Extracting the "text" from an image

I am planning to order a custom iphone case engraved with this image:


Obviously I am only interested to extract the words from the image itself.

Luxe plates (the company I am ordering from) wants a simple engravable image from this photo.

What operations should I perform to extract the text only from this photo?

I want the end result to look simple enough to be engraved by a laser printer.
I believe your best bet would be to create a layer above this image and trace with a pencil tool.

This is low resolution so the first thing you want to do is increase the resolution to 300. Don't worry about how any of it looks. You only need the original for tracing.

This is really easy to do for straight lines. Click on a point. Hold down the shift key and click on the next point in the straight line. Then click again, shift click, etc. When it comes to the curves, just follow them with the pencil, or you might find the brush easier. It will take you less time than to try to extract the blurry lines.

The curved lines would be less jaggy if you use the pen tool, but I don't think you have any experience with that and the brush should work OK. You can always do the whole thing, throw on a layer mask and use a hard round brush to clean up edges.

Maybe this visual will help:


Good luck and any questions, come back and let us know.
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Former Member
I would have just done a de saturated layer of that image, then moved sliders til you get nigh on full block black colour the removed the background, but the trouble then is edge deterioration, maybe illustrator is a go, but the pen is always mightier than any other sword.


Staff member
Here's another possibility.
Since this was such a simple effect, I took a different approach.

Using your example as a template, I re-created the entire effect using only the Rectangular Marquis tool. It took about 15 minutes.

Match text. Type out "The future is unwritten". Copy layer. Rastorize copy. Name it Original Text.

Follow these steps:
Highlight the original text. Use the Rectangular marquis tool (RMT) to create a box around the the entire letter T.
Command + J to copy the T to it's own layer. Name T.
Then do the rest of the letters, in this row, in this manner.

Once done with the row. Select the T layer, use the RMT to create a box defining the area to be removed and hit delete. Do this for the H and the E. When done, select individual letter layers and group.

Repeat this process for the other rows.

I did not match the text and my spacing is off.


Screen Shot 2012-11-17 at 9.17.05 AM.png

Screen Shot 2012-11-17 at 9.10.55 AM.png


Former Member
Rectangular marquee tool, remove what you don't want and fill with black.

UNWRIT.jpg And yes i realise it is not your chosen font.