We recently got our minivan's windows tinted and had to remove the stick figure family I once had on. It was a sad day. I was going to try and salvage them but Brian came in the house with a fist full of crumpled up bits of vinyl before I could get a chance. I'll admit, it hurt. So....I always intended to make more but since stick family vinyl is kinda going out of style I thought I'd do something different....which you can do too (if you have a Silhouette machine!) And before you say anything, yes, I realize it came out a little large. I might have to scale it down a bit. But so far it hasn't impeded my rear view sight though the PA inspection may say otherwise;)
First choose a photo of the entire family which will work well with a silhouette (ie don't pick a photo where you are standing in front of each other, lines work best). This is the one I chose. It was taken by Amy Renea of Allenaim Photography.Now, if you look hard I changed a couple things about this photo to work as a silhouette. I cut out the balloons around my head and I moved Eloise's balloon to behind Henri's head. If you have an infant who isn't able to walk yet too this is a good way to incorporate them into the silhouette. I cut him out of Brian's arms and with the balloon behind his head you can see him completely in the negative space.
To do this I used Photoshop (but Lightroom or PS Elements will probably work as well) and selected the area around us with the lasso selection tool. How? Tediously. I actually took the selection tool and went around every outline by hand. Unless you are standing in from of a solid background it's hard to select the outline without doing it by hand (zooming in as I went of course). Just hold down the shift key when you stop and start so that you don't loose what you just outlined and hold down the alt key when you selected something you didn't want. If you accidently deselect what you've been working on DON'T PANIC just hit Ctl+Z and it will undo what you just did. Also I added a fake balloon around Henri's head by using the elliptical marquee tool.
Once you have everyone selected hit copy. Then start a new document. And hit paste.
Now using the paint bucket tool paint the white areas with any color other than black or white. Green works well.
Now select all of the green. In Photoshop you can go to Select>Color Range>and click anywhere in the green part of the photo. Hit OK. Your green should be selected. Then go to Select>Inverse. Then hit delete. Your family should be filled with white.
Now using your paint bucket tool fill in your entire family with black. Then deselect everything.
Then using the paint bucket tool change the green back to white. Save that file as a jpeg.
Now open the Silhouette Studio software. Go to File>Open>and choose the file you just saved. Adjust size so that it fits on your mat. To do this hold down the shift key and drag the corners inward.
Then go to Object>Trace>and click in the right hand sidebar "select trace area". Drag your cursor over your entire image to select it.
In the right hand sidebar deselect "High Pass Filter" and select "Low Pass Filter". Change The first setting to .75. The second setting should be around 45% and the third setting should be around 10. Now hit "Trace" in the right sidebar.
Now click on your image and hit delete. You should be left with your outline.
Now load your white vinyl in your Silhouette machine (I found that using a cutting mat works best) and hit File>Send to Silhouette. Click "change settings". I've found that the best settings that work for me are blade:3, speed:10, thickness 9. Check the cutting mat box. Then hit cut.
Remove your vinyl from the machine and peel away the negative space. (I made mine on two sheets but in retrospect that was probably too large.)
Now transfer your vinyl to the transfer paper. Take the backing off the transfer paper and press sticky side down to the top of your vinyl. Remove backing from vinyl.
Clean car window with glass cleaner and wipe completely dry. Then stick transfer paper to car window. Try to avoid bubbles.
Remove the transfer paper and done! I had a ton of bubbles mine. To get rid of them I had to go back and peel up the vinyl (so gently) then push them back down which is really tricky because it can stretch or tear the vinyl.