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GIF's for Dark Backgrounds
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Railroad/road name
Locomotive model
Type of rolling stock
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GIF's for Light Backgrounds
I want to browse by...
Railroad/road name
Locomotive model
Type of rolling stock
Most recent additions

Train GIF Help
Frequently asked questions
Terms & conditions of use
Requests for drawings
 

GIF FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

This page is designed to answer any questions you may have about my train GIF drawings, and how you can obtain and use them. If you have more questions, feel free to e-mail me.

I want these on my website. How much is this going to cost me?

Why are there separate GIF's for light & dark backgrounds?

I found some drawings I like. How do I put them on my website?

How do I make these individual images into trains?

You didn't have what I wanted. Can I make requests?

These drawings are nice. But why are you doing this?

I want to try it too. How did you draw all of these trains?

I want these on my website. How much is this going to cost me?

First of all, I'm flattered that you like my train drawings. Secondly, it will cost you absolutely nothing to use them. I do not charge people to use these drawings on their personal or non-profit websites (this includes historical societies, museums, etc.). All I ask is that Dan's Depot is credited, and that you add a link to my site somewhere on yours. The URL is http://DansDepot.railfan.net. I also ask that you e-mail me with the URL of the site you will be placing the drawings on -- I like to follow my work. If you have other questions regarding the use of these drawings, please visit the Terms & Conditions of Use.

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Why are there separate GIF's for light & dark backgrounds?

When I first started drawing these, I saved them in GIF format, a universal graphics format for web browsers. However, I never saved these GIF's with any transparency information, which is an option. I simply gave them all white backgrounds since at that time my website had white backgrounds on all of the pages. (A transparent GIF is an image in which a certain color is transparent, allowing the background to show through.) Since I later decided to use black backgrounds on all of my pages, I needed to change all of my drawings -- otherwise, they would all appear to have white boxes around them. I decided not to be so lazy this time, so when I modified them, I saved them as transparent GIF's. This way, my drawings can go over any background color without looking like they have boxes around them. All of my drawings come in two versions: those that look best on dark backgrounds (best on black), and those that look best on light backgrounds (best on white). I have done this to assure that anyone -- whether they use light or dark backgrounds on their websites -- can have quality images. Here are some examples showing why you should use the appropriate (light or dark) GIF.

Here are two drawings meant for light backgrounds as they would appear on a white background.
Similarly, here are the exact same drawings (meant for light backgrounds) on a black background. Note the missing wheel/coupler detail, the strange light lines above and below the locomotives, etc.

There are other examples that would look even worse. In a similar way, it also looks bad when you place GIF's made for dark backgrounds on light backgrounds.

But why do those strange colors appear around the drawings, why is some detail deleted, and why do the drawings generally look crummy when you place them on the "wrong" backgrounds? To keep a drawing from looking too jagged or abrupt, I "smooth" the edges using colors close to the intended background color. This makes the curves and corners appear rounded, and allows me to add a lot of detail to the drawings. When placed over the right background, you can't even tell I did it. However it does show up (and looks awful) if you place it over the wrong background color, as in the above examples. So make sure you get the right ones!

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I found some drawings I like. How do I put them on my website?

I must stress that you should not link to these drawings directly from my site. This would bog down my server, and if it became a problem, I would have to deny access to the drawings. So instead, save the images onto your computer through your browser. You should be able to right-click on them, and select "Save image as...". Once the images are on your computer, you then need to upload them to your server. Usually web-hosting services (like Geocities) will provide an uploading utility on their website where you can do this quickly and easily. Once the files are uploaded, simply "call up" the images as you would any others:

<img src="whatever.gif">

It's that easy.

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How do I make these individual images into trains?

That's a simple one -- you just have to be careful. In the code, place the "img src" tags one after another, with no spaces or carriage-returns in between. That should take care of it. Here's an example:

<img src="locomotive.gif"><img src="freightcar.gif"><img src="caboose.gif">

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You didn't have what I wanted. Can I make requests?

Absolutely. Some special requests I have done include Providence & Worcester GP38's and B23-7's, and Central California Traction GP7's. If you want me to make a drawing for you, please visit the Request for Drawings page. Just remember, I am allowing use of these drawings for free, and while I do enjoy creating them, I can't spend tons of time doing it. In other words, don't request TONS of new drawings. Consider what I already have -- it's a lot easier to paint a locomotive I already have into different colors than it is to produce a locomotive I have never drawn before. Also keep in mind that I've drawn only one ALCo -- it might take me longer to draw other ALCo's as opposed to new EMD's or GE's.

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These drawings are nice. But why are you doing this?

That's something I've pondered myself. I started doing it in late 1997, whenever I got bored. I began to realize how realistic I could get them to look, so I just stuck to it. Every now and then, when I'm up at 1am with nothing to do, I'll sit down and draw.

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I want to try it too. How did you draw all of these trains?

A lot of people have e-mailed me asking this question. I created each and every one of these drawings with Paint Shop Pro from Jasc Software. This is one of the most popular graphics programs in use today. While it does not have all of the features of the legendary Adobe Photoshop, it is getting closer and closer every year, at a fraction of the cost.

I have found Paint Shop Pro very easy to use, but the drawings can also be created with Microsoft Paint, the image-editing software that comes with Windows 95/98. Apple users most likely have a similar program built into their operating systems. The only drawback is that it is more difficult to save the images into usable Internet formats without destroying the quality of the image with these programs. Get Paint Shop Pro (or a similar program) if you're serious about it.

I start by closely examining photographs of the equipment I intend to draw. I need good broadside views of the equipment, and occasionally some close-up shots will help too. Sometimes I will resize the photograph to the same scale as my drawings to make sure I am making my cars and locomotives the proper length and height.

It can be quite tedious at times. Each drawing is done pixel by pixel, with careful color coordination, and some neat tricks to fool the eye into seeing "detail". Of all the advice I could give you, none is better than this: PRACTICE. It has taken me a very long time to get good at this, and I still go back and change my drawings from time to time when I figure out ways to improve them. As a matter of fact, my F59PHI's have all changed about 4 different times since I originally drew them, and I am just now becoming satisfied with them.

Is it frustrating? Often. But fun? Yes, almost always.



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