I spent a several weeks back in March/April figuring out the workflow. The image is edited heavily in Photoshop.
I isolate the subject on one Photoshop layer and the background on another layer. Anything in the background that isn’t visible (for instance, part of the letters ‘S’ and ‘T’ in the word ‘STORIES’ that are occluded by the robot’s head) has to created and painted into the background layer.
Each piece is it’s own case. I’m working on one now that involves no less than 4 layers.
Then, each of the Photoshop layers is printed on a color laser printer using 11 x 17 heavy stock paper. The paper is mounted on 1/8" baltic birch and the element cut out on the Glowforge.
“Lining up the cut” requires juggling the image in 5 separate programs, one of which is a high-end vertical application I typically use for CNC work. Let’s just say it consumes the bulk of the workflow, involves node-editing SVG files and scaling the output to an accuracy of 1/100 of an inch.
Once all the physical pieces have been cut on the Glowforge, I cut slots in an oak base using my CNC machine, stain and finish the oak, apply felt to the bottom and call it done.
I’m attaching pictures of the original source image (scifi magazine cover) and a couple other subjects that I’ve done.
One I just finished as a gift for a co-worker who is a Pearl Jam fan: