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Project: Logo Decaled onto a Rotated and Angled Jar

We’ll apply a logo as a transparent decal to a rotated and angled jar in four easy steps:

  1. Placing and locking the surface image

  2. Defining the target surface area

  3. Applying the distorted decal

  4. Making the decal transparent

Mapping a Vector Logo to a Rotated and Angled Jar

REV has decided to debut its energy drink at a big graphic design conference this year. In addition to complimentary bottles of its drink, the company would also like to give away branded promotional items. Because pens, mouse pads, and private label hot sauce have become cliché, REV asked us to come up with some alternate ideas for tchotchke. After examining REV’s target market (20-, 30- and 40-something professional creatives), making our lists, and consulting with several manufacturers of branded promotional items, we’ve come up with a few ideas to present to REV, which we want to do in context.

The first item is a jar of snacks. Working from a photo the manufacturer provided, we’ll add the full-color REV logo to the jar so that the client can see what the finished silk-screened or label-affixed item might look like.

STEP 1: Placing and Locking the Surface Image

First, let’s get the jar in place.

  1. Begin a new document 11x8.5 inches in RGB color mode. Title it Decal-Jar.

  2. Choose File > Place and select the Jar of Treats.psd file; make sure Link is checked.

  3. When you have the jar positioned to roughly the center of the artboard, lock its position with (Cmd-2) [Ctrl+2].

STEP 2: Defining the Target Surface Area

Notice how the jar is both rotated and angled? It’s a good photo for getting a sense of the size and depth of the jar, but it means we can’t use a straight-on decal. Not to worry, though; it’s just a simple matter of moving the decal into the third dimension.

  1. Look closely at the jar and try to identify the four corners of the flat surface on the dominant face. Starting with one corner, use the Pen tool to draw a shape that defines the target face (see Figure 3.1).

  2. Figure 3.1

    FIGURE 3.1 The target surface shape, representing the area into which the logo must be decaled.

  3. Fill the shape with a solid, contrasting color to assist in drawing. The colors you use are irrelevant to the final work; this shape will disappear momentarily.

  4. Use the Direct Selection tool to refine the position of the corner points if needed.

STEP 3: Applying the Distorted Decal

Now to apply the logo as the decal.

  1. After deselecting the shape we created in step 2 (just click away from it with the Selection tool, place the REV logo from the Logo.ai file.

  2. Position the logo roughly centered on the target surface shape. The logo should be larger than the target surface shape.

  3. Open the Links palette (Window > Links), and look for the Logo.ai entry. Select the entry, and, from the Links palette’s flyout menu, choose Embed Image.

  4. Now send the REV logo behind the target surface shape but still in front of the jar photo. The easiest way to accomplish this is by selecting the logo with the Selection tool and either choosing Object > Arrange > Send Backward or simply using the Cmd-[ (Ctrl+[) keyboard shortcut.

  5. With the Selection tool still active, Shift-click on the target surface shape to select both it and the logo.

  6. From the Object menu, select Envelope Distort > Make with Top Object. Your drawing should now look like mine (see Figure 3.2), with the logo distorted and scaled such that it looks as if we’ve merely photographed a jar with the logo already imprinted on it.

Figure 3.2

FIGURE 3.2 Envelope distortion matches the decal to the shape and perspective of the target surface.

STEP 4: Making the Decal Transparent

If we wanted an opaque label such as what we’d get from silk-screening directly onto the jar, we’d stop there. For this particular tchotchke, however, I think we want a transparent vinyl decal.

  1. Open the Transparency palette from Window > Transparency. The logo envelope should still be selected.

  2. From the Blending Mode drop-down (it probably says Normal), choose Hard Light. Voilà! Instant translucent decal (see Figure 3.3).

Figure 3.3

FIGURE 3.3 A Hard Light blending mode turns an opaque decal into translucent vinyl.

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