Getting Started with my First Image

Ok everybody - first off the forums here are the best around, lol.
Yes, that was a “butter you up comment” even though it is entirely true.

(This is an image I have of a friend’s photograph of a dahlia). I’d like to make it into a coaster.

Anyhow… I have my first custom image I’d like to engrave and cut out. I’ve done the samples, used the scan feature, and am now wanting to use the computer to get the graphic ready to use. Cut and engrave.

I have and am pretty good with Adobe Photoshop Elements, but I read you can’t do the “cut” part and converted to svg files aren’t that great. Suggestions? Inkscape? Help! Thanks a bajillion and one.

L. Beth McKinney
Cardinal Curiosities


What are you trying to cut?

The outline of the flower, so it’d have a “scalloped” edge?

A circle?

A square?

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First thing first, I’d pump the contrast on that image.

Using Gimp and Inkscape, I did the following:

Used magic wand to select the white background. inverted selection (to select the flower). Copy.

New layer with transparent background.

Paste into new layer. Now you have flower on transparency.

Delete original layer.

Crop the empty space.

Adjust curves to get a bit more contrast.

Export as PNG.

meanwhile, in inkscape

Open a new document.

Drag the cropped transparent PNG into the inkscape window.

Make a square. Scale to 4 inches.

Do the same for a circle.

Scale the dahlia to be 3.5" tall.

copy and paste the dahlia.

Use alignment tools to align the flower to the shapes.


Upload the svg to this post.


Strangely the images aren’t showing up in the preview. Download it, they should be in there. (7.8 MB)


I love questions like this becasue you get to see how everyone else does things. :slight_smile:

If you want a scalloped edge here’s what I’d do.
-I’d import the bitmap flower into your drawing program, select the drawing pen and trace around the edge. The “B-slpine” drawing tool is perfect for this and it just took a couple of minutes to get the vector outline. I agree with @evansd2 and made a few adjustments to the flower too. I upped the contrast a bit, used a brush tool to dodge (lighten) the overly dark center, darkened the two bright petals a bit, “unsharp mask”, then “sharpen”. Then I took the brush again and used it to selectively sharpen the beautiful water drops a bit more. (See bottom pic.)

I’m not sure where the draw tool is in your program, but here’s what it looks like in Corel.

Here’s my SVG example. (1.7 MB)

What it looks like…


Actually, I would copy visible to new layer and then Edit > Clear will leave just the Flower and inverting the selection you can create a path so you can grab that selection at any time. then if exported to PNG you have a nice clean image that can use the trace function in Inkscape for a clean cut vector.

I always copy visible so I keep the original pristine in case I need it again and then freeze that layer so it does not show up again.


About the same, yes. The key in both cases is to be sure your new layer has a transparent background.


Just to add to the “What other people do” thing, I have Photoshop so I select the back ground, invert selection then go to Paths. Make path from selection the save path. You can then copy past the path into Illustrator and place the image in it. I am not sure how this would work with Elements and Inkscape.


Yes!! More people need to know about this. I’m always a little sad when someone says you can’t make vectors in PS.


Goodness - thank you everyone! I can’t wait to try out the suggestions.

Yes, the outline of the actual flower.

I don’t recall being able to copy/paste paths to Illustrator from PS (I did try a while back). I thought you had to export paths to Illustrator.

Clear works on any but the first layer, start a new layer with a white background and hit clear and it becomes transparent background.


That is still true.

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Sometimes I am able to select the paths copy and then paste them in Illustrator. I have the latest CC cloud version. Strangely this doesn’t work randomly. But it does most of the time.

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