How To Make Your Own Cardboard Cutout – By the way: My name is Randy and I am the regional manager for these units here. In a past life, I founded and ran the Design Studio (RIP) at Autodesk @ Pier 9 Technology Center. I am also the author of t… Read more about randofo »
A life-size cardboard cutout may seem like a fantasy, but you can easily make one at home. Cardboard cutouts are handy for all sorts of purposes, including but not limited to business meetings, hide and seek, and family gatherings. Just place your cardboard cutout where it should be and go. Most people won’t notice the difference at all.
How To Make Your Own Cardboard Cutout
You want to shoot the subject against a mostly white background. It is also advisable to avoid bright lights and shadows.
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To do this, I used a faceless paper back supported by two C-brackets. I then photograph the subject using two wireless photo strobes at a 45 degree angle to the subject.
The camera and the wireless transmitter are located in the center of the tripod. Try to find the best quality camera possible. You want the images to be very large, as they will be printed life-size. The larger the image file, the less resolution you lose.
You don’t need such a fancy frame, but it’s best to use the cleanest (brightest) background available.
(Please note that some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This will not change the price of the items for sale. However, I do receive a small commission if you click on any of these links and purchase something J would invest this again, money in materials and tools for future projects, however, you are obviously free to find materials as you wish.)
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In Photoshop, I first open the “Levels” adjustment window and use the white eyedropper to select an area in the background. This sets the background as the whitest part of the image and scales the image accordingly. Doing so removes most of the shadows from the background making the background very white, and the white balances the image accordingly.
I then adjust the level sliders until I reach the maximum depth of the image. Don’t worry too much about brightness or contrast at this point, but focus on the details of what you’re looking at.
Finally, to adjust the brightness and contrast, I opened the “Curves” adjustment window and tweaked the knob until I got the results I wanted. Alternatively, you can open the traditional “Brightness and Contrast” settings window and adjust accordingly.
Once the image is color corrected, crop the image close to the subject to remove all but the white background.
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Create a new layer and fill this layer with white. If white covers part of the image, delete it. It doesn’t need to be too perfect, because it cuts anyway, but it helps to have a clean line.
Scale the image so that it is approximately 5-10 inches taller than the height of the actual subject depicted.
Next, add a guide located about 2 inches from the top, and then another guide located [2 inches + text height] from the top of the image.
Place the picture in the frame and scale it so that the head is around the first mark and the middle of the feet are around the second mark. Your image is now roughly the size of the world.
Diy Big Head Cutout
If you don’t have access to a printer like this, take your file to a local printer or photocopying company and have them print it for you.
Crop roughly around your subject to remove as much background as possible. This is a difficult first pass and should not be approached too closely. This step consists of removing unnecessary paper to facilitate the work.
Now it’s time to cut around the line of the image using cutters and/or blades. Please remember to slow down and be careful. About: I am an Industrial Arts student at SFSU majoring in Product Design. I’m always online and always check these sites: ebay.com, wikipedia, boingboing.net, makezine.com, inst… Read more about FreakCitySF »
Now all I have to do is prepare my brother but think of all the possibilities. Who will be the first to make all the furniture in their friends’ living room stand up in cardboard? Take a picture of the living room as it is. Remove all furniture. Install the cardboard supports in their place!
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It will only be the cost of ink and paper. Cheap if you have a good printer and can handle a few lines.
I had a life-size photo of my brother printed at Kinkos and mounted it on cardboard myself. Price around 125.00
Remember they charge per square foot. The fewer people there are, the higher the printing costs. The cost to print a 6’4 sibling is $110.00 with a 10% student discount. About 15.00 for foamcore + gluesticks.
I recommend at least a 7 megapixel camera. They are very common now. You can rent a 12 megapixel camera at some camera rental stores.
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The next step is to increase the image, a lower megapixel will give you one pixel and a higher megapixel will have no effect.
The image below is what we want to avoid. This is a 4 megapixel photo enlarged to actual size.
A good tip here is to use a background with minimal distraction. Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot more time separating the image.
Remember to pay per square foot. I think so, but I’m not 100% sure that if you leave the bottom you will have to pay more.
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Use the Control key while clicking to add pieces of the same color and to make it easier for you 🙂 There are many magic tool tutorials and instructions just google for ideas.
The images below are the first of the original images. The second is the unit behind. The third is reclaimed land. Remember that if you want to make a stand out of cardboard, you will need a base to support your figure. If I had to make one, I’d fill in the blank space between her legs. It makes you look smarter. Fill it with a neutral color like gray. Gray tends to blend with other colors and make it look more realistic. A white light stands out a lot on the last stop.
I have a 3 GHz PC + 1 GB of memory with a nice video card and it takes a few minutes. But things stop moving but keep “doing”
So now, to print this life-size image, you need to find a big printer.
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They have a nice sample brochure of different options. Go check it out and see what works for you.
Basically, I have the glossy photo book. Just like the things you buy to print your own photos. A word of warning here. Any liquid on the finished paint can destroy it. Sand or rough surfaces can also spoil the image. The plus side is the cheapest around $7 per square foot.
After receiving the printed image, open it, to remove the “spring” from it, pull it out completely, and place the paper on the corners or other materials that have weight. Let stand overnight.
If you have experience with this and know the best way, please comment or send me a private message!
Elderly Man Life Size Stand Up Cutout
For a skinny 6’4 person, 2 pieces of foamcore are enough to mount the image. But you have to build structural supports other than the “legs”.
I started by cutting out the rest of the white from the image. Securing the two pieces of foam together at the back with more foam, I then mounted the image using a 3M spray adhesive called Super 77. A word of warning, though it is completely easy to use and inexpensive, I recommend trying other adhesives. I’m going to try using Kinkos Photo Paper Backed Adhesive. Just peel and stick. I ended up sanding the foamcore with Super 77 all at once. Super 77 is faster and cheaper but no manipulation is possible after the image has contacted the Super 77 adhesive on the foamcore. So I ended up with bubbles. If you squeeze the bubbles, they crease.
First I cut extra white photo paper about 2 inches from my brother’s picture frame. After picking it up, I wanted to cut it long.
I found a white “frame” around each frame to be a highlight. It also adds a professional touch. But I saw this after a few minutes and the white image wasn’t completely around my brother.
My Brother Made A Mini Cardboard Cutout Of My Top Gun Cosplay. It Arrived Today.
I used a Dremel tool and quickly checked this piece of “track” for a good cut at some depth. I made a ghetto track seal with a pen and tape, but my Dremel came up first with a good track seal.
I also used this setup