek


Re: My perfect clinic

mikefrommontanan
 

Took a quick look at dkmtech's offerings and it appears that "typeset" is just a clumsy way of saying that it's new artwork, vs copying existing sets from other manufacturers.  His note:

        Note: Decals are typeset and are not copies or scans,results are more accurate than the old decals they replace."

I certainly find it rather interesting that many would assume that the vendor is talking about letterpress (relief) printing just from the phrase "typeset" but that particular usage has been pretty much obsolete since the arrival of desktop publishing.   It is possible that he is printing from relief plates via the letterpress process (oh semantics!), which Champ did for almost all of it's production except at the very end.

Michael Seitz
Missoula MT
 
(who has a Linotype machine in his garage)


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Re: Decals offered on Ebay by dkmtech

Bruce Smith
 

Steve,

Last item first, for the PRR, there is no “good font match” or type match either.  As Tony noted, many railroads, and the PRR is one, used lettering tracings.  Not only that at least on the PRR there were specific tracings for each SIZE of lettering… and they are NOT the same!  

As for working from photos, there are many straight on on nearly straight on photos of both freight cars and locomotives, so that is really not a problem,

Regards

Bruce


Bruce F. Smith            

Auburn, AL

https://www5.vetmed.auburn.edu/~smithbf/

"Some days you are the bug, some days you are the windshield."



On Dec 1, 2015, at 1:57 PM, STMFC@... wrote:

"he appears to actually be using Fonts and actually brags
about this somehow being superior to copying lettering
directly from photos of cars"

If the font is the correct one the car builder used, why
not? Since very few dead straight on shots of lettering seem
probable, what about the distortion introduced due to
parallax errors in even the best decals mastered by this
process?   I wouldn't discount the decal maker just because
he found a good font match.




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Posted by: Steve Caple <stevecaple@...>
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Re: Decals offered on Ebay by dkmtech

Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>
 

Schuyler,

Banning the word "font" is like getting rid of "roofwalk". It probably ain't gonna happen. :~)

I believe we could consider the C&O's late 1950s Futura Bold to be a font. Isn't this also what the UP used? I also think the Broadway ("Zephyr") family of lettering used by the CB&Q, WP and others for passenger equipment was a font. It certainly seemed to have been based on an existing lettering. But you are right; these designs were probably developed or adapted by an advertising agency for their railroad clients. After our period this probably became more common as railroads sought to modernize their images.

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff


On 12/1/15 10:21 PM, 'Schuyler Larrabee' schuyler.larrabee@... [STMFC] wrote:
 

I have created artwork for ERIE LACKAWANNA decals working from almost straight-on photos, using proportion.  Somewhat cumbersome but in doing so I found that on one series of EL cars, the two N’s were not the same width.  Pacific Car & Foundry erred in cutting the stencil.  This was later verified in the field.  However, finding this out at 3:30 AM under a great deal of pressure was rather disconcerting!!!

 

Working with not-perfectly-straight-on photos to develop art work for lettering has been done for years.

 

And could we ban the word “font” from this discussion?  There are only a very few railroads that truly used fonts for lettering, and I believe most of the cases where this was true, an advertising firm or graphic designer was involved.

 

Schuyler

 


Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Decals offered on Ebay by dkmtech

 

  On 12/1/2015 11:57 AM, Steve Caple stevecaple@... [STMFC] wrote:

Since very few dead straight on shots of lettering seem 
probable, what about the distortion introduced due to 
parallax errors in even the best decals mastered by this 
process?


    I was in a clinic once (Ted's I think)  He used a good photo, and some type of software to straighten out angles.  He then went to hand work and fix problems in the photo of the lettering, and then made the masters for the decal artwork.


-- 
Jon Miller
For me time stopped in 1941
Digitrax  Chief/Zephyr systems, JMRI User
NMRA Life member #2623
Member SFRH&MS



Looking for a single circular Braun 35mm European slide tray

Andy Carlson
 

Hi,
As my title asks, I am looking to purchase a single Braun European 100 slide carousel tray for 35mm slides. I have folks giving me dozens of Kodak carousels, but not a single Braun! I need it to scan 100s of freight car slides for C.B.for my dedicated slide scanner.

I appreciate any help, and can be contacted off-list at
Thanks,
-Andy Carlson
Ojai CA


Re: Decals offered on Ebay by dkmtech

Dennis Storzek
 

This discussion is conflating two distinct steps in the printing process. Decals can, and have, been printed by letterpress, offset, and silk screen printing. Each has advantages and disadvantages, but none specifically involves "typesetting." I am somewhat familiar with the process, because the plates used for pad transfer printing are similar to the others.

No one has tried to print decals with loose type for at least the last fifty years, if ever. Among other problems, loose type is simply not available in small sizes... 6 point, the accepted minimum for the "fine print" in legal documents, scales out to about 5" letters in HO scale, way too big for any of our capacity or dimensional data.

All these processes instead make use of photo-etched printing plates, except for the newest offset, where direct to plate image-setting is available. Photo-etching requires a film, either positive or negative, depending on the process the plate will be used for, to mask the photo-resist that forms the image on the plate. The real question is where does the master art to make this film come from.

Back in antiquity, at the end of the last century, the film was made by reducing the master art with a graphics camera. The original was hand drawn several times oversize. Often "typesetting" of standard fonts was incorporated for the smallest lettering to save time. Typesetting was expensive for small runs, and specifying the letter and line spacing cumbersome; it was possible, but it was often easier and definitely cheaper to take what was delivered, wax it, and cut it apart and paste it up spaced as needed.

It was, and is, entirely possible to do all the lettering from hand drawn masters. A good friend of mine, Ken Soroos, the gentleman responsible for many, many limited run cars available from the Soo line Historical & Technical Society, photographed enough lettering on Soo Line cars that he eventually built full character sets for each size and style that road used on its cars by projecting the images on paper. tracing the characters, and photocopying them multiple times to get the required reduction. It was extremely labor intensive, but the end result was well worth the effort. Most commercial concerns hand drew the larger lettering, and used standard typesetting, often Clarendon or Craw Modern, for the "Railroad Roman" dimensional data.

Desktop publishing has allowed most of this work to be done on the computer, and output direct to film. I retired our "stat camera" back in the nineties, and haven't looked back. Laser photo image-setting yields crisp images at a resolution of 2540 DPI, well beyond what even the vaunted ALPS printer can do. This easily allows 1 point type for re-pack stencils, etc.

The real question is, how is this gentleman generating his artwork?

Dennis Storzek


Re: Decals offered on Ebay by dkmtech

Tim O'Connor
 


I agree "font" is almost always inappropriate unless we're talking about computer graphics being
used to create decals. I think some railroad lettering borrowed real "type faces" which were in most
cases themselves patented designs. I'm thinking of the CB&Q, Rock Island, maybe SP (station signs)?
Probably others too.

Tim O'


From: "'Schuyler Larrabee' schuyler.larrabee@... [STMFC]"


I have created artwork for ERIE LACKAWANNA decals working from almost straight-on photos, using proportion.  Somewhat cumbersome but in doing so I found that on one series of EL cars, the two N’s were not the same width.  Pacific Car & Foundry erred in cutting the stencil.  This was later verified in the field.  However, finding this out at 3:30 AM under a great deal of pressure was rather disconcerting!!!

 

Working with not-perfectly-straight-on photos to develop art work for lettering has been done for years.

 

And could we ban the word “font” from this discussion?  There are only a very few railroads that truly used fonts for lettering, and I believe most of the cases where this was true, an advertising firm or graphic designer was involved.

 

Schuyler

 


Re: Decals offered on Ebay by dkmtech

Schuyler Larrabee
 

I have created artwork for ERIE LACKAWANNA decals working from almost straight-on photos, using proportion.  Somewhat cumbersome but in doing so I found that on one series of EL cars, the two N’s were not the same width.  Pacific Car & Foundry erred in cutting the stencil.  This was later verified in the field.  However, finding this out at 3:30 AM under a great deal of pressure was rather disconcerting!!!

 

Working with not-perfectly-straight-on photos to develop art work for lettering has been done for years.

 

And could we ban the word “font” from this discussion?  There are only a very few railroads that truly used fonts for lettering, and I believe most of the cases where this was true, an advertising firm or graphic designer was involved.

 

Schuyler

 


Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Decals offered on Ebay by dkmtech

 

  On 12/1/2015 11:57 AM, Steve Caple stevecaple@... [STMFC] wrote:

Since very few dead straight on shots of lettering seem 
probable, what about the distortion introduced due to 
parallax errors in even the best decals mastered by this 
process?


    I was in a clinic once (Ted's I think)  He used a good photo, and some type of software to straighten out angles.  He then went to hand work and fix problems in the photo of the lettering, and then made the masters for the decal artwork.


-- 
Jon Miller
For me time stopped in 1941
Digitrax  Chief/Zephyr systems, JMRI User
NMRA Life member #2623
Member SFRH&MS


Re: Decals offered on Ebay by dkmtech

Jon Miller
 

On 12/1/2015 11:57 AM, Steve Caple stevecaple@... [STMFC] wrote:
Since very few dead straight on shots of lettering seem 
probable, what about the distortion introduced due to 
parallax errors in even the best decals mastered by this 
process?

    I was in a clinic once (Ted's I think)  He used a good photo, and some type of software to straighten out angles.  He then went to hand work and fix problems in the photo of the lettering, and then made the masters for the decal artwork.
-- 
Jon Miller
For me time stopped in 1941
Digitrax  Chief/Zephyr systems, JMRI User
NMRA Life member #2623
Member SFRH&MS


Re: Decals offered on Ebay by dkmtech

Tony Thompson
 

Steve Caple wrote:

 

If the font is the correct one the car builder used, why
not? Since very few dead straight on shots of lettering seem
probable, what about the distortion introduced due to
parallax errors in even the best decals mastered by this
process? I wouldn't discount the decal maker just because
he found a good font match.


     Steve, you are right, but your "IF" is a really big "IF." In the period of this list, nearly all railroad lettering was designed in the drafting room, not chosen from a font, and why not? You had to make up stencils from large drawings, larger than any metal type, so you might as well just draw it in the first place. Now there was, in fact, a "recommended" set of characters from MCB, but few if any railroads actually used it. I know of none. And the MCB font is definitely NOT the "Railroad Roman" of song and legend.

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705         www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history





Re: Decals offered on Ebay by dkmtech

Tony Thompson
 

Tim O'Connor wrote:

 
From my correspondence with Rich I learned about "letterpress" printing.
Both silkscreen and letterpress start with artwork -- NOT lead type.

    Ah yes, but the ARTWORK may be a metal type proof. A number of the older Champ sets (from before Rich's time) were made that way. And when someone says "typeset" nowadays, they may mean that the ARTWORK was made from metal type fonts, or they may mean from digital font files (though I would maintain that the second usage is at best misleading). Whether metal type was used to apply ink to decal paper directly, I don't know.
     The real bottom line, for me, is that in the era of this list, type fonts are most unlikely to be correct for freight car lettering. In some subsequent times and for particular railroads, yes, but for us, no. Artwork made from actual car photos can be superb, or not very crisp. Depends on the care and skill of the person preparing the artwork -- it's not automatically better or worse. I've done this kind of artwork (you may know my SP tank car decal set) and am pretty familiar with what is involved.

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705         www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history





Re: Decals offered on Ebay by dkmtech

Tim O'Connor
 

Tony

From my correspondence with Rich I learned about "letterpress" printing.

Both silkscreen and letterpress start with artwork -- NOT lead type.

Silkcreen artwork is photographed, and from that a mask (or masks for multi color) are made to etch the
screen. The limitation of the detail is determined by the fineness of the screen and the properties
of the ink.

Letterpress artwork is using to make an engraving (or engravings for multi color) and the level of detail is
limited by the printing method of pressure applied to the decal paper etc.

each method has its virtues and limitations. The big drawback of letterpress is the thickness of the decal.
but for some people this is a virtue! :-)

Many of Rich Meyer's (Champ) sets were highly accurate. Dick Harley feels that his PFE lettering was
not 100% perfect and Rick Leach found fault with his NP lettering, but it's not because Rich used the
wrong "type face" -- he just missed some nuances of the lettering. I had to stare for a while at Champ
vs Leach NP decals before I could detect anything different with the Champ letters.

I know for a fact that George Bishop used commercial lettering dry transfers for some of his artwork
for Accucals -- in particular Futura Demi Bold for Conrail -- which is not 100% correct! Once he laid out
the artwork he would photograph it with an overhead setup and from that, silkscreen masks were made.
Later on he did all of the art work on a computer -- but that was after he'd stopped making Accucals
himself and had them printed by Microscale.

So anyway I remain mystified by "type set" decals and what that really means -- especially since it
sounds like he prints them on demand!

Tim O'Connor




From: "Tony Thompson tony@... [STMFC]"
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Tuesday, December 1, 2015 2:01:31 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Decals offered on Ebay by dkmtech



Tim O'C. wrote:

 
what is a "typeset" decal? i thought i'd heard about all the different methods of making decals
but that's a new one. any idea?

   Surely you remember Champ? and the intriguing but usually wrong "Railroad Roman" font?

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705         www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history








Re: My perfect clinic

O Fenton Wells
 

No but in my opinion it might be classified as the perfect clinic
Fenton

--
Fenton Wells
5 Newberry Lane
Pinehurst NC 28374
910-420-1144
srrfan1401@...