Overview & Options to Consider

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Revision as of 17:43, 24 February 2006 by Mahuti (talk) (Restoration graphics)
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Adding graphics to your cabinet can transform it from an oversized PC case into a functional piece of arcade artwork. It's the final touch that can make or break a great cabinet. The right choice of artwork and details can make a generic cabinet look simply amazing, while poorly done artwork options can make the most inventive cabinet design look dull. Though it's easy to overlook this area of cabinet building, it should be considered a crucial final step in creating your personal piece of arcade history.

There are generally 5 main approaches to designing the look of your cabinet that you may want to consider early in the planning phase of your cabinet. Each has drawbacks, and each requires varying degrees of skill to execute. Find detailed descriptions below.

More information to come;

Restoration graphics

One of the most straitforward methods of adding some pizzaz to your cabinet is to use reproduction artwork based on your favorite game. There are many distinctive cabinets that have been released over the years, Pac-Man, Galaga, Defender (all of the Williams cabinets, really) for which artwork is still reproduced by reputable dealers and readily available. If you choose to use repro art there are a few things you need to consider;

1. cost of reproduction graphics
Usually bezels, marquees, and control panel artwork are usually fairly inexpensive and easily available, usually in the range of $10-$50 each. Side art is usually more expensive, running from $50-$300 for a complete set.

2. availability of repro artwork (if you are interested in something a little more rare it may be difficult to find everything)
If your favorite game is Ms. Pac Man you can easily find the art for sale online, at an auction or on eBay for a reasonable price (not necessarily cheap, though) If your favorite game happened to be Defender 3 chances are you're not going to easily find repro or N.O.S (new old-stock) to use on your cab. If you're really restoring a cabinet, it may be worth the wait to find something to complete your rare vintage cab. If you aren't restoring, just pick something else cool... at least that way your cabinet will look good while you're trying to find the rare stuff.

3. accuracy of available reproduction artwork
While most reproduction houses have high quality artwork available, you may want to investigate the quality & reputation a little bit before you lay down your hard earned cash. Ask questions about the vendor & about the specific piece of repro art at places like RGVAC or in the artwork section of BYOAC. In my past experience of dealing with repro art I have occasionally been dissatisfied with the material thickness, detail, and color of various pieces from various vendors. In many instances you will have a tough time getting your money back, so it's best to ask your questions first. If you really know what you want, you may find that repro art does not accurately capture proper color, appliqué (foil, embossing) detail, material (smooth, rough, textured,) thickness, strength, or opacity (in the case of marquees or bezels.) Many repro dealers and repro artwork sites may not have access to pristine NOS art to sample when they create repros and their printing method may not capture the original color (like Pac Man yellow) so you may have to settle for "pretty good" in some cases unless you are looking for absolute restoration style accuracy. In that case, buy NOS if you can find it.

4. difficulty of application of the artwork.
In most cases adding artwork should be fairly simple for the average person. Most of it involves the use of adhesives and patience. Many Williams machines use stenciled paint for side and front art, however, and accurate reproduction requires some skill, equipment, and practice. If you don't have the patience to spend days doing the necessary prep & execution required to paint with stencils, you may want to purchase repro stickers instead. If you have absolutely zero patience, you may want to avoid buying large pieces of full side-art stickers (like Centipede) as well. Applying very large stickers requires some skill to reduce bubbles and wrinkles when applying the art. Marquees, correctly sized bezels, and CPOs are fairly easy to apply and the average person should not have a problem.

Resto-mod graphics

More information to come

Original theme graphics

More information to come

Physical design

More information to come

Hodge Podge

More information to come