Sunday , April 2 2023

Using Cutout Lab on a Dark Image

Sometimes when we get a photograph it is to dark and the engraving will suffer not because the images so much are dark but because the background is dark and it causes the images to be dark. In this article we will take a photo that is really dark and cutout the background and than lighten up the photo up.

Here is our original file


Here is the file that was given to me by my dealer. You can see that it is a very dark image and needs to be lightened up. It also really needs the background to be taken out of the photo. The problem is that the dark people are blending in to much with the background.

Bring your image into Corel PhotoPaint


With the image opened up in Corel PhotoPaint we need to open up the cutout lab. Go to IMAGE (1) and CUTOUT LAB (2)

The people in this photo blend in to much with the background


As you can see the demarcation between the individual and the background is hard to make out. For this reason I need to knock out the background so that we will be able to see the girl. Remember if I was to engrave this photo as is the whole left side would be a black blob and would not be a good job.

Select your highlighter tool


The idea with the cutout lab is that we are going to trace a line between the area that we want to keep and the area that we want to get rid of. So in this case ideally we want a line that is half on the two people in this photo and half on the background. To create the line select the highlighter tool (1). If you want to make the line thickness wider so that it is easier to sample the two parts of the image than you can increase the Nib size. The higher the number the wider the line. If you do like a green line you can change the line colour to any colour that you want (3).

Start at one of the bottom corners of the image


I like to start at the bottom of either corners of the photo. Select the Zoom tool (1). I have zoomed in on the lower left hand corner of the photo. Select the highlighter tool or press the hot key F5

Start drawing with the highlighter tool


Start at the very left hand corner of the image. Note: make sure that you are right on the edge of the window so that the line is touching the edge of the window. It is hard to draw an accurate line if you are zoomed out too much. Zoom in and draw a bit. Select the hand tool or press H to select it. This allows you to move the image, but stay at the same zoom level. Our Nib is the white round circle (1). The nib size is 15

Select the hand tool


With the hand tool selected, click on the image and drag the image to the right or left. Press the F5 key to activate the highlighter tool.

Use the eraser tool if you need to erase part of the line


If you find that you need to erase part of the line you can do this back selecting the eraser tool. Just drag it over the part of the line that you do not want. Then select the highlighter tool and start drawing again. Just make sure that the new line connects with the old line.

We have now outlined the image that we want to keep and get rid of


We have now outlined the image

Select the Fill Colour


We now need to fill the area inside the green line as the green fill will tell the software what part of the image we want to keep. Select the Fill icon (1). I am using a blue colour (2).

My Image is Filled


The part of the photo I am looking to keep is now filled in with blue. This is why it is important to make sure that the green line extends and is closed or the whole image may go green. In this example, I ran the green line to the edge of the photo and thus the blue fill can not escape

Click the Preview Button


Click the preview button This will eliminate the area that is not filled

Our Image Previewed


Here is our image that has the background knocked out

Zooming in Shows We Need to Smooth Out The Edges


If we zoom in on our image we can see the edge is not very smooth. We need to add detail to fill in the so called “bumps”

Select The Add Detail Button


To add detail to smooth out the edge requires that I run my brush down the edge of the girls black hair and her jacket

Set Your Nib Size


To create a brush width requires that I change the Nib Size. The wider the brush the wider I place in detail.

Smooth Out the Edges With Your Brush


Now that we are adding in detail with the Add in Detail brush we can smooth out the edges. The brush is round and can be seen at Point 1. This brush is 40 pts in size. If I increase the brush size the circle becomes wider. It allows me to add in more detail, but I have a harder time of working in smaller corners

Remove Detail


We have Add in Detail so now we need to remove some detail. If we look in our image we can see that there is a piece of the man’s hair that needs to be removed (1). Just as we added in detail, we can remove detail also. Click on the Remove Detail button.

Detail Removed


We have removed the hair that needed to be removed. You can see the brush (1) and my brush size is 40 (2)

My Image Has Been Cleaned Up


Here is my image all cleaned up. I can now place this on my material and not worry about it diluting the look of my photo

We Now Need to Save the Image for CorelDraw


We need to save the image to be able to import it into CorelDraw

Save As A PhotoPaint Image


Select CPT as your format. The important aspect to know here is that we need to be able to bring in the transparency of the image (the black checkerboard). The transparency allows us to invert the image it wants to engrave it on black granite or anodized aluminum. Thus, when we invert the image the background does not go to black. Give the file a name and save it to disk

Here is the Image in CorelDraw


Here is my image imported into CorelDraw

Bring Your Image Into Contrast Enhancement


Once the image is in CorelDraw we need convert it so we can engrave the image. Slide the right hand triangle to the left (1)

Select the Unsharp Mask


My next step is to select the Unsharp Mask. Adjust the Percentage (1) and the Radius (2) to adjust the image for your particular material

Select Convert to Black and White


If I am placing the image on granite or wood than I need to convert the image to black and white. Select Floyd-Steinberg (1). You can change the intensity of the effect (2)

My Final Image


Here is my final image ready to engrave

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