On the Introduction to Laser Cutting 2 Day Courses, I ask participants to bring a simple black and white line drawing, which I will show you how to convert to a vector file for laser cutting. I often get asked what I mean by this?

Here are two images. I would call (A) a simple black and white line drawing. Why? Because it is drawn from simple, thick, bold lines and everything in the image is very clearly either black or white, there are no mid-tones of grey. The paper is very white and doesn’t have a cast from scanning. In order to get the paper completely white, I have adjusted the brightness (we can do this on the course if you don’t know how to do it in advance).

Image B is a lovely drawing, but it has a lot of very delicate, fine lines and some of them are grey and not dark black and also the paper is not totally white.When it is vectorised, the software may not  read some of the very delicate lines as a solid line, which means this is not a simple line drawing to vectorise.

When we create a vector file from a drawing, the software will take each pixel of the image and read it as either black or white. On image B it may get confused between the pale grey lines and the cast on the paper from scanning. You could still get an interesting result from vectorising this beautiful drawing (B) but for the purposes of the introductory course I would suggest an image that is simple and like image  A rather than image B.

As you develop your skills, you can progress onto creating vector files from subtler, more complex images, to great effect and of course you can always raster engrave a drawing or photograph with subtle tones (rather than cut it). We learn about this on day two of the introductory course 🙂

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