View Full Version : Help with a Design Please!

Wayne Grecco
01-13-2015, 9:58 PM
To all,

I have a customer that wants a memorial stone for her friend. I have done these for pets and am in no way good at getting the photos ready to be engraved so they come out great. I have been able to "squeak by" with the few Ive done, but this one I really dont want to screw up and would love to have it come out awesome! Especially seeing that the customer wants the stone for a memorial service next week for her friend.

Would anyone be willing to process this photo and get it ready for engraving on black marble (LaserSketch brand) for me? I would GREATLY appreciate it!

You guys and gals have always been great and I thank you!


Isaac Clarke
01-14-2015, 5:54 AM
You will have a tough time with this particular photo, once engraved it will look very washed out(except the eyes). I'd recommend asking for a different picture.

Dan Hintz
01-14-2015, 6:28 AM
I'm with Isaac... that's not going to look right without a lot of work, particularly because the hair is already softened. Hair is a defining feature for people, so you want it to be sharp.

Wayne Grecco
01-14-2015, 7:37 PM
Thanks for the input guys! I have contacted the customer to see if I can get a new photo


Wayne Grecco
01-14-2015, 7:49 PM
Customer just recontacted me. She provided me 2 more photos. Do you think either one of these would work better?

The other question is... She says she REALLY would like to use that original image that I provided in this thread. She also said she has a friend who is a graphic designer and is a whiz with photoshop and wants to know if her friend would be able to do something with that photo to get it to work but wants to know what to tell her friend. WHAT DO I TELL HER? I have no idea where to even start!

Thanks again for all the input!

Scott Shepherd
01-14-2015, 7:55 PM
Wayne, it's unlikely that someone can fix that original photo. The problem is someone applied some effects to it already. It has a blurry vignette around her that makes some of her facial features even disappear (bottom lip and bottom teeth). If she had the original photo from that shot, you could probably do something with it. Of course the new photos, the one by the tree is a total mess too. Let's see....all black clothes, white face, white hair, dark gray background. That photo could be salvaged and used, but you'll have to change the color of her clothes away from black (gray) and probably lose the background. I'd see if she has the original file from the first one, before someone but that blur on it.

Also, we haven't talked about photo sizes at all. You're posting them here, asking for help, but I'm hoping you have downsized them to be able to post them on the forum and you have much larger photos that she sent you. If not, and all you have is little bitty photos, it's going to be a challenge. Not something you can't do, but not something that's going to be easy or quick.

Wayne Grecco
01-14-2015, 9:02 PM

Thanks for your input. I am waiting to hear back to see if she has the original photo without anything done to it. Now regarding the photos I have attached... the one with the colored dress... All I need is the head portion of her to engrave. So the background etc would be ok taken out. If we take out the background and the rest of her body, would that work? The size I need the image to be when I engrave it approx 6" x 6"

Scott Shepherd
01-14-2015, 9:18 PM
You might be able to make it work on 6" x 6", but it's less than desirable.

Wayne Grecco
01-14-2015, 10:51 PM
She sent me a new photo. Would this one work better? If so, would someone be willing to process the photo for me? I would GREATLY appreciate it!

Bernie Fraser
01-15-2015, 2:11 AM
Wayne I don't think anyone can do anything with that photo either. Somebody has already done some softening up work on the photo, look at the hair and under the eyes. It does not look normal under the eyes, also you have some prominent cross hatching in the image. See if they can find the original.The better the image to start with the better your final product will look. If somebody tries to sharpen up the image to get a good engraving all the little defects will sharpen up as well. Even if somebody can find a good hard copy of a photo that you or someone else can scan at high resolution may be an option.

Dan Hintz
01-15-2015, 7:02 AM
Customer just recontacted me. She provided me 2 more photos. Do you think either one of these would work better?

The one on the railroad tracks has great potential, if you have a high-resolution version. I could certainly work with the one against the tree, too, but Steve's comments about it apply. The repost of the original photo has the same issues as the original... if it's not detailed, you're simply not going to get any detail back. Her hair will look like a fluffy cloud, and people want to see definition there. Personally, I don't think the softening effect on the original photo was applied very well... it was applied too heavily, ruining the picture itself, regardless of it being sent to you for the laser. The person behind the filter effect simply did not know what they were doing with it, and in using it has ruined the ability to salvage the picture.

Glen Monaghan
01-15-2015, 11:05 AM
This may be another one of those situations where it is better to abandon the notion of creating a "photo" and instead convert to a "drawing". There was a recent thread about this, using "artistic" tools to convert the marginal photo into something more like a pencil or charcoal drawing where the edges are prominent while the "flatter" areas (such as cheeks and forehead) can be minimized/eliminated, or artificially textured if need be.


The image on this companion urn started out as a blown-out photocopy of all things... no photograph available. The man's forehead was completely gone, as was the woman's coat. I drew in the forehead line, used local histogram adjustments to pull out a couple of the more prominent wrinkles in her coat and added the rest plus some texture so it wasn't all white. Took a fair bit of manual, localized tweaking. Dialing in the details took three test burns on scrap wood and another couple of final tests on cutoffs of the cherry used to make the urn. I still am a bit embarrassed by the poor quality result despite knowing I had a crap picture to work with and the fact that the family was delighted with it.

Just let the customer know that you can't guarantee great results because you have a poor image to start with, give it your best shot, and let them be the judge. But figure it will be an economic loss, taking far more time and effort than you possibly expect.

Dee Gallo
01-15-2015, 9:38 PM
You can try an experiment with this, Wayne. I made it 6x6 so you don't have to resize. The image was inverted and treated to the Gold Method in Photoshop (creating a dot pattern). You can also invert and engrave as a greyscale image. Try it both ways and see if you like either one.

cheers, dee