I saw these awesome snowflake ornaments at Maryland China and wanted to try laser engraving them. After doing a few test engraves, I wanted to try making some photo Christmas ornaments for relatives. The process is pretty simple–engrave the ornament, color it with a sharpie, then wipe off the excess with rubbing alcohol.
But big dark areas don’t work well on tile/porcelain, so I wanted to find a way to make the photo look more like a line drawing instead. Here’s the process I used in photoshop to go from the original to the laser.
I started with this photo. Unfortunately I didn’t have one without anyone partially cropped out; that would have been way better.
I used the Topaz ReMask filter to cut out the background. Then I used the ellipse selection tool to make a feathered circular selection around the faces, and crop out anything that didn’t fit in a circle:
I didn’t do a great job with the upper right corner. Would probably spend more time on it if I were to do this again.
Then I used Silver Efex Pro to convert the photo to black and white, and crank up the contrast and structure:
Next I used the Toonit! Photoshop plugin to make the image look a bit more like a line drawing. I chose the “ghost” filter because it had a lot of white space even in the areas of the image that are darker.
Finally, I added some text and converted the image color mode to greyscale, then bitmap in Photoshop, using 50% dither. This made the image comprised entirely of black and white pixels, with no shades of grey. I did this because I wanted the image the laser is etching on the ornament to be simple. Also the laser’s variable power settings don’t seem like they’re a good match for these ornaments, where you’re either cutting through the glaze (black) or not (white).
I sent it to the Glowforge at 1000 speed/full power. Colored it in with black sharpie and wiped the excess with rubbing alcohol. Here’s the result: