By now, most readers should be familiar with Caseskins
- the printable, self-adhesive vinyl you can use to theme a case in minutes. We have been using them for two years now, and other companies have now expanded to skinning mobile phones, PSP and Nintendo DS handhelds as well as all major consoles.
As good as they are, even the best CaseSkin is no substitute for a well executed paint job and in some cases, a skilled airbrush artist can match the detail possible using Photoshop to design a CaseSkin.
One of the biggest talents out there is Jim "Smooth" Saling. Based in White City, Oregon, Jim has over 15 years of experience in the 'automotive finishing' industry. That's painting cars to you & me. Not just any cars mind you: Lamborghini Diablo, Dodge Viper, various muscle cars and Hot Rods litter his CV.
Having turned his attention to our favourite pursuit of modding computers, Saling's company Smooth Creations
has been commissioned by the likes of Alienware and ATI to create one-off masterpieces.
The work doesn't come cheap: the paint alone costs around US$50 and depending on whether you have a desktop case or notebook sprayed, the labour will set you back US$300-500. Sound a bit crazy? Take a look at some of their notebook creations before you pass judgment.
If you have the cash to splash, you could do worse than have Smooth Creations spray your dream design. For everyone else, these examples below give you an idea of what is possible. We'd strongly suggest you use an old desktop case for practice before you go to town on your new VAIO but you can't say it isn't tempting to have a go yourself.
Have you ever tried airbrushing a case or notebook? Whether it was a Picasso or Pieceofcrappo, we'd like to see some home-grown efforts posted in our Forums
. The best / worst efforts will win a Limited Edition bit-tech case badge to adorn their creation.