Making a logo from wood
October 31, 2018 12:51 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to create a black and white vector graphic based on a woodcutting. I have access to a nice camera and flash. How do I do this?

See here for a photo of the woodcutting. I tried to take a picture of it with minimal shadows (IE overhead flash) then convert it using both levels and also GIMPs Threshold tool. In both cases I can't make the whole logo black without making part of the white paper behind it black.
posted by selfnoise to Technology (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I’d use Inskape to trace to vectors, then fine adjust by hand, doing things like deleting nodes, joining or splitting bits, and then set final colors for stroke and fill.
posted by SaltySalticid at 12:54 PM on October 31, 2018 [4 favorites]

Try ImageJ's thresholding tool.
posted by dhruva at 1:02 PM on October 31, 2018

Dunno, maybe doing it differently might work better. Is it a size where you could lay it on a sheet of paper and trace it with a pencil? Than scan that (or photograph it) and autotrace it. i think the grain and shadows in the photo of the original piece are going to be hard to deal with.
posted by BillMcMurdo at 1:18 PM on October 31, 2018

Would be very easy to do if you had a scanner or didn't mind popping into a local print or sign shop that does. Going from a photo will require some manual tracing in illustrator or whatever. If you scanned it in, it'd be quick to just adjust in photoshop and then Image Trace in Illustrator for the vectorized finish.
posted by GoblinHoney at 1:36 PM on October 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

Maybe experiment with a light source to get a nice crisp shadow on a white wall, then photograph that. You should only then need to tweak contrast and brightness before doing the vector trace.
posted by pipeski at 2:15 PM on October 31, 2018

I think you might have better luck if you photographed it against a solid black background since even when shooting directly from overhead you have some shadows/edges showing, then you can invert the colors to make the background white and the object dark. If you want your final file to be vector I wouldn't put too much extra effort into the photo and photo processing, though. Instead, I would instead focus on doing a good vector trace by hand in something like Inkscape which your current photo will work fine for as-is. Auto-tracers won't be able to make the same quality of decisions about how a curve or point should look even if you provide them ideal inputs. Think of it as a good opportunity to learn how to use the pen tool. Import the photo, lock the photo layer, trace out branch shapes separately with some overlap and then merge them together into a single object.
posted by metaphorever at 2:27 PM on October 31, 2018 [4 favorites]

Somehow get it flush against the back of a piece of white paper, shine a bright light through the backside, take a picture of the front. Even easier, sandwich it between of a lightbox and a piece of white paper.
posted by shalom at 3:00 PM on October 31, 2018

This was about three minutes of work in Inkscape. I used the Color Quantization trace and finessed out a few errant nodes. Starting with a scanned image would get rid of the perspective issues.
posted by hoboynow at 6:32 PM on October 31, 2018 [2 favorites]

Ink it and stamp it to paper, then scan and vectorize. That's what I do when converting one of my carvings to a shirt design and if you work quick and use a water soluble ink, you can even wipe it off the wood!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:46 PM on October 31, 2018 [2 favorites]

Well, these are all amazing and creative ideas but only one of you actually did the work for me, lol!
posted by selfnoise at 8:02 PM on October 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

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