View Full Version : Project Freedom Portraits

Ed Newbold
09-21-2007, 12:36 PM
In the current issue of Creative Woodworks and Crafts, Holiday 2007, pg 17 has a story bout the scroll sawers donating cut portraits to families who has lost a loved one. While the article is very interesting and heart warming, I'm also wondering about the technical side of digitizing a portrait like they show into a vector image.

Does anyone know how it's done. As many of these portraits as the cut, it appears to me the scroll saw folks have the process down pat. I'd like to learn how to do it too, so I can then use the image to laser out the portraits.

Thanks for your advice,

Darren Null
09-21-2007, 12:54 PM
Best: (bitmap)
Photograv --> CorelDraw --> laser

2nd best: (bitmap)
Photoshop--> Photoshop + Andromeda Screens or Etchtone filter (dealer's choice)--> CorelDraw--> laser
(The filters may run directly from CorelDraw)

Trace image in Coreldraw. That'll give you a vector that you can burn. Stylised.
Ditto in Adobe Illustrator- personally I think that the Adobe image tracer is better, but your mileage may vary. Stylised.
Convert to 1-bit in Coreldraw. Bitmap, and not very good, frankly. But a result of sorts and doesn't require any extra soft. Stylised.
Photocopy filter in Photoshop. Bitmap, and an improvement on Corel's 'convert to 1-bit' in my opinion. Stylised.

1) Convert the source image to 300dpi first, otherwise you may forget. If the image is the right size and you just want it LABELLED 300dpi, uncheck the 'resample' box. This is important because if CorelDraw thinks it's 72dpi then that's all it'll burn at.
2) MOST IMPORTANT- Use the 'unsharp mask' filter on your image and use it hard. Radius 4 pixels, 500%. That'll detect the edges and make the final image come out a great deal better. You could even give it another unsharp mask after that.
3) When saving images in photoshop to import into CorelDraw for the final layout and burning, use the TIFF format. CorelDraw can be a bit wilful with some other formats. Use TIFF and save yourself from possible brain-damage.

EDIT: The top 2 are bitmap, not vector, but I presume you were after results and not style. Have a look at this thread for the sort of results you can achieve:
You'll get similar quality on black marble (but you have to invert the image, as it burns white). Less definition on wood, and the definition you do get depends very much on the wood you use.

EDIT AGAIN: If you're after silhouettes cut out, you'll need an image with a background all one colour. Trace in CorelDraw, with the 'remove background' box checked. Create outline. Delete everything but the outline. Burn.

Stephen Beckham
09-22-2007, 8:39 AM
Ed - my wife bought the book from Woodcraft (Scroll Saw Portraits by Gary Browning). It shows a twelve step process to take an image and change it to a scrollable image.

It all deals with the removing the background, shadowing and shading, closing lines and opening lines, then imagination and a bit of artistic (in my case autistic) translations... The piece of art to it with the scroll is to keep it all one piece -you can't have eiyes falling out of the center.

I played with the process to get her started and then she became much more proficient than I. I haven't converted a photo for years. I figured she could have the scroll saw and I'd take the laser...

You might be able to google the process also. In some cases the Trace might work - but it won't give you the solid piece you'll need for scrolling or in our case lasering. Yes - it does work with the same image to laser if converted correctly. Also - there might be some X3 filter out there that might do the same.