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Barbara Buhse
06-14-2005, 10:48 PM
Does anyone know of a program (or a method in corel) to convert a photo to a "paint by numbers" type format? I would like to do some inlay work with photographs.

Barbara

Lee DeRaud
06-14-2005, 11:41 PM
Does anyone know of a program (or a method in corel) to convert a photo to a "paint by numbers" type format? I would like to do some inlay work with photographs.Wish I did. I've been doing this kind of thing for about seven years now (using a scroll saw, not a laser). The general problem is what the computer graphics people call "optimal color reduction" and the results from most of the standard algorithms suck when the number of colors gets below about 16, which is more than double the number I want to work with doing inlay.:( The standard image manipulation programs call it "posterization", and the quality of the results varies wildly depending on what you feed it as input.

My general method usually involves conversion to grayscale, multiple passes of a spot removal filter, posterize to 16 shades, and then manually merge blocks until I get it down to 5 or 6. Then I start assigning wood colors to gray shades to get an idea what the final result will look like. Repeat as needed.

Believe me, it's more of an art than a science. Some photos just do not work, no matter what you do to them. It continues to amaze me that human faces are usually easier than dogs...go figure.

Haven't done much of it yet with the laser, but I'm very impressed with CorelTrace so far for getting the "line art" from my manual process into (semi)laserable form.

And if you find a better way than what I just described, please be sure and come back and tell me about it. :cool:

art baylor
06-15-2005, 11:55 PM
Barbara:

I stumbled across this software. http://www.pegmaris.com/
I don't know if it is compatable into Corel, but maybe.

Art

Lee DeRaud
06-16-2005, 10:15 AM
I stumbled across this software. http://www.pegmaris.com/
I don't know if it is compatable into Corel, but maybe.I downloaded the trial versions of their software last night to play around with. Aside from the paint-mixing instructions it provides, there doesn't appear to be anything in there that isn't in PhotoFinish or Corel PhotoPaint. As I noted in my earlier post, if you don't do a bunch of pre- and post-processing on the input image, the color reduction results are rather underwhelming.

The 'Silhouette' program is somewhat more useful if you start with an input image that is already high-contrast and somewhat abstract. But CorelTrace already does a pretty good job with that kind of image.

The main problem is that the software does exactly what it says it does: generate "paint-by-numbers" pictures. But filling in hundreds of tiny areas with a paintbrush is a whole different thing than dealing with hundreds of tiny pieces of inlay.

Barbara Buhse
06-25-2005, 7:55 PM
thanks for the replies... it sounds much more complicated than I thought, and probably takes alot more time than I am willing to put in... I may just start with geometric style inlays first, they are much simpler!



Barbara

Chuck Burke
06-27-2005, 9:12 PM
Barbara,

Contact Pradhan Balter. He is a Corel guru and might know of a way. His email is pradhan@retlabgraphics.com
You might also want to check out the Corel Draw Users Group (CDUG ) at yahoo groups.
If I understand correctly you want to place " a grid" if you will over the photograph, number the various parts of the photograph, then cut the photograph into pieces and inlay them? Or am I off base?
There is a feature in Corel called PowerClip that will allow you to put a photograph into any shape... perhaps that is what you are wanting to do?

I hope this is of some help
Chuck Burke
American Pacific Awards

Barbara Buhse
06-27-2005, 11:31 PM
Thanks Chuck, I will definitely check out the yahoo groups... I'm not sure what kind of "grid" you mean, yes, if its a grid with irregular shapes to conform to each color, but now that I've read everyones posts, I think it all may be too compicated for me and maybe I should start with something easier, like marquetry (is that the right term?).

Barbara Buhse
Wood Bin Creations Inc.

Lee DeRaud
06-27-2005, 11:55 PM
Thanks Chuck, I will definitely check out the yahoo groups... I'm not sure what kind of "grid" you mean, yes, if its a grid with irregular shapes to conform to each color, but now that I've read everyones posts, I think it all may be too compicated for me and maybe I should start with something easier, like marquetry (is that the right term?).Unless somebody changed the terminology and forgot to send me the memo, what you originally described is marquetry. :cool:

Chuck Burke
06-28-2005, 12:21 AM
Barbara,
If you follow this link...

http://accentonengraving.com/EE/index.htm

it will take you to a page created by a friend of mine on another forum. If you go to the downloads section you will find a "jigsaw" puzzle download that was created in Corel 8 or 9. I think that you are looking for a "version" of this, that you could use as an overlay on the photograph and then cut out various portions of the photograph to inlay it in a substrate of some sort.
The question that I must ask however is, why not just inlay the whole photograph? Cropping the parts that you don't want to fit of course.

Chuck

Barbara Buhse
06-28-2005, 9:29 PM
Unless somebody changed the terminology and forgot to send me the memo, what you originally described is marquetry. :cool:

Lee, my husband is the one that knows all the terminology since he is the woodworker... (of course he's never around when I need him! ):)

I guess what I mean is something more geometric and not quite so abstract would be better to start with. The more we all talk about this, the more confused I get:p

Lee DeRaud
06-28-2005, 11:21 PM
I guess what I mean is something more geometric and not quite so abstract would be better to start with. The more we all talk about this, the more confused I get:pOk, let's see if we can get this straightened out. Is the attached picture the kind of thing you had in mind? I did this one with a scrollsaw before I got the laser. The pattern came from an unlikely source: http://www.carvingpumpkins.com/. By definition, the patterns at this site are already reduced down to at most 3 "colors"...I don't think it would be too tough to pass them through CorelTrace and get the laser to cut the bits out for you. Once you get that end of the process down, you'll have an idea what you're looking for when you manipulate your pictures.

Barbara Buhse
06-30-2005, 3:21 PM
[QUOTE=Lee DeRaud]Ok, let's see if we can get this straightened out. Is the attached picture the kind of thing you had in mind?



:D :D :D YES!!!! Thats exactly what I want to do. I really would like to do it with my own photos, but I see now how complicated the color separation is. So, I will definitely go to this site and practice with some of their files.
By the way, that "Jimi" is beautiful. My husband's scroll saw hasn't been out in years, and I'm sure he will appreciate the art you have created.

Barbara

Lee DeRaud
06-30-2005, 3:49 PM
Thats exactly what I want to do. I really would like to do it with my own photos, but I see now how complicated the color separation is. So, I will definitely go to this site and practice with some of their files.FYI: The "originals" I've done (five people portraits, three dogs, and a big King Tut mask) typically broke down to about 3-4 hours on the computer diddling the image for each hour on the saw cutting it out. The "pumpkin" patterns can pretty much go straight to the saw now that I know what level of detail to ignore, but they'll need some cleanup if I'm going to try to drive the laser with them.

Chuck Burke
06-30-2005, 5:43 PM
I just love happy endings....

Chuck

Barbara Buhse
06-30-2005, 8:53 PM
I've been playing with a portrait of Jerry Garcia all day, the pumpkincarving.com site is great... although the image is downloaded as a pdf file which I can't seem to do anything with. I printed it and then scanned it, but I can't get the three colors true enough for any of my programs to pull them apart into separate objects. (Ex: if I ask a program to "cut out" all the black, it also "cuts out" lots of little specs that were in the grey. I need to separate them and then make them a graphic file (making the graphic file is easy, cutting the colors apart digitally is harder than I thought because scans don't give me pure black white and grey). OR I need to find a way to outline all the parts first and then I can separate them.
any ideas?

Barbara

George M. Perzel
06-30-2005, 9:30 PM
Hi Barbara;
Check out your local library for this book:
Scroll Saw Art: Realistic Pictures in Wood by Pat Spielman
Pretty clever way to use wood to make pics and may be close to what you want-unfortunately appears to be a lot of hand work to segment pics.

Lee DeRaud
06-30-2005, 10:09 PM
I've been playing with a portrait of Jerry Garcia all day, the pumpkincarving.com site is great... although the image is downloaded as a pdf file which I can't seem to do anything with. I printed it and then scanned it, but I can't get the three colors true enough for any of my programs to pull them apart into separate objects. (Ex: if I ask a program to "cut out" all the black, it also "cuts out" lots of little specs that were in the grey. I need to separate them and then make them a graphic file (making the graphic file is easy, cutting the colors apart digitally is harder than I thought because scans don't give me pure black white and grey). OR I need to find a way to outline all the parts first and then I can separate them.
any ideas?

BarbaraI'd try CorelTrace, the 'Advanced Outline' method, and play with the noise filter and minimum feature size settings. You may want to try some different contrast settings for the scan.

Did you try importing the PDF directly into CorelDraw? I don't think it's a bitmap, the file size didn't look big enough. (click, click, mumble, mutter, click) Well, that didn't work :eek: ...might have better luck starting with the GIF version than the PDF, at least that will eliminate the scanning artifacts.

Chuck Burke
07-01-2005, 12:46 AM
Hi Barbara,
I"m glad you are making progress. Isn't learning fun? In a frustrating way?

If I am not mistaken what you need to do, is use CorelPHOTO Paint, after you scan your image. Convert the file to "gray scale". Save the file under a new name.
Now as Lee suggested, open the file in CorelTRACE and do a "trace" or a "trace by outline". This will convert the graphic to a "vector" image. You will then save THAT file, ( CTRL + S ).
Open the traced file in CorelDRAW, and now comes the work. Since CorelTRACE only does an adequate job of "tracing" you will need to use the shape tool to clean up the graphic. ( Think of it as good practice ). Once clean you will need to "ungroup" then select the portions of the graphic you want to want to cut all at the same time, and "group" them. A tedious process, but educational.
With all of that said, I am still learning Corel myself, so there may be an easier way to do it. In the meantime we have something to work with.
I hope this has been some help.

Chuck Burke
American Pacific Awards

Paul Buhse
07-01-2005, 1:37 PM
Hello everyone,

Now I know where my wife Barbara has been hanging out while I'm busy cutting and routing away!:rolleyes: I am however close by, just ask the kids; they know exactly where I can be found! Thanks to all who are helping her out with her marguetry projects. We invested in the laser engraver to add something extra to our small wood working business and she found a market to take her ideas off in a different direction. No complaints from me! I'll just have to wait for my daughter or son to get a little older before teaching them how to operate the saws and shapers in the shop. I'm glad I turned her on to SMC and the professionals who post and share their knowledge and experiences here.

Honey, can I use the engraver later?

Paul

Chuck Burke
07-01-2005, 2:28 PM
Honey, can I use the engraver later?

Paul


Good Luck!!!!!! (insert laugh here)

Chuck

Lee DeRaud
07-01-2005, 3:38 PM
Barbara - Using CorelTrace on the GIF version of the pattern worked fine, but the resulting CorelDraw file is too big to post here. :eek:
I sent you an email about it.

Barbara Buhse
07-01-2005, 5:30 PM
:) :p :) :p :) OK!!! Now we're onto something good here. Thank you again Lee for the e-mail. I owe you some cookies! The info you gave me about the adjustments in Corel Trace really hit the mark. I've erased some of the smaller pieces, and I think I'm ready to laser (yikes!). I will post the final product hopefully soon!


Barbara

Chuck Burke
07-02-2005, 5:59 AM
Lee,
Forgive us newbies, but what is the "noise" filter you mentioned? How do I find it?

Thanks
Chuck

Lee DeRaud
07-02-2005, 11:33 AM
Forgive us newbies, but what is the "noise" filter you mentioned? How do I find it?It's the drop-down list (Off/Low/High) about a third of the way in from the left on the toolbar when 'Advanced Outline' is selected. Just put your cursor over each of those toolbar icons for a few seconds and it will display the name.

We're all newbies on this bus: I never used a Corel product before I bought the laser in March.

Chuck Burke
07-02-2005, 5:12 PM
Thanks Lee,
Another question, the "noise" filter does what?
Chuck

Lee DeRaud
07-02-2005, 5:22 PM
Thanks Lee,
Another question, the "noise" filter does what?
ChuckUh, filters noise? :D

Haven't looked to see exactly what it's doing, but I suspect it's doing some sort of dejagging or antialiasing on the raw bitmap, upstream of the actual edge detector.

Either that or something else. :cool:

George M. Perzel
07-04-2005, 6:38 PM
Inlay Portraits/Silhouettes
<hr style="color: rgb(209, 209, 225);" size="1"> <!-- / icon and title --> <!-- message --> Hi Barbara;(Posted on Wrong Thread)
I'm sure that you know there's more than one way to skin a cat-here's a fairly simple method which may give you something close to what you want, provided you have Photoshop (or similar program):
1.Original picture, cropped and level adjusted (Pic1)
2. Open pic in Photoshop- go to Filter-Artistic-Cutout, play with levels until you get image you like and save as bmp.(Pic2)
3. Open Pic2 in Corel Trace- trace in Outline mode around 60%- save trace result (Pic3)
4. Import Pic3 in Corel Draw-change to wireline view and clean up.(Pic4)
5. To get silhouette-change image in Corel Trace to Black and White and then outline trace. (Pic5)

Each of these steps has many possible variations that you can play around with. Step 2 allows you to change the number of output levels (colors)-more colors, more details (more types of veneer used for inlay).

Have Fun!!
George

Lee DeRaud
07-04-2005, 7:49 PM
Each of these steps has many possible variations that you can play around with. Step 2 allows you to change the number of output levels (colors)-more colors, more details (more types of veneer used for inlay).Yup. Step 2 is really the key to the process, and the devil is in the details. Some pictures will fall right out, no problem, but others will go from having way too much detail to even think about doing as marquetry, straight to being one big nondescript blob of each 'color'.

Barbara Buhse
07-04-2005, 8:52 PM
Thanks George... right now I'm just using Microsoft Picture it. I just bought the new version and haven't installed it yet... the old version does not have very many filters, but your system seems to be just what I was looking for... I'm printing it now and hanging it on my bulletin board! After all this computer work, I hope I don't mess up the lasering part! :)

Chuck Burke
07-05-2005, 4:04 PM
George,
Can the same thing be accomplished ins CorelPHOTOPAINT?

Chuck

Lee DeRaud
07-05-2005, 5:03 PM
Can the same thing be accomplished in CorelPHOTOPAINT?I'll assume you're talking about George's "step 2"...

Most programs call it "posterize". Closest thing I could find in PhotoPaint was under Image|Color Mode|Paletted..., select "Optimized" palette, set "Dithering" to "none", and start dialing down the "Colors" spinner. Once you get close you can edit the resulting palette and/or use the Image|Adjust|Replace Colors dialog to adjust or further reduce the number of colors.

One other thing that can drive you crazy is if you resize a bitmap and save it with "Anti-aliasing" checked (same true for exporting bitmaps from CorelDraw). It leaves "fringes" of intermediate colors at color boundaries. Example: that picture George posted looks like it only has 8 or so colors, but it actually has more than 20, most of which never appear as more than a couple isolated pixels at a time. Not fatal, but it makes the CorelTrace settings rather twitchy: if you end up with way more objects in the trace than you expected, that's probably what happened.

Chuck Burke
07-05-2005, 5:20 PM
Lee,
I was referring to step 2. So much to learn. sigh......

George M. Perzel
07-05-2005, 7:33 PM
Hi Chuck;
I have PhotoPaint but don't use it as I "grew up" as a Photoshop user and really have no inclination to learn another program. I'm sure Photopaint has a great number of plug-ins like Photoshop and something which produces a similar output is available. In PS there are a large number of adjustments to levels, edge accuracy, etc that can change the output quite a bit.(see improved pic below).
The problem with trying to make a portrait inlay (other than a shadow/silhouette) is that its very difficult to find veneers that come close to matching the "final" colors- and trying to find a group of compatible veneer alternatives is pretty tough. I have about 30 or 40 different wood veneers and about a doizen dyed color veneer and it's still tough to get a picture look right. I don't recommend this process as a "make money" use of the laser as it takes a bit of time and patience and not too many people would spend $500 for a wood portrait as that what I figure one would be worth.
George

Lee DeRaud
07-05-2005, 8:17 PM
The problem with trying to make a portrait inlay (other than a shadow/silhouette) is that its very difficult to find veneers that come close to matching the "final" colors- and trying to find a group of compatible veneer alternatives is pretty tough. I have about 30 or 40 different wood veneers and about a dozen dyed color veneer and it's still tough to get a picture look right.It's a little spooky sometimes how much detail you can strip away and still have a recognizable image...but it takes just the right image to start with, and you usually won't know it it really worked until it's done.

I've been using the adhesive-backed veneers from Rockler, mostly to make the assembly process a bit more tractable. (A side benefit of this stuff when cutting a stack of it with a scroll saw is that the adhesive pushed into the saw kerf by the blade helps hold the stack together as you cut.) There are about 8 useful species in that series, and I find myself occasionally staining individual pieces after cutting to get features that don't justify an entire separate color.

I don't recommend this process as a "make money" use of the laser as it takes a bit of time and patience and not too many people would spend $500 for a wood portrait as that what I figure one would be worth.Roger that, at least for custom portraits. Doing this on a one-off basis makes the laser redundant, because it speeds up the least time-consuming part of the process. I still think it has a place for "production" marquetry, assuming you can leverage multiple copies against the image manipulation...it's a lot like silk-screening in that respect.

Of course, the whole perspective changes if there's a really good reason to do one: the very first one I did was a portrait of my parents for their 50th anniversary.