Modeling question - which side of the line?

Discussion in 'Aircraft & Aviation' started by Wily, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. Wily

    Wily Member

    Curious - Even though the lines are no wider than a thick hair...what side of the line do you cut? The inside or the outside?
  2. uglyguy9

    uglyguy9 Member

    good question....
    some you cut inside....some outside...and others ON the line.
    i usually try to cut inside the black......then do a few test fits and change as nescessary
  3. Tim Crowe

    Tim Crowe Member

    Some models you get a fine line, others you get a line which look like it's been drawn in crayon by a myopic three year old.

    Either way I find it's more easy to trim off any excess than add it back on.
  4. pahorace

    pahorace Member

    Hi Wily,
    I always adhered to advice given by Dr. E. Zarkov in the instructions of its models:
    ...Try to follow the middle of the outlines during the cutting of the parts.

  5. Dragos

    Dragos Active Member

    I prefer to cut the outline because if the piece is too big it's easy to repair it by cutting the innerline. In the other situation if the piece too small then I have a big problem.
  6. That's exactly what I do aswell. If you cut outline you never cut the piece too small, and it can always be reapired if it's too big. :mrgreen:
  7. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    A Proposal: No Lines!

    Where to cut on an outline is an old and vexing problem with card models.

    I would like to propose a solution: NO outlines.

    Instead, I propose the use of EDGES.

    With an EDGE there is no question of "where do I cut". You just cut along the edge. Intuitive. No confusion. The part ends up the size intended by the designer. No visual defects on the finished model.

    With an edge you have only two colors to deal with: the color of the part, and the color of the paper.

    The fundamental problem with an outline is that it introduces a THIRD COLOR into the situation - the color of the part, the color of the paper, and a black field between the two. If the line is heavy enough to see clearly, it's probably wider than the cutting path of the knife. This leads to the whole can of worms about cutting inside/outside/down the center of the line.

    Cutting on the outside of the outline is the intuitive choice, because we usually consider an outline to be part of the object, not the edge of the space surrounding the object. But cutting along the outside of the outline can result in black lines on the finished model, significantly detracting from the model's appearance.

    Cutting on the inside of the outline is counter-intuitive, but at least it eliminates black lines on the model. The problem is, I suspect most designers consider the black line to be the outer edge of the part, not the outer edge of the space around the part. So cutting off the line potentially means reducing the size of the part by at least one pixel (depending on line thickness) in every dimension, e.g. a part will end up at least two pixels narrower. Depending on printing resolution, two pixels could exceed a paper width. The cumulative effect of altering the size and shape of all parts in this manner could introduce fit discrepencies across the model.

    Cutting down the middle gets you the worst of both worlds. You potentially reduce the intended size of the parts somewhat, and you get black hairlines on the finished model.

    Why deal with this when there is an easy solution? Eliminate the outline and you eliminate the third color in the middle. The entire thorny issue vanishes. :)

    But what about when the color of the part and the paper are nearly the same? if the contrast is not high, an edge will be hard to see.

    In that situation, a designer can't change the color of the part ... but they CAN change the color of the paper. The simple solution is to surround the part with a different, high-contrast color. Then you still get an edge.

    To save printer ink, it's not necessary that the part be surrounded by an enormous box of color. It could be a field of contrasting color a few mm wide following the countour of the part. If it's just one area of a part that has an unclear edge, just that area of the part can be highlighted by a surrounding high-contrast color.

    In the further name of saving ink, the contrasting color can be some shade of gray, so it only uses black ink (which on many inkjet printers is a second, cheaper cartidge), although any high-contrast color could work. Gray has an advantage in that if a tiny sliver ends up on a part, it will probably be less visible than, say, magenta. Whatever color is used, ideally the same color should be used on all parts of the model requiring this treatment. Having a uniform standard increases intuitivity.

    Below is an example of a piece without outlines, where just one area is surrounded by a contrasting field of grey. As shown, the surrounding field can have a cloud-like faded edge so it's obvious that it's not part of the piece.

    This practice would require a bit more effort on the part of a designer, but the payoff would be elimination of the "where do I cut" dilemma, more consistant fit of parts, and better appearance of the finished model.

    Attached Files:

  8. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 Member

    Art Decko,

    One note here - your idea is great, but may not work with all applications. For instance, the way vector programs work the outline is on either side of the "real" line. Also, most vector programs will not allow you to add texture to a line. There are some real advantages to vector-based work, so I suspect this problem will continue to exist for some time to come. I personally don't worry too much about the black lines. I leave that for the professionals who's work will be seen by a lot more folks!

  9. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    D'oh!! Thanks for pointing that out, Ryan. Maybe not the panacea I had hoped ... I forgot that most designers use vector-based applications for design (I work in bitmap only).

    When I use this practice for my own designs, I add the "highlighting" (which I think of as "edge smoke") at the point where I lay out the parts pages. The edge highlighting is actually part of the graphics, not part of the design (i.e. it's not related to the line itself). My parts actually do have black outlines, but they are covered by the bitmapped skins.

    So now I'm wondering, if a designer uses a vector-based app for design and a graphics app for the graphics, could they still feasibly do this?

    Comments from designers and builders welcomed alike! :)
  10. David H

    David H Member

    It is usually easy to change a line weight / width and colour so as why pick thin black, choose a thicker neutral grey or brown instead!

    Of course those of us, including myself, with tired old eyes might still find it difficult to see the difference between part, edge and carrier sheet. I think we are rapidly entering the realms of medical research and exploring how we see things.

  11. BARX2

    BARX2 Member

    It seems to me that it would be simplest to just design the part to the exact size and instruct the builder to cut off the black outline. If every designer adhered to that rule, this wouldn't be a problem. But as said above, you have to guess where the designer expects you to cut. I try to cut down the center of the line and usually have good results.
  12. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Adopting that standard sounds like it could effectively solve the problem, but it leads me to two basic questions.

    (1) Do most of the applications used by designers allow for creating the black outline on the outside of the part's actual "perimeter"?

    (2) How do you handle it when the part, or areas of it, are dark or black? Then you can't see the line. Is this a problem? The reason I'm ignorant of this elementary matter is because the only card models I've ever built are ones I designed myself, and I personally don't use outlines.
  13. Wily

    Wily Member

    Art Decko, BARX...your clever ideas seem to be leaning towards some sort of "Certification" or "Accepted Standards" of design.

    Considering the variety and number of models floating around, it might be good for model designers and builders to agree on a set of standards.

    Or, if builders want to be militant about it (laughs), a "Cardmodelers Bill of Rights" (appropriate on this 4th of July).

    Personally, I think black-outlines are remedial; often necessary for beginners, but they're like training wheels after a while.

    I wonder what Kampflieger or ModelArt think?

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