Creating your own dial

Discussion in 'Clock Case Restoration and Repair' started by glr1109, Feb 12, 2007.

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  1. glr1109

    glr1109 Registered User

    Jun 2, 2002
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    I've been asked to start this thread from another post "Seth Thomas Dial".
    First plan to spend hours at your computer. For some dials I have spent a few days. It's a lot of detailed work. EYE STRAIN!! I only do this once in a while, usually for the worst cases. When I'm done...if there is an origial dial thats just unsightly I will place the new dial over the old.

    Anyway here's what I do:

    I start by scanning the dial (metal or paper), into the pc.

    http://links.pictures.aol.com/pic?id=c790vWhtskK5E99NOza1XDIc0F1**OiG975F&size=l

    From there I open the file with photo software. I use up to three different programs to achieve what I want. Those are Adobe Photoshop, PhotoStudio(by ArcSoft) and Windows "Paint".
    The first step is to cut/delete everything out side of the dial. If you can draw a circle for selection purposes, you can "cut out the selection and paste it into a new file. You can also use the "magic Wand" and delete that way. Remember to use the zoom features so that you can see what your cutting.

    After I have a new file with just the dial. I turn it into a bit map(Black and white) photo and cut the rest.

    http://links.pictures.aol.com/pic?id=c790vWhtskK5E99NOza1XDIc0D9eNYbPMxUT&size=l

    Then by using tools in photo programs, such as pen, pencil, line...start filling in the numbers. When I do this, I am constantly changing the zoom of the photo to get the greatest detail. Remember to keep saving your file during this procedure especially. Because if your program freezes or something happens...you lose it all! Been there done that!!! I "Save" the file about once every two or three minutes...you can't be too careful with this stuff.

    http://links.pictures.aol.com/pic?id=c790vWhtskK5E99NOza1XDIc0JRThfZhe57J&size=l

    You Should end up with something like this. And this is where the fun begins. Use the "Save as" command and make this your original.

    http://links.pictures.aol.com/pic?id=c790vWhtskK5E99NOza1XDIc0DBcSC3YbO7m&size=l

    By using the "fill or paint bucket option, you can customize the color. On this step you will want to copy your each original dial and use the "Save as" command for each one you do.

    Brown, I used the "eye dropper" tool to pick this color from the original. Didn't like it so...

    http://links.pictures.aol.com/pic?id=c790vWhtskK5E99NOza1XDIc0B4CtU5wiVT2&size=lhttps://mb.nawcc.org/


    Obviously this is not the same dial but you get the idea...I kept experimenting with different colors. I came up with this one which when printed on glossy paper - looks luminesent:

    http://links.pictures.aol.com/pic?id=c790vWhtskK5E99NOza1XDIc0FkuXdHx8jo3&size=l

    Hope this helps out. Any questions please feel free to ask.

    greg








     
  2. Jeff C

    Jeff C Registered User
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    Greg, this is a really interesting process. I have one question, how do you size your touched up photo so when you print it matches the correct size you need to achieve.
     
  3. glr1109

    glr1109 Registered User

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    Don't resize the image...Use the zoom. As long as you are just scanning/copying for the same size dial.

    You can of course resize it for a different dial.
     
  4. Jeff C

    Jeff C Registered User
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    Greg, say I take a picture of a 5" dial then print it out directly its not the same size is it?
     
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  6. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    #6 Jeremy Woodoff, Feb 12, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2011
    Here is a previous post that describes refinishing a silvered dial using a water-slide transfer (decal) made on my computer. The main description is at the end of the second page of the thread.

    https://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?t=12474
     
  7. glr1109

    glr1109 Registered User

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    In my experiance...yes
     
  8. glr1109

    glr1109 Registered User

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    "i.e., do you print these on waterslides or reverse image and use transfers? Can these be printed on laser printers on transfer or waterslide paper? "

    I've never done it...Great idea! Though



    "I assume you clean and resilver the dials using a silvering kit before applying the new dials? Maybe Im wrong, you say about that when a dial is unsightly you place the new over the old."

    I do clean but have not re-silvered. If its a brass one I might polish it, but it really depends on how bad it is.

    Jeremy...anxious to read that thread.
     
  9. Tzmandevil

    Tzmandevil Registered User

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    Greg Instead of deleting everything you don't want, I tend to use a white background and instead delete the stuff I want by selecting the deleting color to the color I want to keep. In Adobe you have a feature called "select similar"; it allows you along with the magic wand to select only the colors that are similar to what you are selecting. So if you select a few of the numbers and markers, "select similar" will grab all that you want to really keep. Then you can copy the selected image and delete the entire sheet and paste the image cleanly back on. it will save you hours of work. The image needs to be decent and it looks like the one you reproduced was. In fact, Adobe might have grabbed a significant amount of the 7 or even all of it.

    The other great tool on Adobe is the Eraser. You can use it both to write and erase by alternating the deleting color from the background and numeral color. Smoothing the numbers is a snap once you get used to it.

    Also from looking at your final image, I notice it was not a smooth as the original, perhaps picking a higher resolution scan would assist in smoothing out the final product. Of course, it takes a lot of memory and processing power to handle it.

    At 1200 dpi I get a file that is nearly 400 MB in size. By the time I clean the image and save it in Adobe Format it comes down to around 3-5 MB.

    Anyway try using the Select Similar along with the Magic Wand feature, I think you will like it.

    Taz
     
  10. KyleG

    KyleG Registered User

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    Greg,

    Can you do a convex dial using this process? Would there be distortion of the finished size due to curvature of the original dial? Obviously the scan would be more difficult.

    Kyle
     
  11. Graham

    Graham Registered User

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    I'm off to see if I can get hold of Adobe Photoshop and then have a good old experiment.
     
  12. Graham

    Graham Registered User

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    OK I'm back, and heres the results of my first attempt to clean up a dirty and stained paper dial on my computer.
    I'm not sure weather I will use it or not. But the process, although long winded was fun to do and very enjoyable.
     

    Attached Files:

  13. Guest

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    If any of you are interested in creating your own dial I have upload some dial fonts that I have created to the public user files area of the message board. I have scanned these files for viruses so I don't believe you should have to worry about downloading them. Click Here To download the file or go to your user area and look in the public area.
     
  14. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    Thanks, Jeff, I'm sure they will be very useful.

    I note that there are no Roman Numeral fonts. Although it might seem that a Roman dial would be easy to make, the place i get stuck is at the curved lines at the tops and bottoms of the numerals. I haven't figured out a way to create those.

    Jeremy
     
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  16. Tzmandevil

    Tzmandevil Registered User

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    I decided to take the original scan that was posted and reproduce it. It took me about 5 minutes to get to this.

    http://members.cox.net/tzmandevil/Fixed.jpg

    I am sure the original was scaled down to the low resolution to post on the forum. With the original scan, assuming it was a higher resolution, I could have capture much more and did it in the same 5 minutes.

    Not doing it to brag, but to show how quickly it can be done using the available tools that Photo Shop has to offer. With the proper use you can cut down your time significantly. I remember my first few dial, they took several hours to clear up.

    Notice I was able to grab all of the numeral 7 that was left, even through all the brown haze. Because the image was converted to a B&W bit map first, you lose the advantage of having a full color scan. The color scan allows you to selectively remove/keep what you want in most cases. In this case the brown was merged with the black and so you lose the 7.

    By the way when I print the final product, I do it on Premium Glossy Photo Paper. I find that it produces the best reproduction.

    Taz

     
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  18. glr1109

    glr1109 Registered User

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    Jeff! Is that a photo of you? I had a much different idea in my head!

    This is so cool. How did you "create" them?

    Greg
     
  19. Graham

    Graham Registered User

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    Hi Nelson,
    Dont forget this could easily be printed onto aged or colored paper. I have some heavy quality paper that has quite an aged look to it (Not brilliant white) this would make the dial look a lot older and I suppose you could always use the old T bag trick, or as Gregg did, add some color to the dial before printing out.

    I think the aged paper would probably look more authentic myself, plus it could always be laminated to give it a durable gloss finish.

    PS A bank of scanned in files sounds good to me :thumb:

    Tzmandevil,
    I have Adobe photshop 7.0 but I cant find this "Select similar" tool that you spoke of (Where is it?) :?| Or am I just being thick.
     
  20. glr1109

    glr1109 Registered User

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    Taz.. Took me a while to figure out what you were refering to - but got it - thanks, cant' tell you how long it to do my way.

    Nelson: Sounds fine to me...actually I had gotten some dials together yesterday to scan. Probably will not get to it until the weekend or next week.

    I think its great how people on this board are so willing to share not only their knowledge, but also their work!

    I've come to the conclusion(from going to chapter mtgs. and regionals that there are two different types of people:

    One who gives you the shirt of their back without asking and One who tears the shirt off your back without asking.
     
  21. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    This topic is very interesting.And of course i thank all you have given so freely of their experience here.
    I would like to make my own custom dial sometime for a clock that has no dial that i want to restore some day.
    Thanks guys and gals.
     
  22. Tzmandevil

    Tzmandevil Registered User

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    Graham,

    On the file menu. Select>>Similar

    Greg,

    I know what you mean, Cut my time so much and the time now can be spent smoothing out portions of the image. Another good thing is to play with the "Tolerance", it shows up on the tool bar when you select the Magic Wand. Drop the number and you can use it to select very difficult contrasts. For instance the 7 might be embedded in a much darker brown; the magic wand might have a hard time just getting the 7 without grabbing some of the noise around it. By dropping the "Tolerance" you can pick less of the area. Takes a little longer, but can assist with very difficult dials.

    Recently, I had a Westclox Baby Ben a customer sent in for me to reproduce. The dial was black with what used to be white numbers which after 80 years turned a very dark brown. Every time I tried to select the numbers, I ended up with much fatter product. So I dropped the "Tolerance" and took my time. Try it, you will see what I mean. It helps a lot when you have very small fonts you are trying to capture.

    Hint: Sometimes the "Tolerance" along with the magic wand might not get what you are trying to get. Again, using the 7 on your dial as an example. You might find trying to select the 7 also ends up selecting a lot of the clutter when you are concentrating on the 7. In which case you drop the "Tolerance" down to 10 - 15 and just work on the 7 alone then use an off color to "capture" it, like a red. Now you can go back to the original color and capture the rest of the dial and convert the red 7 back to black as your final move.

    Another Hint. If you find a dial with the indices missing or what ever, you have one 180 degrees out you can use to replace it. By using Image>Rotate Canvas>Flip Canvas Horizontal then Vertical. You can then copy the image 180 degrees out, then back track your steps to return to the original orientation and paste the marker. For instance, let say the marker at the 1 O' Clock marker is destroyed for some reason. You can use the steps to flip the 7 O' Clock marker into the proper orientation and copy it; using it to recover the 1 O' Clock Marker.

    Even more: Filter>Other>Maximum and Minimum

    Great for thinning and fattening selected portions. You might find portions on your reproduction might be either a little thinner or fatter. You can used these to correct the select portion or even the whole dial.

    Taz




     
  23. Guest

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    Greg,

    Yes that me, got a better photo at www.clockmaker.com
    To be honest it has been a while. I remember I had a software program for designing fonts, couldn't tell you what is was now or how I did it.
     

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