Saturday, May 31, 2014

Photo to vector for engraving

The only thing I know about engraving is that the vector artwork needs to be created in black and white line-art, and depending on the size of the actual engraving, real small detail should be avoided. There is actually a lot of small detail on the image below and I was sure the engraver was going to reject it but the plaque must have been large enough to hold all the detail. 

Some challenges may arise when changing a multi-color image to black and white LINEART (not black and white grayscale). Elements in the graphic will no longer be defined by different color or shades of gray, they have to be black or white only and you will have to decide which elements are black and which elements are white. Using outlines instead of fills usually works to separate two objects of similar color.

When images are on a color background, removing the background may make the overall feel of the image look different. After playing around with these elements I got a winner.

Monday, May 26, 2014

From Photo to Vector

Here is a recent photo to vector conversion. The project was to change a full color photograph into a simplified vector illustration to be printed using only 3 or 4 colors maximum. (not using the 4 color or full color process but rather 3 or 4 "spot" colors)

The vector file was built with 3 colors: 1. tan, 2. black, 3. red. The gray is a percentage of the black color and can be printed using black ink and "halftone screens". For processes which do not use halftone screens this would be considered a 4 spot color vector illustration: 1. tan, 2. black, 3. red, and 4. gray.

Before online printing exploded as a convenient and inexpensive venue for printing full color, many small printers only had capabilities for printing 1 or 2 color pieces and these were much cheaper than "full color" or "4-color-process" printing. Now most printers can pretty much print anything but there are a lot of processes that still require simplified illustrations with limited amount of colors. Printing on coffee mugs for example (although there are companies like Walgreens that can print a full color photo on a mug), vinyl-cut-stencil-like signs also need limited colors, and the embroidery process are a few that come to mind. Engraving and etching will need black and white only vector graphics - no color.