I remembered that Google lets you browse all kinds of patents and I spent a chunk of time searching for all sorts of patents. It is a fun place. It’s worth keeping in mind that even if there isn’t a thumbnail there are still images. You can also sort by age if you’re looking for older/newer material or look by inventor or company.
My first goal was to find something interesting. I look at everything from lightbulbs to submarines but eventually settled on this machine gun. It reminded me of a video game it was so massive looking. That got me the image below.
I put it in Photoshop and attempted to improve things using mainly brightness/contrast but wasn’t thrilled with the results. They didn’t look much different that what you see above.
So I put it in Illustrator and ran a live trace with the black and white logo as the base setting and touched it up a bit. That improved things some. Not perfect in terms of the lettering but good enough for my purposes here.
The next step was to add some grid lines for that extra-patent-y feel. I download this grid (which I’m guessing isn’t something that can be under copyright) and put it down as a layer over the top of everything. Which gets me much more than I want.
A little bit of adjustment to the layer properties makes it a much less prominent feature.
Add a quick border.
And finally, I decided to add some texture using this grunge texture pack. I put the image as a top most layer and adjusted the layer properties again to make it pretty much transparent. And that’s all there was to it. I’m pretty happy with it for about 30 minutes of what I consider relaxation work.