October 9, 2011

Up way too late....

....working on Halloween "stuff".  Originally I thought we were going to miss out on the Halloween party and having trick-o-treaters because I was scheduled for the surgery right at the end of October.  Now that it's been pushed back a week it's game on!

While I'm not a huge Halloween nut, for some reason I'm getting into the idea of putting together a costume this year.  Carolyn wanted to try to have "matching" outfits and I was planning on going as my favorite Left 4 Dead character.....Francis.  His costume is simple enough.  I really just need tatt sleeves and an old biker jacket that I can rip the sleeves off of.  The best I can do is find the perfect jacket...for $70.  I don't mind spending some money on a costume, I just don't want to spend lots on stuff I won't wear/use again.  This is why I just switched to my favorite Left 4 Dead II character...Ellis.  Carolyn is going to go as Zoey, which fits since Ellis kind of has the hots for her.

I'll blog about the costume build as I go along.  Tonight I was working on one of the props: Pills.

Left 4 Dead pill jar
In both Left 4 Dead games, there are pills you can carry that give you a temporary health boost.  The jars are relatively huge so they look good on screen.  I found some decently cheap Acetaminophen jars containing 500 caplets of 500 mg pills.  While I could try to use them as-is, I had the inclination to try and make more "authentic" props.  I found one person's attempt to make a copy of the label online, but it wasn't large enough and I wanted something a bit better.  If I could do a good job, I want to....if I cannot, well my best will have to do.  I knew I could do a good job, which is why I stayed up to 3 AM on a (now) Sunday working on this thing.
Somebody else's attempt

If you didn't know it already, sometimes I get a little obsessive about a project and simply cannot fathom stepping away for a breather, like food or sleep.  If my work sucks, then it is easy to walk away.  Not so easy to fall asleep, but that's my own demon.

I started with taking the old label off of the jar and scanning it into the computer.  For the most part I only used this scan to take measurements from.  I like to crop part of the picture, see what the dimensions are in pixels, and then undo the crop.  Then I can take and make what I need to from those measurements.  A quick trip online to help me identify the font, and some additional research rounded things out for me.  I wanted to make the product look real enough given the constraints I have from the source material, but I also wanted it to be very fake.  I threw in a couple Easter eggs, so to speak.  One is the name of the drug itself.  Look it up if it doesn't spring to mind.  Another is  the UPC, which would actually scan as the Xbox version of Left 4 Dead II.

After I get the labels printed up I'll edit this post with a finished picture.  For know you can just look at the label.  It is a higher resolution so you can read it all.  If anyone comes across this blog or picture and wants to use it for their own pill bottle, feel free to email me for the source file (which is 600 DPI to make resizing easier) or feel free to use it from here.  All I ask is that you give credit where credit is due and don't claim it as your own work.  Simply adjusting a small portion of the graphic is not making it your own work.

OK, all the pets seem to be annoyed I'm still up and at least one is starting to complain about that.

2011-10-09 2031 Edit.

Originally I wasn't planning of having the labels printed up yet, but I had to go to FedEx to have another project printed up and figured it would be easier to get it all done at once.  Last time I had some items printed I sent the order online and had it rough cut and ready for me to pick up.  I was under the mistaken impression about the type of stock they used.  Had I know it was simply a full 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of label stock I'd have better formatted my print order.  Live and learn.
FedEx has two options for label stock.  The first is a glossy clear stock that is pretty nice, but white isn't a printed color.  That would work great for my white pill bottle, but I thought it might look "off" if I relied on the color of the bottle to serve as the background color.  If i have to redo the project later I might go that route.

Label laminated
Instead I used the second option which is a matte white label stock.  Some time ago I bought this huge roll of acetate for a project.  I needed to laminate a large HackMaster Combat Wheel I was making and having it sent out was just too expensive.  The roll stock was well priced and I knew I'd have a ton leftover for things like this.  I just cut some off and laid it down over the label sheet.  Then I simply cut along my black lines using a rolling cutter and a good straightedge.  Both labels came out great.
After peeling off both pill bottles, and scrubbing off any glue residue, I simply applied the new laminated labels.  The lamination film is pretty thin, so it doesn't look out of place.  Making sure the long label was applied straight was the hardest part.  Luckily for me the bottles have a single mold line running down the side.  By lining up the end of the label along that line I was able to carefully apply the label.  The adhesive on the label is great.  Re-positioning really wasn't going to be an option, so I had to be careful.  This is really why I was making two bottles.  At best Carolyn and I could each get one for our costume.  At worst, I can learn from what I screwed up on one to make the second one.
Both came out just fine.  The original label, like most labels, has a slight rounded edge.  That was a detail I wasn't going to fiddle with for the sake of perfection.  Just too much of a headache.

No comments: