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Special Effects Vinyls

Everybody loves a bit of bling—that sparkle that can turn the mundane into a crowd pleaser. Brenda Hodgson says this is where special effects vinyls come into their own

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The stunning origami inspired stage set at the recent Brit Awards was created by Misty Buckley Production Design using eight different patterns from 3M’s Di-Noc architectural finishes and projection mapped using 23 laser projectors

Statement Pieces

In the world of film, television and live events, ever more amazing special effects and ‘whizz-bangs’ are designed to create an added ‘wow factor’ to the production. While these effects often last no more than a fleeting moment in time, in the world of sign-making special effects vinyls, it can create an impact that will be seen time and again over a much longer period.

Leon Watson, general manager at Spandex UK, says: “The world of special effects vinyls is huge, and is becoming increasingly popular within sign and display companies. Manufacturers and suppliers alike have recognised this and acted in turn, so that a large number of speciality products now exist on the market, with the aim to make the unimaginable possible.

“For example, with our own brand, Image Perfect, we have recently added the IP 2570 Photoluminescent and IP 2574 Reflective films to our range, both of which are printable, with the bonus of being compatible with solvent, eco solvent, UV, and latex. These additions have given customers the potential of creating some exceptional designs.”

Wrapped attention

Nowhere can the desire to be different be seen more clearly than in the vehicle wrap sector, where both commercial and individual end-users are looking to make a bold statement or give new life to an older vehicle, giving a whole new meaning to the expression ‘a flash car’.

Avery Dennison Supreme Wrapping Film Color Flow Series with Easy Apply RS Technology is just one of the ranges offered by trade supplier William Smith for special vehicle wrapping effects.


This eye-catching vehicle wrap was created by William Smith using Avery Dennison’s Supreme Wrapping Film Color Flow Series in Satin Fresh Spring (gold/silver)



Chris Bradley, head of marketing at William Smith, comments: “This fantastic colour-shift range means our customers are even more spoilt for choice.”

The 80 micron premium cast film comes with a twelve-year durability in a choice of twelve colours and the option of gloss or satin finishes. The dual layer films are designed for solid colour vehicle detailing and full wraps, and provide a level of opacity that will hide high-contrast surfaces. Easy Apply adhesive enables bubble free application, while the added repositionable and slideable (RS) technology enables faster positioning. The 3D conformability of Avery Dennison Supreme Wrapping Film makes it suitable for concave and convex surfaces, including deep recesses.

Highlighting some of the science-based technology company’s most exciting new special vinyl products, Tim Bayer, a technical expert at 3M, points to the new additions to the Wrap Film Series 1080, one of 3M’s best-known ranges.


This vehicle wrap highlights the head-turning effect of 3M’s Wrap Film Series 1080 colour-flip shades, with its polychromatic effects that create unique, multi-colour dimensions, which shift and vary under different viewing angles and lighting



Bayer says: “Recent new additions to this range include innovative colour-flip shades. Each one exhibits lively polychromatic effects that create unique, multi-colour dimensions, which shift and vary under different viewing angles and lighting.”

Having first launched three shades, the popular range now boasts seven flip colours, including Psychedelic, Deep Space, and Volcanic Flare. Most recently, 3M introduced Satin Flip Ghost Pearl to this line-up.

The Wrap Film Series 1080 is made in 1.52m wide rolls, allowing installers to easily cover whole vehicle sections without seams.
 
Bayer adds: “All the new products, including the new colour-flip options, offer excellent dimensional stability and repositionability, along with high durability and permanent adhesive properties. Underpinning the products’ excellent performance is the reassuring backing of MCS Warranty offered by 3M.”


Commercial vehicles can benefit from special effects too, as demonstrated by these printed graphics, which really come alive at night. London-based vehicle wrapping company, Wrap Cube, used 3M 780mC Refelective Wrap Film, supplied by Spandex



3M’s new 780mC Reflective Wrap Film has recently been added to a range of special effect products available from Spandex.

This material has enabled vehicle wraps and fleet wraps to be done solely using a reflective film


Watson of Spandex says: “This material has enabled vehicle wraps and fleet wraps to be done solely using a reflective film. For example, London-based vehicle wrapping company, Wrap Cube produced some eye-catching prints on a recent job which produced stunning results, with the prints really coming alive at night.”

Now you see it ...

Making reference to the flip-colours in the Wrap Film Series 1080, Bayer points out that these are evocative of the Dichroic Glass Finishes by 3M—colour shift films for glass surfaces, available in Chill and Blaze colours.


3M’s Dichroic Glass Finishes colour shift films for glass surfaces have a transmitted colour and a completely different reflective colour, which shift and shimmer depending on the angle of viewing



Bayer says: “These have a transmitted colour and a completely different reflective colour, which shift and shimmer depending on the angle they are viewed from. Chill products shift colours from the transmissive cool tones of blue, magenta, and yellow to the reflective colours gold and blue, while Blaze products shift from the warm tones of cyan, blue, and magenta to red and gold.

“As impactful as dichroic glass, the film achieves a similar effect at a fraction of the price.”

William Smith’s own Vion Dichroic Film, Ambience, has been designed for application to interior glass panels, and Bradley expands on its features: “This new PVC-free decorative window film is designed to create colour shifting effects on interior glass panels. With its dichroic and chameleon-like properties, the film changes in hue and colour with every variation in angle of observation.”

Boasting five-year durability as well as being fully REACH RoHS compliant, Vion Ambience decorative film, which is suitable for a wide range of internal applications on flat and slightly curved surfaces, uses natural light to maximum effect and is ideal for creating a shimmering effect on glass.
 
Materials also available from William Smith for decorative effects on windows and glass panels include 3M Scotchcal Series 5525-300 and Vion Crystal 5500 Series. 3M Scotchcal Series 5525-300, available in etch and sandblast effects, both increases the visual impact of windows, doors, and partitions, and provides privacy. The films can also be used to create complex designs or lettering.

The matt, polymeric calendered 75-micron translucent film is designed for interior and exterior applications. It comes with clear, permanent, pressure sensitive adhesive and optional bomply air release adhesive for fast, dry, and bubble-free application.
 
Vion Crystal 5500 series clear etch crystal window film is suitable for a wide range of internal decorative window applications on flat and slightly curved surfaces.

Bradley comments: “Its clean face film gives exceptional results for internal or external window graphics and internally illuminated displays. The 170gsm double-sided PE coated liner offers excellent stability and lay-flat properties during cutting, weeding, and storage.”

Vion VC5500 is a five-year, clear etch polymeric calendered window film with a permanent pressure-sensitive adhesive. The solvent-based transparent adhesive allows both wet and dry applications.

The architecture of change

‘A change is as good as a rest’, so the old cliché goes, and with 3M’s Di-Noc range, change does not have to cost the earth, as Watson of Spandex says: “With the range giving the user the ability to refresh existing items in hotels, restaurants, and more, the savings that can be made by refurbishing items with Di-Noc instead of replacing are significant.”


3M’s Di-Noc architectural finishes accurately mimic the effect of everything from wood grains and stone to leather and textile, providing the ability to refresh or refurbish existing items in hotels, restaurants, and more, and the opportunity to achieve significant cost savings



Di-Noc architectural finishes accurately mimic the effect of everything from wood grains and stone to leather and textiles and, following the recent addition of 153 new patterns and textures based on the latest trends, the range now encompasses more than 800 different designs. This enables almost infinite creativity both for interiors and exterior facades.

The range now encompasses more than 800 different designs, enabling almost infinite creativity both for interiors and exterior facades


Watson says: “With over 800 finishes available the accessibility of the products can come with a lead time. However, recognising the popularity of the range, 3M has created a new ‘Trendline’ group of the 80 most popular finishes which enhance the range further and makes it more readily accessible.”

A stunning example of the use of 3M’s Di-Noc architectural finishes was seen at the recent Brit Awards, where audiences were wowed by the set created by Misty Buckley Production Design—a dramatic, origami-inspired stage backdrop standing 15m high and 59m wide.

The structure comprised multiple folded and prism-shaped formations, with names like Iceberg, Moving Mountain, Peace Crane, and Shard. Although cleverly constructed to look like one formation, each plane was made separately, using a different pattern from the Di-Noc finishes collection. The entire structure was projection mapped using 23 laser projectors, creating the realistic appearance of the entire structure being made from solid dark metals, when actually it was manufactured out of a steel structure with a hard cladding of aluminium composite board and covered in 3D-conformable Di-Noc finishes.


William Smith’s Vion Dichroic decorative window film Ambience, with its chameleon-like properties, uses natural light to maximum effect and is ideal for creating a shimmering effect on glass

 
Pen Webley, marketing team leader for the 3M commercial solutions division, says: “We were honoured to have played a part in helping to create Misty Buckley’s fantastic stage. The end result shows that with the Di-Noc range of architectural finishes by 3M, the only limit is your own creativity.”

Misty Buckley, production designer at Misty Buckley Production Design, also expresses enthusiasm for the product: “We’ve been delighted with the response to our stage design for the Brits, from both the industry and the general public. The Di-Noc range of architectural finishes by 3M allowed us to achieve an outstanding look that really brought our whole design together. The 3M materials responded incredibly well to projection, giving a texture and depth not seen before in conventional projection materials.”

A bold alternative

For creating special effects with digital print wall and floor graphics, Soyang Europe offers an innovative alternative to vinyl that has been designed to boldly go where no vinyl has been before, to paraphrase the Star Trek mission statement.
 
Kerrie-Anne Moore, asserts sales and marketing manager at Soyang Europe, comments: “If you’re looking to create special effects with your digital print media, we’ve got an option for you that will blow your customers away.

It has been heralded as the aluminium foil media that goes where other materials wouldn’t dare. It opens up a whole range of surfaces that conventional print materials, such as vinyl, can’t be applied to.”


SGIA award-winning printable aluminium foil based media Alumi Graphics, available from Soyang Europe, comes in four different finishes that are ideally suited for wall and floor graphics



Alumi Graphics is a SGIA award-winning foil based media that comes in four different finishes that are ideally suited for wall and floor graphics. Moore expands: “The beauty of this material is that you can really think outside the box and take advantage of overlooked spaces for marketing and advertising, such as pavements, concrete columns, tiled surfaces, brick walls, and tarmac.”


A river of print created with Alumi Graphics aluminium foil based media leads visitors to and from Earls Court Exhibition Centre



One of Alumi Graphics’ key benefits is the ability to apply the material using a roller (rather than a heat gun) onto heavily textured or rough surfaces, such as brick or concrete. All that is needed is a dry, clean surface.

Alumi Graphics has no memory and easily conforms and holds the shape of the surface it is being applied to. When correctly compressed to the surface, it takes on its texture, appearing as a painted image, unaffected by changes in temperature or moisture levels.

Moore explains: “You can print directly onto Alumi Graphics using digital printing hardware running with solvent, eco-solvent, UV, and latex ink. There’s no need to overlaminate which makes for a faster turnaround and cuts production costs.”

O Factoid: A special effect used in the world of art is Trompe-l’œil (French for ‘deceive the eye’), a technique that uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three dimensions. O


The foil is highly durable even without lamination, and offers an expected outdoor life of between six months to two years. In addition, Alumi Graphics can be cut to shape using most printer/cutters and plotters.

Moore adds: “Furthermore, the green credentials of Alumi Graphics are plentiful, given that it contains no PVC and can be easily recycled along with other aluminium products. It’s also extremely easy to install and remove without specialist training or equipment.”

There is clearly a huge range of materials available to the innovative sign-maker. So, if your customer wants to make a bold statement, you need look no further than the extensive choice of special effects products currently on the market—laced with a good dash of your own creativity, of course.


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