Laser Cut Prep Workshop

Ricardo took the class for a trip down Adobe Illustrator. Many, many, many things were learnt on this workshop.

I am not one to use illustrator, at all really, only to get the odd vector design if I need one. However, with Ricardo’s patience and structured lecture, he was able to give me a great insight into the programme and give me a good run on how things work. (money well spent)

For this workshop the aim was to prepare us for a Laser Cutting workshop in the next coming days. For something to be cut out, or made, with the laser machine, we had to configure our artwork into different colour lines and thicknesses. We had the pleasure of the laser cut technician come and talk to us, of which he also bought with him some samples. Materials such as rubber, wood, and acrylic were among a few he showed.

A trail run of how to use the Abode Illustrator program was a great insight into some new interface things I have now picked up upon.

I now have the knowledge to work my way around illustrator and understand some of its unique qualities. In regards to the workshop, I was taught how to pick and grab the windows I needed, how to create new colour swatches of true colours (of which are required for the laser cut machine) and rough guide on what the pathfinder tool is good to use for.

The laser cut machine is able to cut straight though a material, engrave with singular lines or block shapes, and cut out things within the design. The machine picks up on the different line colours and corresponds to the design. Cyan, Blue, Red and black are the main colours this machine will respond to.

However, once taking my own work in illustrator and thinking of what I would like to do with my artwork, either on wood or other material, I opened up a whole other investigation as to what can be done!

What I would like to achieve here is to have, the darker layers engraved slightly deeper into wood (or metal) to achieve a depth focus, 3D look. To demonstrate I created a photoshop representation.

I had to first layer my four designs, and make the gradients of grey darker as the image goes further to the back. To give depth.

Once I had found a suitable wood texture, I then colour burnt my design onto the wood, and after some adjustments, it appears to be burnt into the wood, as how I expect the laser to do so.

And finally a quick photoshop render onto a block of wood and I have a representation of my design.

Doing this has helped me think of how much further I can push my design, maybe not for the better, but still push it into different directions. The brief does state to provide minimum of 6 prints in a box, but this just proves that I wont have to stop and producing prints, and how I could use my print designs to create something else entirely. Of course, I would not have seen this design process through, or at all, if it wasn’t for the laser cut prep workshop.






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