Creating a Raptor

Palmer Signs’ replication of reptile skin was of “primordial” importance.
Palmer Signs (Roseville, CA) experimented with layers in Photoshop to create a textured effect to the raptor’s skin.

First introduced as “clever” dinosaur villains in 1993’s Jurassic Park, velociraptors evolved over the course of the film franchise into motorcycle-riding Chris Pratt’s come-to-the-rescue cavalry in 2015’s Jurassic World, in which they helped save the latest group of people crazy enough to vacation in close proximity to dinosaurs. Over the years, raptors (for short) have clawed out a foothold in contemporary pop culture, and Raptor Blaster, a Sacramento, CA-based manufacturer of heavy-duty, industrial sandblasting cabinets, features a raptor’s talons ripping through metal in its logo.

CLONE AND EXPERIMENT

Referred to Palmer Signs (Roseville, CA), as are most of their clients, according to owner Tony Palmer, Raptor Blaster brought in their van, and the beginnings of a logo. Right from the start, Tony and Palmer Signs Designer Juice Lee recognized the two-fold challenge of changing the client’s font and developing the logo. “Juice took what they had and morphed it into the wrap design you see now,” Tony said.

While accurately replicating the reptile’s skin – sound familiar? – the design team found the texture looked too flat. “We really wanted it to have that wow factor,” Tony said, “so we used an overlay effect in Photoshop to really make it stand out.” The design process took about two weeks and included three revisions, which mostly involved copy changes. The reptile-skin background remained the same through every proof.

Juice Lee, designer for Palmer Signs, also re-engineered the logo font for Raptor Blaster.
Juice Lee, designer for Palmer Signs, also re-engineered the logo font for Raptor Blaster.

Upon customer approval, using SAi’s Flexi 12, the shop output the design from its HP 570 Latex printer on 3M IJ180Cv3 Controltac Graphic Film, with 3M Scotchcal Gloss Overlaminate 8518 applied by way of its GFP laminator.

“We create our own templates here at Palmer Signs,” Tony said, so they are confident of where text will fall on the vehicle, noting, of course, that door handles can be a challenge. Where applicable, they remove mirrors and door handles to provide a better, seamless process. Chad Compton and Annie Wickwire installed the wrap using torches, 3M Gold squeegees and 3M VCAT rollers. For areas such as the reptile skin feature, Tony suggested leaving extra material with that graphic element to make the installer’s job much easier.

Though Palmer Signs has wrapped far more vehicles than have been destroyed in all the Jurassic movies put together, this one did generate a buzz. “Everyone that came into the shop while we were working on it was just amazed at how it looked,” Tony said. “They loved the raptor skin texture. Adding an awesome texture to your wrap takes it to the next level.”

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