Author Topic: The ultimate guideline tool for dark envelopes !  (Read 1626 times)

Offline sybillevz

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The ultimate guideline tool for dark envelopes !
« on: February 27, 2016, 04:50:11 PM »
Hello everyone !

The people who follow my Instagram have seen that I have begun to use a projector to get guidelines on dark envelopes (if you haven't seen the picture go there : https://www.instagram.com/p/BCP6qpsTKEA/?taken-by=pebbleinthesky )

At first, I wanted to buy a laser to serve as guideline, as many calligraphers already do, but I discovered that I really do a better work when I have the X-height line too... so when I asked my husband if his laser would be able to project 2 parallel lines, he just decided a projector would be a better idea. So we tried, and he was of course right.

The one I have is the Asus P2E, which is a small led projector.
The key features you need to look for in a projector to use for calligraphy :
1- Adjustable keystone : auto and manual adjustment (vertical and - if possible horizontal, I don't have it)
2 - Short focus distance : for me Asus specifies 50cm, it is actually even shorter (approx. 35 cm)
3 - A nice resolution : I have 1280 x 800 and I can see the small pixels on my table (1mm squares).

After that, you may need a projector with a SD slot or USB entry so you don't have to plug it to a computer. The Asus P2B offers that feature and is not much more expensive.

Set up :
I used a gorilla pod  with a ballhead to attach the projector to my computer screen, which is in the left corner of my table. The projector faces down to the table, and I can rotate my screen horizontally to get the perfect angle for the page. The image I am projecting is a guideline generated with the shipbrook webpage.
Set up the projector position first (in the projector's software), in order to have the image rotated like it should be.
Then I put a graph paper page on the table to set up the keystone. The keystone is what will allow you to project straight lines. Auto Keystone does not help me for this, as the angle is not a usual angle for this machine. The lines on the graph paper let me see if the lines I project are straight.
Unfortunately, the machine does not remember the keystone set up from one session to the next, so I have to change it every time.

You will have to play with the machine a little in order to get the image to be projected in a way that you can actually use it. Also, you won't be able to rotate your paper and guidelines together while you write, which can be troublesome for some people. I use the graph paper page to know where my envelope / paper has to be.

This is of course not a cheap tool to get, but it has allowed me to gain a lot of time (I do 3 more envelopes per hour than when I have to draw the guidelines, plus there is no erasing). And you can also use it to set up a home cinema when you don't need it for calligraphy  ;)

I am sure my explanations are not easy to follow, so if you have any question, just ask and I will do my best to answer.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2016, 05:31:27 AM by sybillevz »

Offline Jamie

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Re: The ultimate guideline tool for dark envelopes !
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2016, 04:55:00 PM »
I'd actually though of using a projector for a while, but it always seemed a little out of my budget and I couldn't help but wonder if it would be hard to adjust it to have the x-height of the guidelines.

Offline sybillevz

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Re: The ultimate guideline tool for dark envelopes !
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2016, 05:03:23 PM »
Actually getting the right x-height is the easiest thing : I just zoom in or out of the generated guidelines !
As for the budget, I would only buy the projector if I know it will pay for itself in the end... so if you have customers who often want dark envelopes. Or if you want a big movie screen too...

I find this method more comfortable than using a lightpad : the lines are on the table so my arm can move freely.
And one other thing : it is quite noisy. Less than a big projector (non LED), but still noisy... so I have headphones on when I work.

Offline Erica McPhee

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Re: The ultimate guideline tool for dark envelopes !
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2016, 05:29:19 PM »
That is awesome! Thank you for sharing!  :)
Truly, Erica
Lettering/Design Artist, Homeopath, Photographer, Mom, Wife
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Offline Tasmith

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Re: The ultimate guideline tool for dark envelopes !
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2016, 10:58:23 AM »
Thank you for sharing!  I hate drawing guidelines as they take so much time to write and erase.  Plus I've had problems with the ink smearing when erasing the guidelines >:(.

Offline tintenfuchs

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Re: The ultimate guideline tool for dark envelopes !
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2016, 02:01:39 AM »
Very clever (albeit too expensive for me)! Could you share a photo of the setup?
Natascha
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Offline sybillevz

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Re: The ultimate guideline tool for dark envelopes !
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2016, 03:22:40 AM »
Here is a photo of my setup :
The projector is in the top left corner, attached to the big screen.

(my husband is ashamed of all the mess I'm posting so keep this to yourself  ;))

Offline sybillevz

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Re: The ultimate guideline tool for dark envelopes !
« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2016, 03:41:15 AM »
As for the price of this thing, it is really quite an expensive tool. But if you have a lot of dark envelopes to do it will allow you to go faster... We had to buy it for my husband's job anyway so it is really nice to be able to use it for this too.
For a pro calligrapher who has to work mostly on envelopes I would say it is a nice tool to invest in.
And if I had 3000 black envelopes to do, I would buy it without even thinking about it...

If you have the opportunity to try it out I definitely reccomend it !

Offline jeanwilson

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Re: The ultimate guideline tool for dark envelopes !
« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2016, 09:48:47 AM »
Very clever (albeit too expensive for me)! Could you share a photo of the setup?

don't feel bad that you can't afford this wonderful tool. Sheila Waters tells of her early instruction when students were not allowed to use two lines for lettering after a certain point. i do not recall how early in the course they had to give up the second line (x-height), but it was fairly early.

students were required to learn how to make proper x-height by sight. you have to learn all the widths by using your eyes, so there is no reason that you can't learn heights after you have mastered the widths.

if you are churning out a lot of envelopes and can afford a tool that gives both guidelines, it will be a wonderful help. i don't have anything against helpful tools. (there is a woman who attends IAMPETH with a pair of magnifying glasses that are way out of my price range...sure, i'd like to have them. but the $10 drug store glasses are just fine)

those of you who cannot afford laser tools or even a light table - do not feel that you are in any way limited. you can train your eyes maintain perfect distances - just as the old masters did. and then if there is a power outage, you can keep working by candle light.

and, once again, here is the link to my 50-cent tool that is a perfect substitute for guidelines. although, it is only the base line.
http://pushingtheenvelopes.blogspot.com/search/label/Jean-O-Matic

i need to post another picture that shows my clever attachment that makes it even easier to space the lines.

again - i am not against the new tools - i only re-post this perspective to remind people that they are in no way limited by not having the new tools.

Offline sybillevz

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Re: The ultimate guideline tool for dark envelopes !
« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2016, 11:09:09 AM »
Thank you Jean, as usual you give wonderful advice !
I saw in Sheila Waters' book that she pushes people to work with only the baseline and tried that... but I'm not good at it (yet) : my letters go bigger and bigger. So I still feel the need to rely on both lines. I don't need the slant lines anymore though, which is quite nice.
I will keep practicing and hopefully one day won't need this tool...

Offline jeanwilson

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Re: The ultimate guideline tool for dark envelopes !
« Reply #10 on: February 29, 2016, 11:35:21 AM »
Thank you Jean, as usual you give wonderful advice !
I saw in Sheila Waters' book that she pushes people to work with only the baseline and tried that... but I'm not good at it (yet) : my letters go bigger and bigger. So I still feel the need to rely on both lines. I don't need the slant lines anymore though, which is quite nice.
I will keep practicing and hopefully one day won't need this tool...

i'm so glad you posted that you no longer need slant lines.
that is validation that if you work on details, you can reach your goals.
you can't expect to reach all the goals at the same time.
now that you have slant embedded in your hand-eye-brain
you can work on the other elements
x-height might be the next goal you reach
this is not rocket science or high wire walking
it is making very small motions right in front of our nose...

thank you for posting

Offline Emilyrose

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Re: The ultimate guideline tool for dark envelopes !
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2018, 01:52:09 PM »
I am intrigued by this idea.  I did a search on Amazon and there are a few LED projectors available for $45-70.  I'd be willing to spend that amount to give this a try.  I know nothing about projectors though. I can't find anything about a "keystone" in these listings, although it does appear that a short image distance is possible. Is there any reason a cheaper projector like this one wouldn't work for this setup?
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N8RBGPH/ref=sspa_dk_detail_4?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B01N8RBGPH&pd_rd_wg=JPJR0&pd_rd_r=BN4XV15E15AJY70ECSHQ&pd_rd_w=j0PXg

Offline sybillevz

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Re: The ultimate guideline tool for dark envelopes !
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2018, 08:14:56 AM »
Frankly, I don't think any of these pico projectors would do the trick.
Keystone is the function that allows you to get parallel and perpendicular lines to align correctly. If the projector is not right in front of the image, the image is warped and you need the keystone function to adjust it.
The way I set things up, the projector is approximately at my head's hight and the image is projected down on the table. This gives a trapezoid shape to the image and the guidelines are not accurately displayed.
I would also advise to use a projector that has a nice resolution (which is not the case of pico projectors) : because you'll be near the projected image, the pixels need to be as small as possible to be able to use the guidelines...
You could try and find a used led projector on eBay to get a cheaper alternative ?

Offline Emilyrose

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Re: The ultimate guideline tool for dark envelopes !
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2018, 11:15:30 PM »
Thanks,  Sybille!  I appreciate your expert opinion.  As I said, I have no knowledge whatsoever about projectors, so I had no idea what to look for.  I'll save my $50 towards a better quality option.  :)