A few weeks ago I posted a tutorial on custom waterslide decals. The tutorial showed how to apply the decals, but not how to make them. Making the decals can sometimes be the most annoying step, especially without the right software. I use a combination of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, but those who have them know that they are not cheap. So I decided to look for the best free imaging software(s) out there.
First things first is to define the two types of imaging software, Raster and Vector. Raster graphics (ie Adobe Photoshop) are resolution dependent. They cannot scale up to an arbitrary resolution without loss of apparent quality. Vector graphics (ie Adobe Illustrator) is the use of geometrical primitives such as points, lines, curves, and shapes or polygon(s), which are all based on mathematical equations, to represent images in computer graphics.
The major advantage of vector graphics is the ability to enlarge or shrink an image without losing quality. However, vector images aren’t as easy to find, and sometimes have to be created by the user. A great place to get vector logos is brandsoftheworld.com
I actually use a little bit of a combination of both. If I cannot find or create a vector image, I will open a raster image in Illustrator and scale it down to size. Unlike Photoshop, Illustrator isn’t changing the actual image dimensions, just scaling them, preserving resolution.
But what if you don’t have Photoshop or Illustrator? I posted this question over HERE at joecustoms.com
They recommended a software called GIMP for Raster graphics and Inkscape for Vector graphics. Although I’ve downloaded both softwares, I haven’t had a chance to use them yet. If anyone out there has, I’d love to hear what you have to say about them.