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I am designing a 1:1 height-to-width circular graphic to be printed on a mug. However, when printed on the mug, the graphic looks noticeably squished and oval-shaped as a result of the mug's curvature. This applies to any situation where a graphic is wrapped around part of a cylindrical shape.

Should I squish the design out wider to counter this skinny appearance or should I should leave it as is? Which is good practice? What is usually done in this situation?

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  • This does not make sense to me, if you are saying that the image is not actually wrapped around the entire mug? It is a simple circle that is viewed in its entirety from one point? Who prints it for you, and with what equipment?
    – benteh
    Apr 20 '14 at 22:30
  • ..oh, and images would be good, or use some examples from google.no/…
    – benteh
    Apr 20 '14 at 22:32
  • Added a few words of clarification. It's a circular logo that's only visible on the front and back. It doesn't wrap all the way around; it simply is wrapped on the mug, because mugs are not flat.
    – Keavon
    Apr 20 '14 at 22:33
  • Right. To me it does not sound like this is a design problem/fault, but rather a printer problem. How are they printed? There is the risk that the printer might squish it for "bleed" reasons. Imagine sticking a circular sticker on a mug. Should not be a problem.
    – benteh
    Apr 20 '14 at 22:35
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    But that is because it is a 3d object. If you hold it up to your nose and look at it, it will be a circle. You cannot correct for every point of view. Or have I utterly misunderstood?
    – benteh
    Apr 20 '14 at 22:42
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I've printed hundreds of mugs and always stretched logos and full handle to handle images by about 20% horizontally. (this was for 12 oz. mugs) Benteh seems confused and has provided an image which further confuses the situation. The cylinder is a continuous curve and no matter where you place the logo or where you look at it, the anamorphosis is exactly the same. In the second image of the mug, he has projected a 2D circle onto a 3D mug without regard for the printing process, which wraps a transfer or decal around a cylinder and does not "project" the image onto the mug.

It's easy to experiment, simply print a number of circles with various amounts of horizontal stretch applied, cut them into strips, wrap around an appropriately sized cylinder and see which one looks best. You could even take a picture, thus converting it back to 2D and measure the height and width. I'm sure there is some fancy math formula for this, but hey, we can't all be brilliant math majors and this only costs you a sheet of paper and maybe 20 minutes. While you are at it, you can place the print anywhere on the cylinder and look at it from multiple angles. I promise it will look good no matter what. Be careful about overthinking things like this when a little bit of experimentation will get you to where you want to be quickly. Unless you like to explain to your customers that the logo is perfectly proportioned and it's a trick of perspective making it look oval or rectangular vs. circular or square. I promise they just want it to look good and don't care what you do pre-print to get there. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and money is in the hands of the customer. The first leads to the second every time.

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For a logo on a cylindrical mug? No you should not distort.

That would only make your circle wobbly from a slightly different angle. In fact, from another angle it would look like a blob. We have no problem accepting this copyright C as a circle. If it was, from this angle, a perfect circle, our minds would be a little confused.

enter image description here

It looks wrong, the circle is kind of "falling out" or "off": enter image description here

The mug is a 3D object, and will therefore never be 2D. Our brains are masters of navigating 3D space, and if you tinkered with your circle logo, you will only create Dali-ish melting clock.

Consider streetart. They are heavily distorted to compensate for angle. That is why they only work when viewed from one specific angle. enter image description here

enter image description here

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  • Probably, the primary point of view is more important than secondary side point of view...
    – Ilan
    Apr 21 '14 at 1:53
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Your question is about of particular implementation of Anamorphosis.

wiki.

HELPFUL ADDITION FROM DISCUSSION:

"You should stretch the picture horizontally. I saw some guy sketching the circle on the mug - until it looks perfect to him, then placing on the mug semitransparent paper and copying the "circle" (oval actually) to the paper. Then scanning it - the resulting image match perfectly to the needs - you should understand that he scaled the original pic to the scanned oval."


In order to compensate the spatial image deformation on uneven (i.e. round surface) you should know the observer's point of view - because the picture cannot be seen as "normal" from multiple points you should choose one and the most frequent point is just central front, similar to the situations like when you normally look at the pictures in the museum (you should visit museums regularly!).

For task implementing print on curved surface you should use node deformation of the source image REVERSED to this image -

enter image description here

You cannot create undistorted image wrapping the whole mug, because this implies multiple points of view. I can advise you to print smaller image which not wrapping the whole mug.

I should state that I created anamorphic images by hand and by laser projecting (you can google the topics) and it is absolutely fun: I take a shape and placed it on some distance; next from the observer's point of view I projected laser beam on the borders of the shape (it was just text label as I saw in the internet) and by marking the laser beam projections on the walls I created anamorphic text, similar to this -

enter image description here

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  • Nice detailed answer, but I should clarify some things which it sounded like you didn't understand. The graphic doesn't wrap around the outside of the mug. It's a single logo that can be seen from a single point of view in its entirety. I also don't care about compensating for your height above or below the mug; I am only asking if I should compensate for the wrapping around the cylinder. The viewer isn't touching the mug to their face so it's all about the same distortion factor.
    – Keavon
    Apr 20 '14 at 19:27
  • Ya, it seems that I don't clearly understand what the question is... mug is cylinder for me and you say you don't wrap the mug, but you say about cylinder wrapping... that's unclear to me. Probably, the nodal picture provided describe the compensation for horizontal distortion.
    – Ilan
    Apr 20 '14 at 19:38
  • It's just a circular logo on the front. Due to the fact that it's printed on a mug, it looks distorted so it appears taller than it is wide.
    – Keavon
    Apr 20 '14 at 19:54
  • @Keavon so, you have an answer to your question - you should stretch the picture horizontally. I saw some guy sketching circle on the mug to look perfect to him, then placing on the mug semitransparent paper and copying the "circle" (oval actually) to the paper. Then scanning it - the resulting image match perfectly to the needs - you should understand that he scaled the original pic to the scanned oval.
    – Ilan
    Apr 20 '14 at 20:01
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    That's a tutorial about how to add an image to a photo of a mug, where you obviously need to warp it to fit. This question is asking whether or not I should do the opposite of that warping to fight the warping in a real life mug.
    – Keavon
    Apr 21 '14 at 4:43

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