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I took the advanced techniques for the laser cutter class at the TechShop http://www.techshop.ws  .  The teacher was really good and I wished we had had more time since he definitely had more to teach. It is always a good idea for me to go in to the TechShop soon after a class and try things out to better retain what I learned. I decided to play around with photo options.

Step 1:

I use Corel Draw which Is used at TechShop (along with Adobe Illustrator) I uploaded the profile picture I had taken of my granddaughter and then traced it to make it into a vector drawing. It reminded me a lot of a topical map. I got rid of the back ground by using the point and delete and also the eraser.

Step 2:

then I chose the epilog "dash board" - the advanced set up option. I chose the 3D set up which is strictly a raster setting.

Step 3:

I watched the laser do its etching.

Step 4:

I tried tweaking things a bit using other photos of other grandkids. None was very successful. If you look very closely you can see some dimension to the etching. But I obviously have a lot more to learn about transferring photos to the laser cutter. Next time I will take the pictures with a white sheet as a background which will give me a head start. (you can see I opted not to remove all the background in one of the photos) Maybe I should first turn the photo into more of  a 'drawn' image.
All sorts of options for playing around at the TechShop.http://www.techshop.ws next time.
In the meantime the kids enjoyed seeing their silhouettes. 
Looking through some 3D etching graphics available online, it looks like the best way to achieve the look is to make sure your picture runs the full range of 256 gray levels. Lighter is higher, darker is lower (rather than varying frequency, 3D mode varies intensity with darkness). <br> <br>I have had some luck creating basket weave patterns for wooden buttons using gray gradients.
I played a bit with the 3D settings myself, and found that multiple passes <br>helped a lot. In my experiment, anyway, each pass had a bit of depth <br>difference between light and dark colors in the image, and 2 or 3 passes <br>made the difference more significant.
love the idea, you should keep working at it!
Awesome! I love silhouettes!

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