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Wall Illusion: Easy Forced-Perspective Wall Art (Without Using a Projector)

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Picture of Wall Illusion:  Easy Forced-Perspective Wall Art (Without Using a Projector)
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Overview:

Using only a cheap digital camera, some masking tape, and Illustration or Photo-Editing software, you can make some amazingly-handsome Trompe-l'oeil/Forced Perspective wall-art (yes... very much like that awesome parking garage that everyone on earth forwarded you). Your friends and neighbors will be astounded by your cleverness.


Viewed from the proper angle, the illusion of a 2-dimensional "flat" image is presented, but viewed from the side you will see the gross distortions that make the "proper" angle possible.
Note of Thanks: This Instructable was influenced greatly by--and wouldn't have been possible without--the help I received from this thread on AskMetaFilter. There are some smart and creative folks there who can really help a guy out with a project. (If you can wade through the questions about recipes, pets, or relationships, you'll find some absolute gems.) Thanks guys; awesome input.
 
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Step 1: Tools and Materials Required

Picture of Tools and Materials Required

Required:

  • a Blank wall meeting at a corner
  • a Vector or very-high-resolution raster image or logo (here's one source I like... there are hundreds more)
  • a Digital Camera - I used a cheap, old 6 Mp Canon, but I suspect you could get good results with even a 3 Mp camera. Much lower than that, and you might have problems.
  • Drawing or Photo Editing Software - (I used Illustrator and Photoshop CS2, and provide instructions for these packages, but there are several other Free and Non-Free software packages that would work just as well).
  • a Measuring Device
  • Masking Tape (Must be a visibly different color than your wall).
  • a Printer or other output device. - You can Rasterbate your image, or have it done fairly inexpensively at a print shop. I'm not big on Kinkos, but they can do it pretty cheap -- (<$5)
  • a Utility or X-Acto knife

Optional:

  • a Spirit Level
  • a Second Color of Masking Tape
  • a ladder or step-stool
  • a Second Set of Hands (makes the ceiling bit a lot easier... but far from a requirement).
  • a Protractor or Combination Square
  • Sandpaper (for surface prep)
  • a Vinyl Plotter (or make a friend in a sign shop. Completely optional -- looks great printed, too.)
  • Cleaning Solvents (for surface prep). I used a mild soap and then rubbing alcohol

Step 2: Pick Your Wall, Pick Your Image

Picture of Pick Your Wall, Pick Your Image
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SELECT YOUR WALL:
You want to pick a place where two (or preferably three) surfaces meet. I picked the dreary and ugly corner pictured below. Some considerations to take into account when picking your wall:

  • Does it have a clear line of sight to where you want the illusion "focused"? (Even the coolest image in the world isn't going to "pop" unless you have a good place to view it from. Pick a place that's far enough away [4m+] from where you'll be viewing it.)
  • Does it have enough room for the image? (the most appealing illusions are going to be rather LARGE... the bigger the better. Does the wall have enough room to accommodate the scale of the image?)
  • Will mounting the image be a problem? (Is the wall rough or stippled, or will it present any impediments to the specific mounting-method you are going to employ? How high up is it? Do you have a ladder?)

SELECT YOUR IMAGE:
I worked with a single-color image. This makes printing costs quite a bit more reasonable and the contrast makes it "pop" more. I bet some cool effects could be accomplished by using images other than linework... but it's going to make it more complicated. Try to limit yourself to fewer (ideally "one") color to save some headache... (or, hell, go all-out... I'd be excited to see what you can come up with if you pull it off). Some considerations to take into account when picking your image:

  • Can you get it in vector format? (Not a requirement for the project, but it makes things quite a bit easier.)
  • If you're not working with Vector, is the image's resolution sufficient to blow it up to the size you want? (Not going to go too far into this in this instructable, but there's probably an internet forum out there who could help you if you're unsure about what constitutes "big enough".) It's to your tastes and your quality-standards, ultimately. I wouldn't make something of anything close to this size without a 2000px raster image, minimum. Your mileage may vary. Additionally: There are many ways to vectorize raster graphics... Poke around for an instructable if you're interested. Some methods produce great results, some not-so-great; and some are easier than others.
  • Will this image look cool in forced perspective? (Personally, I like how geometric images come together in forced perspective, but I've seen some awesome organic shapes, as well. Typography would look nice; high-contrast looks nice... Give some thought to finding the perfect image; there's tons of 'em out there).

I ended up going with the following logo. I found it on Wikipedia where it is available as an SVG (vector) file on the image's download page. It's also public-domain, which I'm very thankful for... I wouldn't want to be the target of Abahlali BaseMjondolo's high-powered ivy-league lawyers.

Step 3: Where Will You "Focus" the Illusion?

Picture of Where Will You

[The schematic above is overly-detailed and is presented here for illustrative purposes only. You need not make it -- or even be able to read it -- to complete this instructable.]

Hopefully, your finished wall-hanging is going to look interesting from any angle, but there's only gonna be one spot in the entire room -- and by this I mean one spot on both the X/Y axis, AND the Z (height from floor) axis -- where this image "pops" and appears flat. It's important to give some thought to where you want the "viewing spot" to be.

At the very least, pick a place where people's eyes can physically BE... not many people are going to be standing on top of your refrigerator, so why make the focus there? Try to pick a place where people's eyes are likely to linger. Maybe at "seated-in-a-chair height" in the spot where guests are likely to be seated? Maybe at "average-standing-human-eye height" from where guests pause immediately after closing your front door behind them? Pick a place that suits your specific application and one that's going to look killer to you and the people likely to be viewing it.

Step 4: Measure and Tape Your Walls

Picture of Measure and Tape Your Walls
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OVERVIEW:
In this step we're going to measure out three rectangles of known sizes, and make rectangles of masking tape of exactly these sizes -- one on each of our three surfaces. It is important to note that the purpose of making these tape rectangles is to provide contrast for the photo you will shortly be taking. That being said, it is important to select a tape color that provides good visual contrast with your wall.

SELECT SIZE OF RECTANGLES:
The size of the rectangles you select is, ultimately, an arbitrary decision -- but it will be influenced by:

  • Size of your printer/output device (I was going to output to 24" wide vinyl... so I made my rectangles just a shade under 24")
  • Size and proportions of your image/logo (My image was a circle. So my 3 rectangles are roughly the same size. If your logo has an eccentric shape, or is markedly off-center, you might want to make one/some of the rectangles larger or smaller.)

For my project, I selected rectangles of 22" x 22", 22" x 24", and 18" x 18". Yours will probably be different. I chose slightly differing dimensions so that they would be visually distinct from one another (so that the edges would be staggered). This helped out quite a bit, and I would recommend doing this.

MEASURE AND MARK THE RECTANGLES ON THE WALL:
Use a pencil and measure out the rectangles by marking the correct distance from each wall. If you have a combination square or a spirit level, these might help to double-check your measurements. I'm not saying that you have to have it exactly right down to the millimeter, but the more accurate you are at this stage the more accurate the transformation will be. So, why not spend a little extra time on this step and get it as close as you can?

TAPE THE PERIMETER OF EACH RECTANGLE:
You're looking to make a "box" of masking tape for each of the three rectangles. Look at the picture of the finished boxes to help you out if you're having a hard time visualizing it.

Remember: Keep those taped lines level/plumb and keep your angles square! I've worked for years as a signmaker, so my visual sense of "level" is pretty (preternaturally) accurate... if you're having doubts about your ability to do it visually, it might be time to whip out the spirit level/combo square again at this point.

Lastly: take your X-Acto knife and trim away the excess tape leaving something close to perfectly square corners.

PROVIDE A CONTRASTING COLOR WHERE THE BLUE RECTANGLES TOUCH ONE-ANOTHER:
I mentioned that we're gonna be photographing this, right? So, unless you want to drive yourself crazy staring at pixels in your image-editor and trying to decide where one blue shape stops and the next one begins, we should provide a visual "break" between the two boxes.

I used colored electricians tape. In the final analysis, I wouldn't recommend this. The tape was fussy and difficult to work with. If you have an alternate color of masking tape, use that to define the edges. Or use a thin bead of paint, or a marker, or stickers, or whatever you'd like, but in summary:

Wherever one blue rectangle touches another blue rectangle on a different wall, provide a high-contrast visual break between the two.

Step 5: Your Taped Wall Should Now Look Something Like This

Picture of Your Taped Wall Should Now Look Something Like This
This is something like what you should be seeing at this point. Focus less on "making it look exactly like this" and more on "making it do the same thing." Your version doesn't have to be blue, be outlined boxes, be the same size, be as high-up... none of that. The only things that matter are that you have rectangles of known size that have crisp edges that contrast from the wall, and are visually distinct from each other.

Clarifying note about the picture:The "crosshair" pattern I put in the center of each one is not at all necessary. I did it because I thought it might be helpful. It was of no help or hindrance. I'd advise omitting them just to save yourself the hassle.

Step 6: Photograph the Taped Wall From the EXACT Spot You Picked to be the Illusion's "Focus"

Picture of Photograph the Taped Wall From the EXACT Spot You Picked to be the Illusion's

This Step Could Not Be More Critical:

Photograph your recently-taped wall. You should take great care to remember a couple of things:
  • PUT THE CAMERA LENS WHERE THE VIEWERS' EYES WILL BE -- Not "a little to the left", not "pretty close to", and definitely not "a couple inches above or below". We're already dealing with some distortion from the wide-angle lens... but that's not all that destructive, all-told. Now, if you cock-up this step and go for "roundabouts" where the viewers eyes are; that will hurt and possibly ruin the final effect. Pardon my shouting, but it's just that essential: IF YOU ARE IN THE "VIEWING POSITION" AND YOU ARE HOLDING THE CAMERA IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE, THEN THE LENS IS NOT WHERE THE VIEWERS' EYES WILL BE.
  • Keep the taped rectangles in the center of the frame, and keep it as close to vertical as possible -- Using a point-and-shoot camera with a wide-angle lens means distortion creeps into consideration. There's less distortion in the middle of the lens. We're going to be rotating the picture in our image editing program, but try to keep it vertical, just so you have less to rotate.
  • Take a sharp picture -- I'm no kind of "good photographer", but this particular project doesn't really require one. We want a SHARP, contrast-y picture with no blurring. How do we do this? I'm sure a more skilled photographer could give better recommendations (feel free to make suggestions), but I just lit the hell out of it, kept a very steady hand, and shot on ISO 400. Remember: a sharper image at this stage means less headache and guesswork in your image editor.

Step 7: Set Up the Photo Using Drawing/Image Editing Software

Picture of Set Up the Photo Using Drawing/Image Editing Software
ROTATE IMAGE TO VERTICAL, AND SHARPEN, IF NECESSARY:
Once your image is in your chosen software package, rotate the photo so that the vertical edge between the two wall squares is truly vertical. You can use a guideline as a reference and rotate it by hand, or any other method that suits you. In Photoshop you can use the "Ruler" tool to trace over the edge and then go to Image>Rotate Canvas>Arbitrary. The correct rotation value should already be entered in.

Feel free to sharpen the image using your preferred method. I'm not even going to open the can of worms that is "how best to sharpen images". Your image might not need it at all. Photoshop's (much maligned) "Sharpen" or "Sharpen More" filters might be useful in this instance for the first time in Photoshop history.

INSERT YOUR LOGO/ARTWORK INTO THE IMAGE, AND RESIZE IT SO THAT IT JUST FITS WITHIN THE OUTSIDE BORDERS OF THE THREE RECTANGLES:
Throw your artwork into the photo. Scale it so that it's a good fit for the outside borders of the rectangles. Take a look at this image to familiarize yourself.

Step 8: Outline the Taped Boxes in Your Preferred Software

Picture of Outline the Taped Boxes in Your Preferred Software
Remember how I was real big on "Creating Contrast Between the Boxes"? Here's where it pays off. Create a box around each of the 3 individual boxes in your software package. Use a different color for each to keep 'em distinct and organized.


Step 9: Create "Cut" Lines Along the Edges Where Walls Meet

Picture of Create
You're going to make what will become "Cut" lines along each of the edges... in this case radiating out from the center like spokes on a wheel.

Step 10: Split Your Artwork Into Three Pieces Along Cutlines

Picture of Split Your Artwork Into Three Pieces Along Cutlines
I'm afraid that I can't really make this into a Photoshop/Illustrator tutorial without watering it down or going off-topic too much, so I'll not go much farther than telling what needs to be done and suggesting a way to do it. There are any number of PS/ILL tutorials on the web that would do a far, far better job of "bringing someone up to speed" than I could. That said, here are some back-of-the-napkin suggestions for how this would play out.

There are hundreds of ways to do this in each program... the following examples are just one of many.

ILLUSTRATOR:
Put the cutlines and the Logo/Artwork on the same layer, with the cutlines on top. Select the cutlines and then Object>Path>Divide Objects Below. In addition to cutting along the "seams", this will also cut each panel into two parts (meaning we will want to then rejoin them). Rejoin them by selecting the two parts and Alt+Clicking on Pathfinder's "Add to Shape Area".

PHOTOSHOP:
Ctrl+click on the layer containing the outline of a specific box to select the area of that box. Then select the layer containing the logo/artwork. Copy, and paste to new layer. Repeat for the other two boxes.

Again... I'm sure there are many better ways to do this. These are suggestions only. I was trying to keep it simple so as to make it accessible to the most people.

Step 11: Group Each Wedge With Its Corresponding Outline Box

Picture of Group Each Wedge With Its Corresponding Outline Box

Step 12: Create Boxes With ACTUAL Dimensions in Your Software of Choice

Picture of Create Boxes With ACTUAL Dimensions in Your Software of Choice
If this has you confused, please don't be. It's simpler than it sounds. Here is what we're doing, conceptually:

We're making a box of the "real" dimensions. By "real" dimensions I mean: Remember when you measured and taped that box on the wall? That's what we just made in Illustrator. In my example, the box was W22" x H24".

Once we've created this box, we'll insert the traced boundary box and the "slice" of the artwork that we created in the last step.

In the next step we will transform it to the dimensions of the "real" rectangle.

Step 13: Transform/Distort Traced Rectangle to Match "Real" Rectangle

Picture of Transform/Distort Traced Rectangle to Match
Simple as that. The tools you're looking for are "Free Transform" in Photoshop, or "Free Distort"/"Free Transform" in Illustrator.

Make the "traced" parallelogram match up with the "real-dimensions rectangle".

Step 14: Distort All Three Panels to Match Their "Real" Rectangles

Picture of Distort All Three Panels to Match Their
You'll end up with some funky shapes. Here is how my three shapes ended up:

Step 15: Print a "Mock-up", (or Print the Real-Deal)

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I took these three shapes and had 'em printed off as a mock-up for the vinyl I was planning on cutting. If your end-product is going to be printed, then I guess this is your final step. You'll want to do a more attractive and subtle job of taping/mounting, to be sure.

Step 16: Prep Your Walls for Mounting

Picture of Prep Your Walls for Mounting
You're already done if your goal was to print... but if you're going to use vinyl, you've got a tricky install ahead of you.

If you've never laid vinyl before, this is a potentially risky project to learn on, and I wouldn't advise it. If you've done it before (or are just feeling adventurous) a sign shop would probably charge you $30-$50 for this cut vinyl. (It'd only COST them around $3 [actually, closer to $6] of course... so you have a lot of room to haggle).

You'll want to prep your walls with a mild soap, and then use some rubbing alcohol as a degreaser so that the vinyl will stick better... but if your ceiling is anything like mine, you have a bigger problem: Those goddamn bumpy textured-ceiling paint nubs.

Some course-grit sandpaper will take care of it... but it is a miserable, horrible job. I hate sanding, period, even without sanding crumbly, dusty material directly over my head.

Solution:

Con someone else into doing the job. Invite someone over under utterly false (and seemingly fun) pretenses and spring it on them before they realize how miserable the job is. For bonus points tell her she should dress nice.

Step 17: Apply Vinyl and Finish Up

Picture of Apply Vinyl and Finish Up
I mentioned in an earlier step that this is probably not the project with which you'll want to learn vinyl application. The skill of applying vinyl comes in handy for a range of art-related and fabrication-related tasks, and by itself is not altogether that complicated -- it's just sticking a sticker on something, after all -- it's a skill that you can absolutely pick up quickly... but I'd start slower and build up to something like this. The three surfaces (esp. the ceiling), small fault-tolerances in mating the edges, and the cramped quarters make an expensive mistake very likely for the first-timer.

I hope I haven't scared you off from trying it sometime, though... The moderate difficulty in laying vinyl under the constraints imposed by this project is the exception, not the rule. If you're interested, there are Instructables that cover vinyl install. Here's one, for instance.

Step 18: Summary, and The Road Ahead...

Picture of Summary, and The Road Ahead...
This was a very satisfying project for me, personally... I'll be taking the things I learned from this project, and applying them to many others.

I'm currently kicking around in my head a way to use this method to attack a project that uses quite a few more surfaces and several more "planes" of interaction. Here's a mock-up of the next forced-perspective project. I'll let you know how it goes, and post an Instructable if I find a method that works well.

I'd love to help you with your forced-perspective wall-art... so feel free to ask any questions you may have, or to ask for clarification on any sections I may have left unclear. Many thanks, and good luck on this and all your other projects. - jjijj
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AyushiJ3 months ago

Hello , nice work.. Am currently trying something on forced perspective.. i dont understand how u measured the initial rectangles?? how is it possible to know size of the rectangle before projecting it??

jjijj (author)  AyushiJ3 months ago
>> how is it possible to know size of the rectangle before projecting it??

Are you talking about the blue taped rectangles?  I measured them when I put them up -- or more accurately, I taped them to match measurements that I had chosen.

If you're asking how I arrived at those particular measurements -- I was outputting to 24" wide vinyl, so I constrained the max width to that measurement.

If you're trying to decide on the sizes that your rectangles should be, I'd suggest the following:

(tl;dr: "Make a good guess. Err on the side of "too big".)

01.) Start with the initial picture you'll be working from (the one taken at the "viewer's eye" level). 
02.) Then overlay onto that image the art you will be projecting (the red logo, in this example) in either Illustrator or Photoshop or Gimp or Inkscape.
03.) Scale and move the overlay image until you like how it looks, and then just make the best educated guess as to the dimensions that would fit that. 

You'll have opportunity to re-check your work (by taking another photo) after you tape the rectangles, so the only penalty for failure on this estimation is a little bit of wasted effort.  Even if you mess up, you''ll be able to dial it in quickly in your second attempt.

If you find yourself in doubt, just err on the size of "making the tape rectangles a little bit too large".

Let me know how it works for you.
AyushiJ3 months ago

what if it isn't a corner and a surface held at different angles and at different distances? With projector the job will be easy . but i dont want to project the image and paint it on wall directly but i need it as a soft-copy image .. Help me out..

jjijj (author)  AyushiJ3 months ago
Help me understand what you mean by a "soft-copy image" ?
randomray1 year ago
Okay , this is cool I'm going to have to try it . But , unlike many/most people here I do have an overhead projector .
Spindoctor6 years ago
nice project! But wouldn't all that be much easier using an overhead projector? Of course, it's a hard job drawing all the lines by hand and the question remains where you get an overhead projector from. But especially for the project you mention in the last step, I would go for the overhead projector instead of playing arround with photoshop. If you look at the surface of the door I can hardly imagine you get it the way you want using photoshop...
jjijj (author)  Spindoctor6 years ago
You hit the nail on the head with that one... well said.

If you read the Instructable itself, or any of the many slide- and overhead-projector-related comments below, you'll see just how much I wish I could've used a projector. Sadly, I could not.

I live in a very small country, Caspiar, that has been suffering from several economic and political hardships for quite some time. We are admirers of the culture and people of the United States, but very few Americans have heard of our struggles (which is understandable... we are a very small country).

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, not one new slide- or overhead-projector has been imported into my country. Now, we keep the ones we have as nice as we possibly can -- our tradesmen are miracle-workers in fixing and salvaging them -- but it is a sad fact that we lose many of them each year, and none can be replaced.

The ugly irony is that the handful of overhead projectors that remain in my country are all in the homes of the exact same oligarchs and politicians who are most responsible for the shortages! We have a saying here... "When Ivalyo Pavlovich [Tonev, the Prime minister of Caspiar] gives up his projector!" -- This means that whatever it is you are talking about will never happen!

On the black market a projector like the one you speak of, even in a very bad state of disrepair would cost 5, or maybe 6 months of my salary. As much as I would like to have it, it is simply not a possibility for me.

So I made this instructable to work around my limitations. Where there is a will, there is a way! Cheers

hehe, took me some time finding out where Caspiar is, as I don't live in America either ;-) My country is nearly as small as Caspiar, but fortunately overhead projectors are not THAT hard to get. And even if they were, I think I could get the parts needed to build one (I'm sure there's an instructable of how to build an overhead projector). I'm glad you could at least get vinyl. (By the way - yea, I should have read the other postings before writing a posting myself...)
jjijj (author)  Spindoctor6 years ago
(don't worry about it, friend... If reading dozens of comments before feeling entitled to post was a requirement, we'd all be in trouble. No harm done.)
If i can save up the money, i would like to sent you guys some stuff. Do you guys live on the European side, or the Asian side of the former USSR? I may have family near you that could pass the stuff off to you guys.
jjijj (author)  natman34004 years ago
Caspiar is actually both on the European and Asian sides. Sounds strange, but it's true.

And your offer is a very generous one, and it speaks to your kind heart. But we are a very proud people and we can't accept charity... even from the kind-hearted.
We have no projectors here in Islandia, either, so your instructable was very well received. (Like you, we have computers and digital cameras, just no projectors). Good job!
jjijj (author)  emerson.john4 years ago
Aren't sanctions a pain? I'd love to come visit you in Islandia... but they just canceled the last direct flight outta Caspiar. Now we're stuck trying to make connecting flights through the stupid Aeroflot hub in Voronezh. Nothing against the people of Voronezh, but their airport sucks, the layovers are horrendous, and unless you like Cinnabon, you just ain't getting fed. That's no way to travel.
haha, you gotta love aeroflot... but all honesty, this is even a good 'ible for me, just because i am too lazy to get a projector and draw it all out. id much rather sit on a computer doing the exact same thing!
jjijj (author)  jjijj6 years ago
(Before anyone starts organizing relief packages of projectors to Caspiar...)

There is no shortage of projectors 'round here. The choice to not use a projector was very much intentional.
Projecting on a wall and tracing is a perfectly legitimate and effective method to create this effect... but I wanted to output to vector, which a projector can't do.

If you want to output to vector (printer/plotter), or simply do not have access to a projector... then this instructable was designed for you.
NO_PROJECTORS01.jpg
crazyg jjijj4 years ago
going for the hardcore method is good 80s graphic design style,especilly sorting out the viewing point with methods noted in art history lectures(recomend hacked photoshop 6 for bending images) but isnt a projectors lense its vector origin? was going to post a pic of my used once nobo plastic ohp but the fake iphone has a unforgivably bad camera and its managed to crash my laptop once today.becides youve allready posted a pic of prjkta
jjijj (author)  crazyg4 years ago
I'm not sure regarding "vector origin", but if I'm understanding you right, then, yeah. Problem is, to plot or cut vinyl, I needed vector output (as in EPS file).  Which is next-to-impossible (or at best "a huge hassle") to do with only projectors.
MjPadfoot jjijj5 years ago
and this reply just so totally made my day.
can i suggest moving to a different place? say.. the US for example?
Szajba4 years ago
made my day :)
MaXoR4 years ago
I'm a little confused..... I understand you are getting a lot of comments on "use a projector", and most are simply saying it as an "easier" way to get this effect up on a wall. You have made other great points on the VERSATILITY of your method, and that helps a bit.


What I don't understand is why in one post, you stated how hard projectors were to get, and then the very same day, only a few hours later, posted how projectors aren't hard to come by "round here".... I guess you were just being flippant again.

I could see that green star picture is a basic overlay, however.....whoever said photoshop would have problems with that, obviously has NO CLUE how to use photoshop, and it's features. I do designs like that (not needing to print them after however) for people online, as I'm a graphic designer. I like your ible, it's really a neat idea, and easy to carry out in photoshop.

Oh, one more question.... why wouldn't you just use vanashing point to modify the angle of your cuts? It saves time over using the transform method you talked about. If you ever want to talk, or ask a question, just PM me here, I use CS5 adobe products, and CS4 is where I have the most experience, but they are similar in their operation, and methods.

Have a great day!
jjijj (author)  MaXoR4 years ago
Apologies for the confusion. Yes, I was joking about projectors being hard to get. I don't live in Caspiar, and I own many projectors. I was being flippant -- perhaps too much so.

I agree that Photoshop alone would be more than sufficient to complete this instructable. (As would Illustrator alone, or Gimp alone for that matter). I used Illustrator because I was exporting to EPS (though, come to think of it, I'm sure that there's a documented or undocumented way for Photoshop to export to eps as well... I was just going with what I knew). There are many ways to work with this concept -- some, no doubt, quite a bit more clever than what I have come up with... I'm excited to see how people customize this.

I'm not understanding how I'd use a vanishing point (is this a tool in an Adobe product?) on this project, but if you have a second, tell me about it. Thanks.
MaXoR jjijj4 years ago
Yeah, vanishing point is a plug-in in the filter menu of photoshop. It basically lets you draw a perspective square, then simply drag and drop your selected layer into the "perspective square" you drew. It automatically modifies the angle of the picture to make it look and fit the square. Once you get the hang of it, you can do it quickly, and since vanishing point is only used for this one thing, it does it well if you're accurate.
MaXoR MaXoR4 years ago
Lol, that chair looks really comfy too....
big-jamie4 years ago
this question is gonna be one of two things, either relevant to almost everyone, or stupid...but...

since i only have a normal A4 printer, does that mean my design has to fit on, and so be no bigger than an A4 sized rectangle ?
jjijj (author)  big-jamie4 years ago
Not a stupid question.

Short answer is "no, you're not limited to the size of a single A4 sheet" (for those in the U.S. -- this is roughly the size of a sheet of "letter" paper.  A little shorter, and a little fatter). Even if you wanted to do everything in-house with your printer (and without tiling), your max size would be (roughly) a triangle made of three tiled sheets of A4 (all meeting at one corner, as in the picture in Step 4). I'd not limit yourself in this way, though. Your options are several, but here are the two cheapest and least resource-intensive:

1.) Send this job out. Kinkos (a discount print shop here in the states, or your country's equivalent) will print in larger format for you for fairly cheap. If it's black and white, you can print up to, like, 24"x26" for a couple bucks here.

2.) If you absolutely MUST print this off at home, and you want to go bigger, you're looking at doing what's called "tiled printing". A popular (free, simple) web resource for doing this is called "Rasterbator". I'm sure there are many more out there. I haven't done tiled printing very often, but perhaps someone more knowledgeable than I could give some options.
big-jamie jjijj4 years ago
thank you so much for your reply, i havent had any time to myself recently to attempt this, but ive been keeping an eye out for overhead projectors to watch films on, on a blank wall in my house, so if i get that i reckon i'd just do it that way.
You can have it be printed on multiple sheets, and tape them together, or you could go to the library and have it on a flashdrive and print each sheet for like 10 cents on big sheets. or your could always downscale it.
blanchae4 years ago
Nice instructable and most excellent inside joke, Andy would be proud! I have a spare projector or two, where in Caspiar can I send the projectors to?
jjijj (author)  blanchae4 years ago
It'd never get past customs. They've trained dogs to detect projectors by scent. Some call it dictatorial or cruel -- but those of us in the rank-and-file just shrug our shoulders and say "what can we do?"

Many thanks for the offer, though... I just don't want to get either of us in any trouble.
-bdk-4 years ago
Very nice. For more, check out Felice Varini's works: http://www.varini.org/02indc/indgen.html Some of them are just Huge (those made in urban spaces, I think those were made using lasers: http://bit.ly/bJ3wxT )
jjijj (author)  -bdk-4 years ago
Definitely cool. Looks awesome. I'd love to do something at that scale. I like the minimalist look with this technique, as well.
headphoned5 years ago
This is a cool way to attack this project, but simply attaching a cut-out to a bright light (think shadow puppets) and putting the lamp at the focal point pointed toward the corner would do the trick as well, I think.
jjijj (author)  headphoned5 years ago
That is the most brilliant idea I have ever heard and I can not believe that nobody has ever made a million similar comments in the discussion of this instructable and you are a genius and thank you for pointing this out!

I will not suffer this abomination in my house for even one more day. TOMORROW I am going to tear this off of my wall and re-do it according to your specifications. One question, though: how does the "cut-out and bright light" method get the eps files to my vinyl plotter? Should I, like, project it, then paint it, and then photograph it, and then orthorectify it, and then convert it to eps, and then cut the vinyl, and then paint over it with white, and then lay the vinyl over where I painted over where I originally painted it? That seems like the easiest way.

It'd be kind of like a fusion of my original idea and your helpful suggestion. Basically, I'd just use the cut-out and the bright light like you suggest... paint it, paint over it to "start fresh", and then I could just follow the steps of the instructable above, starting at the beginning? Yes?

I feel so, so good about this!
Bad Maxx jjijj4 years ago
Wow, seriously not cool.... headphoned was simply suggesting an alternative method he or she thought might work. And you, instead of following the BE NICE POLICY that makes this such a great website, APPARENTLY felt the need to ridicule and attempt to embarrass him or her? There is simply no need for sarcasm, a simple explanation of why it would not work would have been sufficient.
jjijj (author)  Bad Maxx4 years ago
Wasn't my intent to embarrass. Playfully chide, cajole, admonish, sure... but not to embarrass or berate. My apologies that I came off this way.

And for the record: Headphoned's method absolutely would work.  The question is not one of working or not working; but instead one of "why would anyone suggest using a projector in an instructable entitled 'DO X WITHOUT USING A PROJECTOR.' "?

Lest the blame for this fall on Headphoned's shoulders, I'll cop to the fact that I must've communicated something poorly, because there've been a dozen or so folks in the comments suggesting that I use a projector.  It started out as "Huh? Why would they suggest this?" but by the sixth or seventh one, I thought it was pretty hilarious and just went with it.  It was supposed to be playfully chiding; if it sounded at all mean or nasty or community-negating, then I apologize.
Thanks for helping the rest of us continue to feel comfortable posting here, instead of thinking that we have to be experts to write a comment.
 I thought i was sarcastic but, wow, i recognize a master at work. :-)
pollano jjijj5 years ago
I think that this is a great idea, but i think that the projection wont be that good as if you do it with a real projector. If you don't have a projector, another thing you could do is printing your image and make some little holes in each corner of your image, and then project that spots with the help of a laser in to the wall.
now I need to find a logo worthy to do this with! given ya 4.0 vote
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