Scanning and creating good digital artwork is crucial. Here are some tips for manipulating digital artwork in Photoshop, Illustrator, and CorelDraw to help you achieve higher quality masks and better sandcarving results.
Photoshop: After opening your black-and-white artwork, check to see that it’s in Bitmap mode. Look under the Image menu and Mode. If the file is not in Bitmap mode, change the settings on your scanner and rescan it as line art. If this is not an option, you can convert it to Bitmap in Photoshop by selecting the Image menu, Mode and then Bitmap. In the next menu under Resolution, keep the dpi at the same resolution as input. For best results, artwork should be at least 600 dpi (1200 is optimal for line art). Under Method, select Threshold. Zoom in to view the artwork. If scanned at a proper resolution, the edges should appear relatively smooth. Clean up any unwanted marks by using the Eraser or Lasso tools. Fill in unwanted white spots using your Brush, Pencil or Line tool. Crop it as tightly as possible without getting too close to the artwork. Leave at least 1/16-1/8” around the image. Save the image as .tiff, .eps, .jpeg, or .gif (.tiff is preferred).
Illustrator: Make sure your document setup (under File) is relative to the size of your artwork. For example, if you’re working with 2” X 2” artwork and 8” X 10” is the size of your document, the file will be unnecessarily larger and make it more difficult to zoom in and alter or check the artwork. If you have typed any text, be sure to Create Outlines using the Type menu. This changes the text to a vector image and will help eliminate font compatibility problems when sharing the file. Save the file as Illustrator .eps.
CorelDraw: If you have typed any text, be sure to convert it to curves under the Arrange menu. Export the file as an .ai (Illustrator) file. This will eliminate the need to include your fonts and reduce compatibility problems.
—Darin Jones & Wes Barton, IKONICS Imaging