Feature request: variable power based on line score greyvalue

I previously mentioned how it’d be awesome to have a slider for power control for scoring tasks in the GFUI here: A Question on Scoring

…but I was thinking how there’d be even one step better: just vary the power of the score cut based on the greyscale value of the line path itself.

Right now the only way one can do varying power is to use a closed path shape and engrave it.


You can already do a manual score and set the power/speed to anything you want.

The problem I had was all the proofgrade settings made incredibly deep scores, and I thought it should default to shallow instead, which is why I made the poll and the suggestion that they maybe let you select proofgrade score by depth %.

The color thing could be cool. The only problem I see is that the GFUI has no way of telling a score from a cut when it first loads the file.

I know there has been some looking into getting a plug-in to work to allow you to set job types directly in illustrator. Maybe that will go somewhere useful.

To me, “cut” is a 100% power cut (or in the case of ProofGrade, 100% depth), and “score” is just variable power (or for ProofGrade, variable depth).

It shouldn’t be more difficult than what they already did for engraving… to have an operational toggle of 100% power (“cut”) vs. variable power (“score”). To cut, you’d just say “any non-white path color is now a cut operation”. To power-level score, use the greyscale value.

Engraving is similar already, just for area: you have either a fixed power setting with patterned dither, or engrave based on variable power matched to the greyscale.

Where it really pays of (in terms of scores/cuts) is that now I don’t have to create multiple operations with different power levels on an imported design, if I chose to.

At least currently, the Vary Power is only an option on bitmap engraving, unless I misunderstand what I’ve read here.

Maybe, if they implement gradient fills for Vector engraves, then vary power and/or dithering would become an option for vector engraves.

Well currently, Vary Power in a single operation is only supported on engraving, yes. For scores, you can have a (fixed, lower preset) power operation. And you can stack multiple score operations up, each having their own power levels.

What I’ve been describing is having Vary Power in a single, combined score operation.

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I can see that working, but only if they change the method for separating operations.

There are containers ( and ) in the SVG format that would allow them to specifically designate something more akin to layers as operations. Then the color of the operation would not matter and could be used to control something like you suggest.

Edited to add: They would need to have an option for “operation by color” (current) and “operation by groups” so that it wouldn’t break all the old design files.

I think making grey a special case to force a score would break very few existing designs, how many people use grey vectors?

Using they grey value to set the score power would also be good.

I’d like to see some version of the under-the-hood power control used for PG scores, but extended to manual settings. No idea how/whether that would work, but a guy can dream.

You can set the same power manually as the PG settings score settings. If you switch to manual you see what they are.

My impression (perhaps mistaken) is that the new fancy PG score does the bit where it varies power to get constant depth. The “draft” score doesn’t.

@palmercr, sounds like it would be interesting to compare puls files to see if the laser is attenuated during accel/decel on the high quality versus draft scores.

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I think it just goes slower to mitigate the acceleration phase. The acceleration distance goes down as a square law.

An easy way to test is to convert it to a manual setting and see if the same settings produce any more corner over burn. It should produce the same result.

If they ramp the power during acceleration why would they not do the same at higher speeds? I.e. why wouldn’t draft mode just be a lighter engrave?

The way the laser PWM is encoded in the waveform it should be very easy to ramp the power proportional to speed. I have no idea why they are not doing that and didn’t do it from day one. It’s pretty standard with diode lasers.

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