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Best bang for the buck is M.R. Clipart's vehicle templates. They're less than $100. Best way to get it right, however, is with a digital camera.
I quit using templates after using both Precision Vehicle Outlines and M.R, Clipart and rarely finding they had the measurements correct. Using a digital photo, properly scaled up, allows much more design freedom and complete accuracy.
I bought a cd collection of templates. '92 to '02 and to be honest, i never used it. I always use pictures taken from my dig. camera.
I shoot at a 90 degree angle and take a reference measurement. For sides ill measure the door crease. for the rear i usually measure the license plate moulding. Once the sketch is done what i do is make a rectangle where i measured, overtop of the photo. Then size up everything (minus the photo) to where my rectangle matches the size i measured and thats what all the graphics are produced at.
Im with you guys, I too use a digital camera, and to be honest this is the best sales tool ever. Of course ill scale everthing, but now is when i can do a better and best scenerio, and take printed pics to the customers location and close the deal. May be a lil more work in the beginning, but for us small sign shops this is an edge up on the Kinkos comin to town....lol
1. Take your photos from as perpendicular a position as possible.
2. Take a reference measurement and write it down for each shot. The bigger the better. I usually measure from the door to the taillight on the sides and from taillight to taillight on the rear.
3. Bring photo into PhotoShop or Corel PhotoPaint and rotate it to a level position. Photoshop has a measuring tool that captures the angle once taken and you then execute a Rotate Canvas command using the Arbitrary setting. Save the photo with a new name.
4. Bring the new photo into your signmaking / design software. Draw a box where you took your reference measurement. Select the box and enter your reference measurement making note of the percentage of the resizing. Cancel the size change. Select All and do a proportional resize by percentage using the figure you just noted.
You now have the vehicle in your sign making software at full size and level. You should be accurate with this method to within 1/2" overall.
I am with Kirk as far as the cameras used for doing this type of work, because as I stated earlier, I am tracking allthis info for a friend who is into this sort of work, simply because I have a full size color plotter in my home office. Seems like I have a knack for getting into these sort of situations. However I will give him your web site address and he can do the rest. The camera technique seems to be the way to go , but still how much does this photoshop and corel photopaint software cost? I do'nt know how computer literate my friend is or what his financial picture looks like. Sounds like he better get his check book ready though. I must say that your site is excellent for people doing this type of work.
The Corel Suite is about $350. Photoshop isn't necessarily needed just for this need and is more money. CorelSuite includes PhotoPaint along with CorelDRAW and lots of good quality fonts and clipart.
The benefit of using a digital camera is that you have the actual vehicle and will be able to see things that a template will not include ... and, if you can scale the photo up accurately, you know it will be correct. The disadvantage is the vehicle has to be available to be photographed.