Introduction: Buildings of Detroit Puzzle

I’ve completed my newest project at TechShop Detroit, a Buildings of Detroit Puzzle. The buildings are all laser-etched, so the real challenge was trying to get the design right.

Step 1: The Test Etch

I used Adobe Illustrator and at first just dropped in the color photographs and etched them as they were. What came out was mostly a brown blob that bore some resemblance to a building. Since the key is to have contrast, I went and made each image black and white and increased the contrast so the blacks were really black and the whites were really white.

Step 2: Tinkering With the Illustration

I was starting to get some more detail, but there were still some areas, especially on the Belle Isle Aquarium at the top, where parts looked sort of smeared out. I tinkered with the file a bit more, and finally got it to where I liked it. They’re still imperfect and kind of look like rough sketches, but I think I like it that way.

Step 3: Finished Product

Finally, once I got the building illustrations where I wanted them to be, I decided to change how each puzzle piece was cut. Instead of just circles around the building, I used the pen tool in illustrator to make the building cut-outs in the shape of each building, making each piece unique.

I made it at TechShop.


wilgubeast made it! (author)2012-08-20

This might make a good entry in the Hands-On Learning Contest. Add a learning objective to the intro, then submit to the contest. I'm sure that young Michigan students learn Michigan or Detroit history over the course of their historical education, so this might fit nicely.