How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram - Car Audio | DiyMobileAudio.com | Car Stereo Forum

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Old 03-23-2009   #1
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Default How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

I have been asked by fellow DIYMA members, exactly how I created and designed my system diagram and if I would be interested in doing a tutorial for the method.

Here is my system diagram as it stands on 03/23/09:


You can also find it in my signature in any of my posts.

I have to think through exactly how to do a tutorial on this topic because the fact is I could do multiple tutorials to teach tasks that are used to create the diagram. The fact is, my diagram is very simple to put together in my opinion. Then again, I have over 15 years of graphics experience with my preferred software programs. But dont let that stop you, as I find it rather enjoyable to be able to create things like this, but at the same time it helps me think things through with my system before implementing them. So even though it is a diagram, it does help with "design" so to speak. It will take a LOT of posts on my part to walk you through the process and I almost think a video would be more efficient. But I will give it my best shot.....

Here goes:

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Old 03-23-2009   #2
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

First of all, you will need proper software to create a system diagram. EVERYONE has different preferences as to which software they want to use. Software is no different than speakers and amps.....to each their own. I am going to tell you what I use and offer some more expensive and less expensive options.

I use two pieces of software. A page layout program, which are commonly vector based and a photo editing software program, which are commonly bitmap based. I will explain the difference between these two formats in another post below. But for now, just think of bitmap based programs doing better with photos, and everything else is vector. While that is not entirely true, that is my condensed version.

My page layout program of choice is: CorelDRAW version x4
My photo editor of choice is CorelPHOTOPAINT version x4

I will be using these two pieces of software throughout the entire tutorial, and will utilize my web browser occasionally.

Here is a link to Corel products: Corel Store - CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X4

As you can see the x4 suite is a single item you purchase and for a new product (versus upgrading an existing version already on your computer) the price is $399. That is pretty darn cheap as graphics programs go.

If you want the Cadillac here....you should move onto Adobe products. In this case the suite is called CS4 (creative suite 4). Here is the link to that software: graphic design | Adobe Creative Suite 4 Design Premium Keep in mind, Adobe is roughly 4 times more expensive than Corel.

If you want all the power and none of the price, then Xara is your choice. I am really impressed with the product. It is found here: Graphics Software by Xara

Xara is $89 dollars to $249 depending on what you want. IF you are a newbie...go for the $89 version. Better yet...click on the TRY IT NOW and do a trial run.

This tutorial will NOT teach you how to do use these software programs. It will show you how I used them to create my diagram. If there is something specific you want to learn , post the question here and I will do my best to expand the tutorial to cover your question. I am NOT familiar enough with other programs to teach you how to use your software. There are tons of websites out there for just that purpose.

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Old 03-23-2009   #3
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

If you want to learn the difference between bitmaps and vector based graphics, read this post. If not, skip along....

I snagged this from the following website. Bitmap vs.Vector There are about a million web pages dedicated to this subject. Most of them say basically the same thing...

All image files can be categorized into two kinds, Bitmap-based and Vector-based files. The two differ in the way computers analyze their content.

Vector-based images generally contain well-defined elements such as curves and shapes of various colors. These elements can either be pure graphics, western alphabets or Asian characters. Each element is defined mathematically by the computer. For example, if a vector-based image contains a red dot, then information such as the location of the circle's center point, the length of its radius, and the color, red, would be the essential information for this image file.

File names for vector-based images usually consist of extensions such as *.EPS, *.AI, *CDR, or *.DWG.

Vector-based files are more suitable for illustrations that require precise measurements. They are also easily scalable due to their mathematical nature. However, the vector-based file format has its drawbacks as well. It is not good for displaying photo-realistic images such as a photograph because images of this type generally do not contain well-defined shapes and curves.

Bitmap-based images, on the other hand, do not rely on mathematical formulas to define their various elements. Each bitmap-based image is mapped into a grid. The size of the grid is based on the image's resolution. For example, a bitmap-based image of 1 inch x 1 inch with a 600 dpi resolution would be defined by a grid of 600 x 600 pixels. Hence, a bitmap-based image is like a mosaic of pixels with each pixel holding a specific color value.

Bitmap-based files are more suitable for photo-realistic images that require complex color variations. They are, however, not easily scalable because each bitmap-based image is mapped to a non-flexible grid. If a bitmap-based image were to be enlarged, it would lose its sharpness. All edges within the image would appear to be jagged.

File names for bitmap-based images usually consist of extensions such as *.PSD, *.JPG, *GIF, *.TIF, or *.BMP.

In general, bitmap-based files require more computer memory for file storage than vector-based files. The former contains all information for every single pixel of the image while the latter contains only the defining mathematical formulas for each element within the image.

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Old 03-23-2009   #4
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

Task 1: Start your new page and chose a background.

Here is a screen shot of CorelDraw before any work has been done:


After beginning a new document, simply draw a rectangle to the size of your choosing. You can change this at anytime. One of the advantages of vector art!

Now fill your rectangle with any color. Here is my rectangle.



Now, your software may be different, but Corel allows me to customize my background to almost anything. I like to have a variation of color to give the final document a bit of dynamic feel, versus a solid one color fill that seems a bit static to me. Here is my background:



I have chosen purple but by all means choose any background you wish.

I also rotated this fountain fill background at approximately 45 degrees after this screen shot.

Each object in CorelDraw has an outline, generally a thin black outline. I also removed that outline, by choosing "none" from the "OUTLINE" menu.

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Old 03-23-2009   #5
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

Next I stretch the background to fit the 8 1/2" x 11" page size. By the way, this is the default page size in Corel. With any vector based artwork, dont sweat the page size. We can stretch it at ANY time to fit our needs. You can stretch it and you will stretch it....because right now, I have no idea how complex my drawing is going to get, how much room I will dedicate to each "component" within the diagram..etc.

Next I will lock my background, or PREVENT it from being selected by locking the layer on which the rectangle exists.

1. Open your Object manager side bar (or whatever layer control your software utilizes).
2. The rectangle (background) will already be on a layer. Rename the layer to "background" (or whatever you wish) as shown here:



3. Create a new layer, using whatever you wish. I will name mine "wiring" as shown here:


4. Make your new layer the active layer (or current layer). When you do this, all future objects created will exist on this new layer (until you change layers again).

5. Now, look closely at the layers....you will want to "LOCK" or make inactive the background layer as shown here: (I clicked on the small icon of a pencil immediately to the left of the word background).

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Old 03-23-2009   #6
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

For the purposes of this tutorial, I will be creating different objects in a certain order. The order is Unimportant. Go at it anyway you like, once you learn the general concepts here.

This may seem unimportant and boring, but you better learn it or you will be in an insane asylum soon.

One of the fundamental things to learn about page layout is that objects exist in a physical space. So each time I create a new object, it technically exists ON TOP OF the previous object. Another way to say this is "IN FRONT OF" the previous object. If the two objects are side by side and do not overlap, you may not immediately be able to tell which was created first or second....or in what order they existing within the document.

Not to worry.

CorelDRAW allows us to rearrange the order at any time using various tools. The ones I use the most are "SEND PAGE FRONT" and "SEND PAGE BACK" Just like when you were a kid and your teacher sent you the back of the line....well you will be selecting an object and sending it to the back of the page....if in fact that is what you wish to do. You will want to do this with certain items like lines (wire paths) etc...because they are less important. Whereas that nice beautiful photo of your new amplifer rules...so you want her sitting proud up front.

Sometimes you will notice that an object is being covered by another....then is the time to re-arrange as you see fit. You can select either object and arrange accordingly. Here are a couple of screen shots showing objects and arrangements.

Two Objects side by side. There is no apparent order here:


Now move one object and watch what happens:


That image shows you that the orange square was created after the yellow square because it exists in front of the yellow square.

But simply rearranging them changes that order:




That comes in handy when you are trying to create line work to represent speaker or cable paths such as this:


Simply sending the yellow line to the BACK will make the line look as if it is connecting multiple boxes as shown here:

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Old 03-23-2009   #7
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

Next, purely for the purposes of demonstration, I created several rectangles and a single line that connects all of the rectangles. Here you can see the line on top of the rectangles:



Here you can see the line re-arranged to be behind the rectangles:


Believe it or not, this just about all you need to know to do a SIMPLE diagram. You will of course want to add text, which I will show you next.

But in essence, each rectangle represents an individual component within your system. The line represents connectivity between the components. That connectivity can be a video cable, power cable, speaker wire, digital connection...you name it. It is all up to you.

Sometimes I do multiple lines to represent separate channels or positive and ground wiring, etc. Sometimes I do a single line just to represent a connection or relationship, such as with my bluetooth connection in my diagram.

This is the stage where you can actually play around with your arrangement or think through what pieces need to relate to one another. Do not stress out over where on the page the components are located. That WILL come into play as you start arranging them all over the page. I have even had diagrams halfway done and realized that it just didnt look like I wanted....or was too confusing to read. So I simply re-arrange all the pieces.

Make it your own puzzle. If you notice in my diagram above, my speakers are not arranged in the paper the way they would be in a car, meaning the tweeters are shown together on the left side on the document. Whereas in reality they are on opposite side of the vehicle. This requires you to think through, how you want to communicate the diagram to yourself and to others. But remember, the basic concept is to draw and comprehend how the system relates to itself. Your HU could care less where in the world your amps are located....it only cares that you provide the correct number and sizes of wires, connected to the appropriate inputs.

Start simple and add.

I always start with my HU and I actually build my system on the screen in the same order that the signal travels. So HU, then signal processor, then amps, then speakers.

In a moment I will show you how to add cool pictures of your system components so you do not have to rely on just rectangles of color.

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Old 03-23-2009   #8
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

I just have to throw this out there....


Please save your file and save it often. Furthermore, if you have a brainstorm idea, in my opinnion, it is a good idea to save your file. Then save a second (or third or fourth or fifth) copy of that file and THEN do your brainstorming. You may never go back to the original file, but if your new idea falls flat on its face....you dont have to UNDO anything. Just revert back to the original file and start from there.

I do this all the time.

The system diagram above exists in seven different files on my computer. here are some of them just to prove to you that you NEVER want just one copy of your file....for MANY reasons.





So as you change your system plans, archive one copy of your diagram before you start another idea. At the time that the above diagrams were created, I thought I had it all figured out....as you can see, it looks only somewhat like my current and "final" diagram.

I am not sure there is ever really a final diagram, not unless you sell the car and the system!

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Old 03-23-2009   #9
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

Next I am going to create a new layer and I am going to name it "components".



Look closely at my layer dialogue on my sidebar. Do you notice that the layer "components" is above the layer "wiring" which is above the layer "background"?

This is on purpose.

Just as stated before, you can rearrange objects to appear in front of or behind one another. The same holds true for layers. In other words, any object I draw on the "components" layer will appear in front of or on top of any object I draw on the "wiring" layer.

Change the order of layering is as simply as grabbing the word "components" on your screen and dragging it just below the word "wiring". But this will majorly impact how your diagram is viewed. It is easily undone, so you can try it just to see the results if you like.

For now....I like the order of my layers. So I will leave the layer arrangement alone. This is because the components will be more easily seen than the wiring pathways and of course everything will existing on top of the background. So this means so far my layering is appropriate.

Now lets make some components....they are the most fun.

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Old 03-23-2009   #10
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

My favorite part! Seeking out that perfect photograph of any one of your systems components.

Now comes the first big difference between bitmaps and vectors.

So far we have been 100% vector based. But now it is time to insert some photos, which are all bitmaps. So this is the time to tell you that resolution and image size are KING.

Even though our final product will be posted on the internet for all to see, we want to start off with the largest, most clean and clear files possible.

If you will be using photographs that you have taken, then your digital camera will output your files at a decent to good starting point.

Here are the things you want to look for in a good image of your HU, amp or speakers. I will demonstrate the reason why in just a moment.

1. LARGE file size (but remember, large file size does not always mean best quality).

2. Consider the position of the camera and shot angle of the product. Does it look good to you? If so you can use it. This is personal preference. Look at my diagram. I prefer items to be at an angle versus straight above or straight on...this allows the diagram to feel more 3D.

3. Pixels and/or Dpi. Small file size is a good hint (but no guarantee) that the image quality is bad. If you are good with photo editing software then you are familar with image resolution which is often communicated in pixels. I prefer a starting point of a good image to be 300 dpi and about 600 pixels. Most photographs available over the net have been reduced to 72dpi for fast transfer and upload times. You can use 72 dpi images as long as you kow how to deal with them.

Here is an example of the same image, shown twice. One is low rez and the other is hi rez.



It may be hard to see with my screen captures, but the image at the top is much more "pixelated" (fuzzy) than the image at the bottom. As you can tell, the images are physcially the same size, but their resolution is much different.

So start with the best images possible.

FINALLY...and for me...a MAJOR consideration is just exactly how much your product of choice, is seperated from the background on which is it photographed. You want a high level of contrast. In other words, if someone photographed your amplifier on a carpet, with multiple colors and in low lighting conditions, then your chances of sucessfully using the photograph are slim. Not because the image quality is bad, but because it will be hard to visually see the equipment in your diagram. Make the viewer see the equipment with ease. The Bit One signal processor above is a good example. It is black and it was photographed on a white background with NO OTHER images competing with it. There is no box of oreos, no baby clothes, no stack of bills....nothing. It is a clean image.

This comes into play later when we crop the background off of and away from the equipment. look at my system diagram now. Do you notice how all my equipment seems to be floating in space? Thats perfect. No backgrounds to deal with. Easy to trim off the fat so to speak.

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Old 03-23-2009   #11
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

Lets go "googling" shall we?

This is a good example of how to judge image quality. First go to your web browser. I use Mozilla, but you use whatever you feel comfortable with, they all basically work the same.

Now go to the Google web page.

Then click on IMAGES.

Now type in any word or model number of your equipment and/or components. In this case lets look for a Bit One.

I types in Bit One in the Google Images search box as shown here:


Now click enter or search.

Here is what I found with only one try:


Take notice that there are TONS of photographs on the net of this product. But on this page alone there are some really good examples of bad images and good images.

Just like stated above, you will see many images of the Bit One photographed inside a car, on a table, on black carpet...etc. All those are garbage because of the low contrast and complicated backgrounds. They will be a major PITA in the upcoming steps to complete your diagram.

Ahhhhhhhhhh but look at the sixth photograph. It is a nice image of the Bit One, all by itself against a white background! SCORE!

Well almost.

Lets look closer. Now is the time to look at the information below each image.

For the sixth image....what is the file size? The file size is shown at 113k. This is okay. It will definitely work. But to further confirm this, look at the IMAGE size. The image size is the physical dimension of the photograph. In this case they are 800x480. NOW WE ARE TALKING. Now I know all of my criteria above is met. Well almost. I still do not know what the resolution of this image is (72 dpi? 300 dpi)? Well the only real way to know is to down load it and open it in your photo editing software.

I like this image and so I download it.

Before you leave this web page....lets look at one more image of the Bit One. It is always a good idea to download a few images....just in case one does not work for you in the end. But in this case I want you to look at another image to see a difference in image attributes (file size, etc).

Look at the second image.

Not only is it terrible because it is a black product in front of a black, complicated background, but its attributes are a little misleading. Its physical size is LARGER than the one we liked. But its FILE size is HALF the size of the one we liked. As you get better at this you will come to learn that this is a sure indicator that the RESOLUTION in image number 2 is much less quality than the one we liked and downloaded. So be on the look out for those indicators.

Now is the time to tell you that you can spend HOURS AND HOURS looking for good images on the net. Always use a variety of search terms that will yield different web pages. I have even had success at inserting the words "high resolution" along with my products with awesome results. Maybe luck? I dunno.

If you already know all of the model numbers and names of your products for your diagram, I think it more efficient use of time to download a ton of images first and then do the editing later. Just my opinion.

Now we have an image to work with so lets go to the next step.

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Old 03-23-2009   #12
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

Open your photo editing software.

Here is CorelPHOTOPAINT with a blank screen:


Now open our new downloaded file.



BOY OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH BOY did we get lucky!!!!!

Check it out....do you see the checkerboard background behind the Bit One? Do you also see the dashed outline around the Bit One? The file we downloaded has what is known as a "mask"

To make clean diagram, you really want to separate the equipment from its background. THAT is why you want good quality images with lots of contrast. Because it makes it easy to trim off the unwanted parts of the image. In this case, the checkerboard background is a definite indicator that someone has already done the work for you....talk about time savings!

Wait...wait.

I cannot let you off the hook that easily. I have to show YOU how to trim a photo properly, because 9 times out of 10 you will have to do this exact step.

Trimming the background off is also known as "masking" it. It is also known as making the unwanted portions of the photograph transparent. You know how your local meteorologist stands in front of a blue background? Well that is to make it easier for the computer software to trim off the blue, and insert the image of your area behind him digitally. Here we need to do the same thing.

I am not going to take the time to teach you the every tool available to you in learning how to mask an object. There are tons of websites out there that give you very detailed instructions on how to do this....

But what I AM going to do is show you WHY. Remember our background in the page layout program?

Here is what the Bit One would have looked like if it did not already have a masked background:



Here is what it looks like with a masked background (just as we found it)

NOTE...I purposely changed my background color to gold, because the purple was not contrasting enough with the black Bit One image.


Do you see how the first image has a white box around it? That white box (or any other background stuff) will block the viewer from seeing other parts of your system diagram. We definitely only want as much of the image as necessary to convey it to the viewer. Any more is fat....trim it. Mask it.

Before I show you how....let me tease you.

I am going to use the "drop shadow" function in CorelDRAW to drop a shadow of both images so you can see the difference. It is pretty cool.

Here is the drop shadow affect with both images. I will show you how to do this later.

No mask:


With Mask


The impact of the masked image is so much more realistic.

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Old 03-23-2009   #13
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

I got side tracked from my photo editing software due to the lucky break on the mask. Lets get back on track.

But instead of using the previous Bit One image....I have created another image for us to use.

Here it is....go ahead and download it and open it in your photo editing software.



This is a photograph taken on my desk of my Bit One.

Here it is as seen inside my photo editing software.



The first thing we want to do is save this file in the proper format. We are about to mask this image and only a few formats available to use will preserve the mask when we insert the final image into another piece of software like CorelDRAW. Those images are GIF, and native file formats. By native I mean the Corel format. Other software like Adobe, has its own format too. But for this tutorial, we will be using the native corel format for photos called CPT format.

Lets save the file now.

1. Go to FILE, then select SAVE AS
2. Change the format type by selecting the Corel format as shown here:


Now we are ready to start masking.

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Old 03-23-2009   #14
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

I have purposely taken the photograph to meet my own personal criteria. So the masking portion of this exercise will be simple. But one can spend HOURS and HOURS masking one single image, depending on the starting image, your skill and your level of perfectionism.

Here is how to mask the image to create a transparent background:

1. Crop your image to as small as possible around the equipment. First I use the rectangular mask tool to draw a rectangle around the product. Here you see me pull the mask menu down and choose the "Rectangular mask" tool. You can also see the dashed outline around the Bit One showing the approximate area I want to crop.


2. Here is the cropped image.


3. We have essentially eliminated as much background as possible, before we begin to do a detailed mask. There are many tools to choose from, but of the mask tools, I prefer to start with the "magic wand" in order to do a detailed mask. This tool essentially allows the computer to determine the images distinct boundaries and create the mask for you. Think of it as auto-mask. If you have a high contrast image, this is easy. Here is in CorelPHOTOPAINT.



4. Use the magic wand mask tool and clock just inside the edge of the Bit One. You will see what is known as a "marquee" appear as a sort of outline around the computers best guess of the Bit One's physical image. It will look like this:


Look closely. The magic wand did an OK job but it is not a perfect first attempt. Now we have to keep applying the magic wand in different areas around the Bit One. But there is one additional step before we do this....

4b. We need to change the mask mode. If we just click the magic wand again, the software will think we want a totally new mask. But what we really want is to ADD to that mask. So click on the "add mask mode" as seen here:

Look closely for my cursor in the upper left. It is hard to see here, but it is positioned over a green menu button. That green button is the "add" mode.


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Old 03-23-2009   #15
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

Now that you are in add mask mode.....just click on the magic wand again....and then just click on the Bit One as many times as it takes to capture the entire image area.

The objective here is to get an OUTLINE around the perimeter. Once you get an enclosed Bit One...you do NOT have to keep using the mask tools.
Here is where I stopped. Notice there are still areas inside the perimeter of the Bit One that are not truly masked. It may be hard to tell if you are new at this, but so I highlighted the masked areas in red for clarity. ANYTHING not shown in red is "outside the mask" and if we stopped here, the software would treat it as part of the background and make it transparent.



If I stopped here...and inserted this image into CorelDRAW onto my diagram, this is what it would look like:


Now compare those two images. You see....what is not red, shows up on the gold background as being transparent or like swiss cheese! Lets correct this by completing the mask.

The next masking move is to "REMOVE HOLES" within the mask. Here is where the CorelPHOTOPAINT menu function resides in the software:


Go ahead....click on REMOVE HOLES and see what happens.


Same thing...except highlighted in red:


NOW THAT is a nice smooth mask!!!! See how nice and neat the red areas are in that image? Sweet!

Lets do two more things:

First, you may have seen images floating around the internet which have fuzzy borders...well for example, the Bit Own image we downloaded earlier, which had the mask already made? If you insert that into your system diagram and look closely, you will see it is a nice mask but not perfect. The image has a sliver of white around it. That is a nasty little edge for all the hard work that was put into masking that sucker.

Let make our image a little better.

We want to reduce the size of our masked area by a VERY small size. So small in fact, we have to INPUT an actual number, in PIXEL sizes to make it happen. Here is how:

Go to REDUCE mask outline as shown here:


The next dialogue box that pops up will ask you to input an amount. This is in pixel units. We want only 1 pixel reduction. Enter "1" as shown here:


You may not see the difference, but trust me, it will help make your images very crisp.


Our final step is a necessary one....

This entire time you have been busy making a mask around the Bit One. But in truth, you have been telling the computer what to HIDE or crop. All the images I have shown above in red? I did not tell you, but I had to INVERT the mask to make it appear correctly for this tutorial. But now you have to INVERT your mask. We want to invert the mask because we want to trim everything BUT the Bit One.

Before you begin, you should know that another approach to this entire masking thing is to mask the OUTSIDE of the Bit One instead of the inside. If we had chosen to mask to the outside of the Bit One perimeter, then the INVERT step would not be necessary. Next time you mask, try it both ways and see which one you like best.

To invert the mask go to this menu:


Now you are truly done with the masking effort. But it will all be worth it!!

SAVE YOUR FILE....DO NOT CHANGE THE FILE FORMAT TYPE. IF YOU CHANGE THE FORMAT TO JPG or something else ALL YOUR MASKING WORK WILL BE LOST.

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Old 03-23-2009   #16
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

For this tutorial we will now switch back to our page layout software, CorelDRAW.

But in reality, you may want to mask all of your images now. When you are done with the masking, it is time to insert all the images into your system diagram page layout file.

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Old 03-23-2009   #17
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

Now, back in CorelDRAW it is time to insert/import our newly masked photo images.

You will want to select FILE, then IMPORT as shown here:

Oh and yes I changed my background color again. You don't have to....I am just trying to find a background color with a good balance of light and dark colors. You will want to do the same, as it will affect how easily the viewer can see your images and any future text colors we choose.



This is what the image now looks like when first inserted:


Now is when you learn if you INVERTED your mask appropriately in CorelPHOTOPAINT. If you did NOT do it correctly, all you will see at this step, is an image with everything from your photograph BUT the Bit One processor. If that is your case, please go open the image file again in CorelPHOTOPAINT and INVERT the mask again. Then save and return here.


Now it is time to re-size this image to the proper size for your diagram. Because this is the first image to be imported, it is not yet clear what size is appropriate. So what I do is just make the image MUCH smaller. This is because we are about to import/insert MANY images of all of the various components of our system. Here is how to re-scale the first image:

1. Click on the image of the Bit One using the PICK tool. The PICK tool is nothing more than the "white arrow/cursor" shown here:

You can see the PICK TOOL on the left side of the screen near the top of the menu (below the word FILE).


2. Once you have selected the image using the pick tool, the image (as it exists inside CorelDRAW) is known as an OBJECT. We are no longer editing photos, but moving around objects on the page. When you click the object with the pick tool you will see black squares appear around the object at the corners and sides as shown here:



These black squares are known as GRIPS.

3. Now that the object has been "picked" you will want to use the pick tool (you will use the pick tool in CorelDRAW continuously it seems) to select any one of the grips. In this case, I want you to select the grip at the lower right hand corner of the image. When this grip is selected, drag it toward the upper left corner of the image. Stop whenever you feel the image is the correct size.


As a point of reference for appropriate scale, here is how small I make my images to start. You will constantly me re-sizing these objects (images).


Thats it! Now you have successfully imported your first image! Go and try a few and I will post more steps in this tutorial later tonight.

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Old 03-24-2009   #18
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

Wow Arc. Very nice writeup, sure to be helpful to many.

How long did it take you?

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Old 03-24-2009   #19
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

great tutorial and i gave it a go myself. this is what i am going to be using in my system.. have 90percent of the pices just waiting on a ground and live distro and a few ring terminals..

i dont want to distrub ARCuhTEK thread but only to say i gave it a go (and also i am not ready to commence a full build thread yet, i hope he does not mind me posting if there is any issue as this is a tutorial thread please feel free to delete my post)

i never tought of using photoshop or any sofware to show the ideas of a install but then again i am new to the world of real sound systems so here is what i done as far as photoshop goes.. time taken 20-25min approx given a little more time i could tidy up a few more edges

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Old 03-24-2009   #20
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

DJR..wow 25 mins to do that? You are MUCH faster than I am. I would have guessed your image took at least 2 hours. If you dont mind some constructive criticism....the background you have chosen makes it very difficult to see your equipment. It overpowers everything. While the background image is cool indeed, I think you need to change it out. If you do not wish to do that, then use photoshop to tone it down and maybe even fade it quite a bit. Sometimes I will even remove the color and make an image grayscale to make it fall into the shadows more.

Oh and DJR, can you add a signature line to your profile? I dont mind calling you DJR, but a name would be nice too!

I dont mind people posting their system diagrams here. I should be finished with this tutorial today and peopel can add as many diagrams as they wish.

Wait I have an idea. I am going to start a new thread called "Post your System diagram here" I actually think that woudl be beneficial. So DJR, you can post yours there too!


MSall150, the tutorial has thusfar taken me four hours to write and post. I think two more hours will wrap it up.

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Old 03-25-2009   #21
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

Thanks for posting this Kevin, I have a feeling this will be very helpful for many. I don't want to overstep the mission of this thread, but I thought I would also contribute as it seemed apropos (and I don't get many chances to display the degree to which I have a)OCD and b)a current over abundance of time).

I actually use the aforementioned adobe illustrator CS4 (love it by the by). I just wanted to point out that, using vector based programs such as this, one can go very far with meticulously planning an installation before actually picking up any tools. Kevin, you mentioned this as being one of the main reasons you create these diagrams, and I couldn't agree more.

I take it a step further by taking measurements from the car and entering them into illustrator to do virtual mock-ups. This is when using layers comes in VERY handy. Here is an example from an upcoming installation I will be doing in the rear hatch area of my fiancee's car...









Anyway, I thought this may lend some creative inspiration (or at least that extra dork factor) for how these tools can be used for planning or communicating an installation.

-Trevor

Last edited by trevordj; 03-25-2009 at 01:21 PM..
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Old 03-25-2009   #22
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

Whoops, sorry for the huge photos!

-Trevor
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Old 03-25-2009   #23
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

Thanks Trevor. I am a little confused by the drawings, maybe I need to look more closely at them. It is a rear hatch that you are building an enclosure for, along with amp board?

By looking at your drawing titles, such as "inferior view" etc., this helps a little. But I am not sure which end is the front of the car etc. This is not criticism, just me talking out loud. Where did you learn to use the terms inferior, superior and medial views? That is unique to me. I use top, bottom, side, or aerial, birds eye and worms eye.

By the way, if you have a lot of time, you REALLY need to move into 3D. And I have great news for you....the 3d software is 100% free. And it is SO fun and easy to use. I helped to develop this software years ago, not as a coder or actual hands on, but as a beat tester and I was good friends with the actual inventor of the software.

Here is an example of a project that took me about 10 mins from start to finish to do.



One of the things I love about it is that you can change colors of your entire model with the clock of one button. Literally. I made this one look like an old blueprint by choosing a style called blueprint. On my screen it did not look like this, until I selected this style. It really is AWESOME, fast, easy and fun.

The program is called Google SketchUp. If you use Google Earth, you can see all the 3d buildings shown in this program are created by Google SketchUp. The software was originally invented by @Last Software out of Boulder, CO. Google saw the potential for its use inside Earth and after 5 years, purchased @Last.

Here is the link. There is a PRO version and the free version. The free version does 95% of what the PRO version does with some limitations on JPG quality output. But it will work for your purposes easily.

Google SketchUp

I recommend that you go to their site and do ALL of the tutorials before you begin. They are easy, not very long and will teach you EVERYTHING you need to know.

Remember this......if you draw in SU for more than 5 minutes at a time, WITHOUT "grouping" something...you are doing it wrong. Dont ask...you will understand later. It is the number one problem people have with doing things "properly" and if you have OCD you will want proper.

Here are other images of things I have designed using SU.






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Old 03-25-2009   #24
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

Thanks Kevin! That software looks pretty cool, I will check it out for sure. I always like digging in and learning new stuff like that, so it sounds right up my alley. Thanks for the tip on grouping too, that will not be hard to get used to as I frequently do this in illustrator as well, but good to know that it should done very often.

As for my drawings, I can see where they would be a confusing (my fiancee gave up a long time ago). The plans include two units that are going in a rear hatch area of a Subaru Outback over the quarter panel molding; the amp rack on the driver's side, and the speaker enclosure on the passenger side. The most important thing I forgot to mention is that each of the pictures I showed are the same drawing, taken as layers are peeled away (hidden) in illustrator. Taking away this interactive feature and outputting it as a series of jpegs was the best way I could think to illustrate the use of layers... a movie would probably be better.

Maybe this will help; a screen shot of what I see in illustrator. Note the multiple layers on the right hand side. As these are made visible or invisible, hidden layers underneath may be visualized (as illustrated by the lower image with layers above "wiring" and "electronics invisible).

Lastly, I can also see where orientation would be difficult given my incessant use of dorkspeak. The terms I use are anatomic ones. This just reflects how I think, and also ends up being more efficient as it requires fewer descriptive labels for proper orientation... in the screen shots below I relabeled them so it is less confusing to those who are not familiar.




Thanks for bringing up these points (and I certainly took none of your comments as critical by any stretch of the imagination), if you were confused by it, undoubtedly others were as well, and that was the whole point, to give people an idea of how they can use a vector based program to plan an installation.

-Trevor
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Old 03-25-2009   #25
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Default Re: How I created the graphic design layout of my system diagram

Just as an example of SU of an Outback wagon....and the ability in SU to slice section cuts through the model quickly.









Now all it needs is your 3d enclosure.

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