View Full Version : Engraving ideas

12-08-2014, 07:18 AM
Hi Folks,

I have a project where I'm modeling and animating a wood engraved map. 125942125944

The map layers were all imported illustrator eps files and as you can tell quite complex. This is actually a project I am cutting on my CO2 Laser. I'd like to simulate wood laser engraving of the text, roads and graphics layer into the top land layer. Every attempt at boolean ideas has not worked. I even tried one method that took 21 hours to complete and it wasn't right. I'll be bringing the camera very close to the layers so seeing the slightly indented text would look so much better than flatley laying on top.

The text and graphics are all on one layer that imports. Can I merge them all some how with the land area and then select them using their applied surface and extrude them down into the land layer? Just not sure how to do this and I've been trying for a week so I hoped to enlist the wisdom of you great folks. I can process things differently from Illustrator too if that makes more sense but I've tried a lot of different things with no luck.

Thanks in advance,

12-08-2014, 08:12 AM
Dean - hey that model so far looks really nice. You say Booleans didn't work - in what way didn't it work? Have you tried extruding up the text layer - moving it below your highest ground layer, and then using stencil to get the text onto the highest ground layer. Then select the text and bevel down a little? Post some additional pics to show how your Booleans aren't working - maybe that will help us figure it out.

12-08-2014, 09:12 AM
Hi Steve,

Thanks and great to hear from you! The booleans seem to be so complex they either hang for literally days (i've waited that long to see if it would work). I'm trying what you are suggesting now. the land layer is a non-extruded flat layer. (in the images I sent it was extruded 1/4" like all the other layers). I figured if I try to "knock out or stencil" the text and graphics it would be easier to do it on a non-extruded layer. The spinning cursor has been going for 20 minutes now with nothing yet. BTW, let's be very accurate in each step. I have the layer of land visible and the extruded text/graphics below but sharing the face of the land too. Should it be completely below and not touching? I can't just "test" so easily as it takes forever to do anything if it even does. I then selected solid drill and chose stencil with the the layer text/graphics selected in the layer select. Should that be the land layer instead?

Thanks for any input!

No further pics yet because nothing happens....

12-08-2014, 09:19 AM
The text layer needs to be intersecting the top land layer. At least that's how I always do it. It should make no difference if the upper land layer is extruded or not - you still would just have single polygons that are the top face of the land - stencil will ignore the vertical parts of the extruded land layer. I suggest just trying one word to stencil - just to see if this will work. I honestly don't see how it can't work - but hey I've been wrong many many times before!

12-08-2014, 09:24 AM
If you are using Solid Drill, then yes the text has to go below the plane.
But if you use Drill you can stencil the flat graphics (not extruded)(.... might save some time?) through the Y axis onto your plane.

Both require the plane to be in the foreground layer AND the graphics in background layer.

edit:.... ultimately though, you want a subtraction out of a solid right?
I agree with Steve, try something simple to get the process down. Then, when ready, divide up the actual Boolean into phases... 1/2 at a time? 1/4?

(I was typing while Ernest was typing.... ditto)

12-08-2014, 09:27 AM
One thing that would help is if you slice up that large land mass so you're not trying to run your stencil or boolean on a polygon with so many points. Slice it up into smaller pieces and then run your operation on just the selected area that needs the detail.

12-08-2014, 10:44 AM
One thing that would help is if you slice up that large land mass so you're not trying to run your stencil or boolean on a polygon with so many points. Slice it up into smaller pieces and then run your operation on just the selected area that needs the detail.

Okay... so I pulled just the word "florida" out of the text/graphics layer into a new layer. Created a single layer box (same size as map but with only 4 points) with default surface on XZ, no Y depth, and placed the "florida" text layer in background. You need to surface the text layer (called it "engraved") in order to select it later before beginning the drill operation. With new 4 point box layer in foreground and "florida" layer in background - Select drill - stencil - "engraved" selected on drop down menu and Y axis selected. [ENGAGE] The operation took about 15 seconds and the result was the "florida" polygons were merged with the simple box layer. A selection of "engraved from the statistics panel resulted in "florida" being selected in polygon mode. Bevel down a bit and the surfacing follows resulting in exactly what I wanted. A engraved laser look.

Upon trying that, I did the same action steps only this time I used the actual map layer instead of the simple 4 point box. Spinning wheel for the last 30 minutes so far which makes this unusable considering all the other parts of the graphics and text that have to be done as well.

Ernest's idea of slicing up the map layer will be the only logical way to go. That makes me think the type of slicing is important. I mean if it's possible to slice it up so that the huge point counts along the land edges could be avoided the point count would be much lower in the select areas.

I'm concerned about slicing and then merging everything back together to act as one layer for positioning and renders. Thoughts? (over 40 minutes now and it still hasn't stenciled...)

12-08-2014, 10:56 AM
Don't worry about the merging everything back together - it's not a big deal at all. If you think about it - the top ground surface is a single flat polygon with a bazillion points. If you slice up that polygon to make stenciling easier (let's just call them polygon A and B) - the resulting polygons are still on the exact same elevation and the edges of polygon that separate A and B are in the exact same location. So you don't need to merge once you stencil them - they are in the exact same place so they will render correctly without a line showing between A and B. You will eventually be slicing up A and B - into dozens of separate polygons - that you then stencil - selecting them one at a time. You don't even have to put those polys in separate layers - just select polygon "B", stencil the text in the background layer, then deselect, and select polygon "C" and repeat. Once done - select all the text polys - bevel down - and that it - it will render correctly. I promise....what could go wrong? ;-)

12-08-2014, 10:58 AM
Now that I look a bit closer....

So you're bringing in the graphics from a vector file as an eps import, yes?
What does the vector art look like for the ship, palm tree and even the ornate border?
Those areas seem like they have the potential for being an overly complicated tangle.

I always hit merge after an eps import...before the boolean (and after boolean, of course.... but I get it, you have to get there first).
Less points is less points.

Care to post the eps?

12-09-2014, 07:20 AM
Thanks everyone for your valued input. I ended up cutting the land layer into lots of polygons and using the drill/stencil method. Some of the polys are so complex just from the nature of what it is - A map! You cant just generalize without taking away shoreline accuracies. Still working on it and expect another day or so before it can go to render! I'm very thankful for this group folks!

Sorry JoePoe, can't post the EPS file. It's an export from my ArcGIS mapping software with 400 hours of work on it and it's accurate to about 20 feet. These are proprietary maps I sell and copyright. I'll post a video link to the animation when it's done for you to see. The map itself is 34" x 41" and is a wall hanging art piece with a 10.1" digital media player/screen playing customized HD video of the Tampa Bay area. My new company (Island Laser Design) is producing these as well as laser engravings of the Grand Canyon, Mnt. Rushmore and others. We make silhouette lamps too (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoQ1rCxyhNM) and lightwave is the design prototype tool for all of it!