Great, very impressed with the raster engrave detail. Nice touch adding the cork to finish off the bottom.
Wow, @Tony these look amazing!!! I just know all my friends and relatives are probably going to be sick to death of all the coasters I’ll be handing out once my glowforge comes- such a great way to test out design ideas plus they look amazing and high quality.
I’d noticed some great manhole covers in Italy but never thought to take pictures of them! Guess I’ll just have to go back, and make a quick stop in Japan while I’m at it
What a simple but great project. Just had to ask, how difficult was it to do this in illustrator? I don’t really want to learn the intricacies of design software.
There are some great tutorials on YouTube to learn any of the programs out there.
Me being cheap, ok frugal I use Inkscape it is free. Fairly easy to use and a lot of great plugins for use with the laser.
If you are already familiar with Illustrator, it isn’t difficult, but it is extremely time-consuming for designs like those. They are very detailed, and the colors between the design and the background in the photos are so similar that each would have to be manually traced. The Auto-Trace function in Illustrator can’t pick it up accurately. (Same for Inkscape, unfortunately.)
He’s got many hours, (even days), of hand trace work in those things.
I thought all manhole covers everywhere just looked like this or something similar. I am going to spend a lot more time looking at my feat when we travel. I love how the coasters turned out. They’re beautiful.
When people mention ‘hand tracing’ in illustrator, am I correct in imagining that workflow being literally like, tracing over everything with your mouse or drawing tablet set to the pen tool? (or whichever standard draw tool illustrator has- I really need to get better at that program haha).
I know the auto-trace feature is kind of shaky, but I wonder if doing some tone/contrast adjustment of the image in photoshop could help at all. Though I suppose with the manhole covers being varying shades of grey it wouldn’t be very successful
Those are great! They get more ideas flowing through my head.
I just recently stumbled across this method of making t-shirts of manhole covers and have had my eye out for some interesting ones NOT on a major thoroughfare.
Tony, this is a great idea. I have lots of pictures of manhole covers i took in China last year. What a cool way to use these images with the Glowflorge. I’m so looking forward to getting my forge and being able to start doing work like this.
Those are fantastic! I also appreciate seeing some engraving details, I feel like most of the examples we see from beta testers are cut examples, it’s really nice to see some quality detail engraving! Fantastic work! December can’t come soon enough!
Well, yes and no. There is a type of drawing with curves called a Bezier Curve, and that is what Illustrator uses.
The way it works is, you use the pen to affix a point and then drag a line out, following the drawing underneath, and then add additional anchor points as you go to fix the developing line in place. Each point affects the next point in line, by means of a pair of handles. Dragging on the handles changes the curvature of the line between the two points. The way to use it is to place a point wherever the curvature in a line changes direction.
It makes for a very smooth line with the least amount of points possible, but it can be a bit tricky to learn to use until you play with it some.
Illustrator does also have a pencil tool, that can be literally used to just trace over the image, but it is not as easy to use if you are looking for precision. (It makes a mess.)
(If anyone wants to use Illustrator for hand tracing, I would HIGHLY recommend purchasing the Xtreme Path plugin from Nakae Corporation. It ain’t cheap, but it increases your ease of editing on paths exponentially.)
(BTW Steph…I know you know what a Bezier curve is as an architect…that explanation was for others who don’t.)
Oh no not the Bezier Curve!! Haha I cannot for the life of me ever get that tool to work. Major major kudos to @Tony for that kind of patience!
I often start with a rectangle and then convert it to curves. From there, I move and add points as needed. Once I have the shape very roughly created in straight lines, I then convert each line to a curve and shape it as needed using the Bezier curves. For me, that works better than the right way @Jules described. That’s in CorelDraw. I imagine Illustrator can work similar.
I agree, at first Bezier curves are awkward to work with. But after memorizing all the various keypresses that make different things happen, like sharp corners, it gets to be pretty fun and powerful.
Thanks for the tips! I’m hoping it’s one of those “I’m just being stubborn” things where once I actually try to work with the tool it’ll get better
I’ve done something similar many a time…there is no one right way to do things.
The reason that I suggested the Xtreme Path plugin, is that once you have that installed, you can take the paths that you have created and just drag directly on the path to reshape it, instead of having to mess around with the handles…you can start with a cube and turn it into a circle. It is tremendously powerful, and the one plugin I would not do without, and actually purchased twice when upgrading the computers over the years.
!!! Im not a teacher…lol. I know what it is and use them alot in graphic design…but to explain it??
A Bezier curve is a mathematically defined curve used in two-dimensional graphic applications. The curve is defined by four points: the initial position and the terminating position (which are called “anchors”) and two separate middle points (which are called “handles”). The shape of a Bezier curve can be altered by moving the handles. The mathematical method for drawing curves was created by Pierre Bézier in the late 1960’s for the manufacturing of automobiles at Renault
Basically, when you move one part of the curve, it effects the other part keeping a nice curve shape instead of creating pointy parts…lol
I love urban design like that. And Japan’s sense of shibui is so attractive. I really love all the Japanese family crests as they are such gorgeous examples of simple, strong graphic design.
I’m always snapping up on trips gigs worth of architectural, signage and craftsmanship details. I love patterns, tessellations, ancient symbologies, typefaces and whimsical creatures in ceramic, stone and manuscript.
I have completely wasted so many opportunities. I lived in 5 cities in Ukraine with great manhole covers - one city in particular had memorable designs. Plus cities in Russia.
I’d love a set of coasters that featured covers from the places I’ve lived… almost as much as I’d enjoy the traveling to get photos.
Except that Ukraine is maybe not safe right now for a Yankee. One of my former frequent shopping markets is now a crater, for example.
Depending on your photo, live trace can be helpful in starting to generate vector art from designs like these. You may not get a perfect trace, but the curves created can then be directly edited to tweak.