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Making Cards for Custom Action Figures

First of all, I'm just telling you what I can remember from the mini-seminar delivered by Gary Weaver II during a recent (3/28/99) toy show in Dallas (Plano).  I don't remember exact brand names but in most cases it shouldn't matter.  I also don't have any pictures or scans, because I've never done this myself.

The main tool required for making good cards for a custom action figure is the photo editing program.  Most use a rather current version of Adobe Photoshop.  My version is 4.0, however, many newer and better versions have come out since, I'm just too broke to get the new stuff (the latest version of Photoshop 5 is recommended).  I don't have time to go through everything you need from here, but if you hop on over to AndyArt: Scream Design to learn all about the photo editor of your choice.

The second most important tool is the scanner.  Resolution doesn't matter on your scanner, because most scanners will do a great job of picking up even the smallest details during a scan.  Scan in your photo at 100% in size.  Most scanners have multiple settings for scanning sizes.  Since saving RAM isn't part of this process you won't need to worry about that labored sound coming from your computer's processor :o)  Aside from the 100% size option, which is done so that it will be the same size when you print it out, you don't need to do anything special.  Proceed by scanning in the card that you want to edit.  After your computer has buzzed for a little while you will be able to load your photo editor and begin your editing.  This will again, consume all freedom you would have had on your computer's RAM.  Save the file and move to step 3...

Thirdly, you need PHOTO PAPER.   This is the most important part of the hardware you will need.  Since most printers today are rather high quality, you only need the paper with which to utilize its maximum capabilities.  I'm not sure what "name" the paper has but it's just like normal paper only with a semi-gloss coat, which may or may not be on just one side.  Depending on how much printer ink you want to waste, set the dpi to about 720.  This is the lowest setting that will print as much detail as any higher setting.  I hope you followed that... and now you can PRINT.

To attach your edited and printed, new card-face, you will need a spray-on adhesive glue.  Don't use too much, 'cause it could cause bleeding (of the ink, YOU are in no danger). Also, make sure the card-face has dried WAY before you try to glue it on the old, unedited card.  Spray on the glue, attach the card, and press firmly all over the card face to make sure that it lays perfectly flat, and without any air pockets, and now you're done!

Some important notes about the card back:

  1. You can also use card-stock or poster board as a backing (HIGHLY recommended).  This will make the attachment of the card-face much easier (see #2)
  2. If using a manufactured card back, you must be careful of the plastic bubble.   One way around this is to scan the card with bubble "remains" and then tear them off.   The only other feasible way is to tear of the bubble, then scan, and rebuild the tear marks left on the card.

Go to DarkMonkE's Custom FSP

The preceding article was contributed by Trip "DarkMonkE" Somers, based on information taught by Gary Weaver II.