Anniversary Gift

Anniversary was yesterday, but we aren’t doing anything until this weekend. Which buys me some time to belt out a quick gift.

I saw this interesting valentines poem run through on Facebook (courtesy of the laser facebook group).

Lacking any personal flair for art (when given free reign, I make eyes bleed), I googled around. The poem has been used a LOT, so I took inspiration from various versions I saw and belted this one out…

All I did was find some silhouettes in google image search. For a few I didn’t see any decent silhouettes, so I had to make use of some Adobe-fu to generate my own.

Take an image, copy and paste to photoshop. Adjust the levels so you can barely make out the outline you want to keep (this helps remove noise along the outline from off-white and fuzzy things). Then select color range to pluck the background. Fill in solid black, and you have yourself a silhouette.

Once you have a silhouette, pop over to Illustrator and do an Image Trace > Release command (after setting Image Trace for Auto-Color and Ignore White). Save as an SVG.

Slap the SVG in to Inkscape, clip off borders and any other artifacts you do not like with some CTRL+ Click action. Position, and prep to cut.

For the border, I did the same. Searched for frames in Google, selected one that was not a rectangle but also not too flashy. Copied and partially enlarged the border to get a nice ripple edge effect.

I realize while typing all of that up that some screenshots along the way would have been handy. I’ll have to set myself up to webcast my workflow next time I feel like doing a tutorial. Less effort than constant screen capture and image clean-up, and probably more useful in the end.


Nice, I especially like the non-rectangular frame.
I am curious about why you went though both illustrator and inkscape, instead of doing all the operations in one or the other? Is it that illy does a better trace, but you output to your laser from a 'scape plugin? Or is there a more complex reason?

Sweet idea, sweet work: the Glowforge will save many an anniversary and birthday in the years to come!


Happy Anniversary!
We are working on 38th. I did an anniversary gift from an inch thick piece of black walnut on our 22nd that was a cut through, turned out nice.
It said “22years”, with “1979-2001” underneath.

Didn’t realize until I finished it that it looks a lot like an epitaph…
Yeah, didn’t really think that through.

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Primarily it was a personal knowledge/preference issue.

Converting to a vector in Inkscape… should be possible. Haven’t figured out a nice way to do it. But in Illustrator… piece of cake.

Meanwhile, in Illustrator, I cannot figure out how to set precise measurements. So I do all of my layout work in Inkscape.

For this particular project nothing was set with a precision size or location… so I suppose I could have done everything in Illustrator without issue.

Same reason for having used Photoshop as well. Sure, I should be able to reduce an image to outline only in Illustrator. But I couldn’t figure out how to do it. At least, not without investing more time than it took to pop up PS and finish the task in the way I already knew.


Is that a Freudian engrave?

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