I've been playing with this laser cutter at work and as I'm only etching the surface of what this tool can do, I'm getting really happy with some of the results I get.
I've found a workflow that works pretty nitely while working on this project.
- Google image search for an image of interest (tree), activate "Search Tools" and filter on size:large and color:black&white.
- Import the image on in Pixlr (Photosh or any other image editing tool will do just as good)
- Crank up the contrast until you have only pure blacks and whites
- Bring into Illustrator
- Trace image (vectorize)
- Make correction
- Check for path duplicates (somehow Illustrator seems to generates dups when image tracing), delete dups manually, or use the layer pane to identify and bulk delete
- Load up your laser cutting machine, make it do what it does
- Sand, varnish, hang.