1st Test preparation
Before laser cutting the image I had to prepare it so that it was suitable for rastering.
As I was unable to see the archives before when I had booked the laser cutter I decided to test with the arch image of the royal visit.
The first thing I did with this image was make sure I had the best version of the image that was available online. The version still was not particularly great so I used letsenhance.io to improve the images quality. This greatly enhanced the photo, increasing it from 500px by 372px to 2000px by 1488px.
I then started working with this image on photoshop.
The first thing I did was remove most of the background through layer masks. I made a variety of masks with different elements missing in each. First the whole arch, almost all of the image, only removing the back of the building and the bottom two steps. I then did masks cutting the black area in the arch, the steps, the whole arch and then used these to create different combinations, down to there being one of just the people. I also applied a layer to make the image black and white.
I had asked the technician about lasering onto acrylic and he had said that the results were generally not very good. Due to this I had been quite concerned about it working. In case it did not work I had tried to think of ways around it.
I saw work by https://www.instagram.com/barmenarts/ and thought that this could be the solution. If laser cutting the image in did not work, I could use solid halftone lines to create a see-through image, but you could still see the image.
I investigated how to create halftone images on photoshop. As I wanted to use lines the only method was to turn the image into a bitmap. I do not like using destructive processes, but this was the only way.
As I wanted to make sure that the whole image stayed together when cut I added a pale grey background so that the lines would include there. I had to convert the image to greyscale before converting it to a bitmap.
I altered the settings for the bitmap halftone to one that I thought could work, as I did not want the lines too thin to be cut. I went with it being 10 lines per inch. I also set it so that the lines were at 45°, as this improved the visuals of the image, and was a great improvement on legibility compared to straight lines. Once happy I also added a black border for all the lines to attach to. I also had to carefully inspect each line to ensure that there where no gaps in them. Where there were gaps, I filled them in.
Once I was happy with all of the different test images I had I saved them as jpegs so that they could be opened for rastering on the university’s software, with each different test clearly labelled.