From time to time we’re asked to prototype and laser cut work for people that don’t have access to a vector design program at all.
Here at Nice-Cuts we use a mixture of programs. We often direct customers to Inkscape, because it’s an open source (free) graphics editor. It’s fairly similar to Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw though It’s designed more for PCs than Macs. There are ways of getting around this if you know how but it can be a bit tricky. Numerous other programs specifically for Mac users can be found with a quick google search. While adobe products are expensive, there are lots of alternatives to be found with much more pleasing price tags.
All this being said, some people still don’t have access to these so recently I’ve being experimenting with tracing options so these customers can still make exactly what they want!
One such customer, Baere Accesories, came to us with this exact problem. She gave us a sketch of her signature design – a bear, or rather a Baere, and asked if we could cut him out!
We said we would give it a go! First off I used Image trace in Adobe Illustrator to create a vector version of him. I’ve written about this method of creating artwork before in a previous blog post ‘Amaziograph the most addictive game’ – read about it hear.
The resulting trace gives us a pretty intricate design. First off I select the outside line to ‘cut’, and all the inside detail to ‘etch’.
I liked how the design was faithfully recreated in laser etching. However, I thought it was far too intricate to be cut out internally which was what the customer was hoping for. The tightly packed patterns as well as the floating dots and hearts were going to cause a problem.
So again I imported the original image into Pro-create (an IOS drawing app for iPad) where I used a new layer to ‘paint’ over the lines creating a cleaner, smother and less fiddly version of the the same Baere that would be more suitable for laser cutting.
So here he is again, minus the dots of course! This time he cuts out beautifully in a fraction of the time too.
I’m pleased with this method and am glad this is something we can offer to customers without the computer skills to create files suitable for laser cutting. So don’t be put off! get in touch and lets see what we can do!