GIMP for photo engrave to tile

Been trying for several days with no luck. Followed a tutorial found in the community but still didn’t work. Must be an old file as program is now different than what screen is asking me to do. I am looking for direction for dummies tutorial in order to change a photo to a clear b/w print to tile. I have a nice lady on FB change a pict for me in about a minute but wouldn’t tell me how to do it. Her came out looking kinda cartoonish With what looks like a bunch of boxes with dots & lots of detail where mine comes out either a screen of dots or a smooth version of pict. I have no graphics or design background. Very new to all this. Thanks in advance!

I don’t use Gimp, but…have you tried this tutorial?


That is the one I followed & didn’t get the cartoon look with details that I should be getting. Think the tutorial is outdated for today’s version. Says to click on certain things when they are not there anymore.

There is a basic “Nature of the Universe” problem in that for every thing you can do with a program there needs to be a widget to do it. The more powerful the program the more things you can do and the more widgets you have to understand to use them. Gimp is very powerful so there is a lot to know. I also use another program that is not as powerful but is therefore very much faster so that I can bring it up , do what I need and be done before a program like Gimp can even come up.

That program is called Irfanview. Much of Gimp uses masks, Irfanview does not have those, but if you want to make color be grayscale, raise or lower contrast etc on the whole image Irfanview gets it done. Even so you still need to build a skill set for anything you wish to accomplish, and the more you learn the more and better you can do what you wish. Some photos work without much manipulation, some are all but impossible.

There is a ton of information on the Internet, some getting deep in the weeds more on Gimp than Irfanview but with Irfanview there is less to know and most of that you can learn just poking about, but without even an image you are trying to adjust it could take many hours to explain what can be accomplished in minutes,

If you are just stepping into welcome to a wondrous adventure. Unlike many similar machines, you do not have to be an electronics expert or a master of mechanics and I am certainly neither of those but I have found it useful to just play with each widget to discover what it does before having a specific goal and not knowing where to go from where you are, Other folk prefer small projects. When teaching I use small projects that are carefully designed to illustrate what I am explaining. This is very hard for the student to do in reverse.

1 Like

Thanks. I’ll look into that program as well.

1 Like

If you have access to Photoshop, @jbmanning5 has developed a Photoshop action that does photo prep for engraves automatically.

I don’t. I only have Inkscape & just tried gimp this week

Inkscape will carry rasters but is terrible for manipulating them. I usually use gimp unless the need is simple, and then I use Irfanview.

Photo engraves are kind of like cooking. You need the right edit, material, and engrave settings. Like a recipe.

Painted tiles complicate that process with an additional variable which is material consistency — they have to be painted consistently for consistent results.

Right now, you have a triad of things going on - is it your editing? Is it how or what you’re painting the tile with? Or, is it your settings?

My advice would be to grab something cheap, like draftboard, or whiteboard from Lowe’s, which are very consistent and helps simplify the process. Then, you can figure out the editing and the settings for those materials. That will help you learn what to look for in the edited photo to be sure it’s ready to engrave. Then, nail down the settings. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to do both consistently - you’ll know what to look for in the photo and what settings to engrave with. From there, you can move to other materials, since you’ll know what to look for in the edited photo, you can concentrate on the settings.


I would say the most important thing, as a forger that has gotten 1 really great picture engrave so far, is that you HAVE to start with the right photograph.

you start with suboptimal, you end up with the same thing for the result.

1 Like

You can follow tutorials all day long but it takes experience and practice to understand how the adjustments affect an image and what kind of images are suitable to begin with. There is no shortcut.

I found GIMP really hard to use, but to very intuitive. So you might try a different program - but in the meantime if you wanted to post your picture here, and what you’re trying to get to, someone here will be happy to walk you through the steps! I’m not sure what you mean by cartoonish vs boxes with dots which is why I’m suggesting to upload the “fixed” version as well (presuming the “fixed” version is what you want to get)

Sometimes you can just use the photo. Sometimes it is just a lot of work. Sometimes it is hopeless. It can take a lot of work on the hopeless ones to get a good eye for how much work is needed.

1 Like

Many years ago I bought a Corel plugin that looked at patterns and texture rather than colors. So since bears, snow and Ice cream all have different textures, it could literally pick out the polar bear eating ice cream in the snow and give you the three clip-paths. but I don’t even recall the name of the software.

1 Like

This is a very clear bright photo. Just wish there was an up to date tutorial on how to do it on GIMp like others have made for photoshop or other programs.

This topic was automatically closed 32 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.