Help with setting up an engraving image

Hi all, I really want to engrave this for myself as a wall poster on wood, but even after a lot of contrasting and sharpening, I still dont get anything but a nearly solid color when engraving. (As if there is almost no contrast)

Any help would be super appreciated! I WOULD like to keep the background, the clouds and the lightnight looks awesome, but if that is what is causing the issue, then lmk.


After some settings (dont have a non svg file anymore, accidentally saved over it)


After REALLY contrast and sharpening, to the point of rediculousness


Point of ridiculousness is a good start, though even image before could probably be used.

Now just throw out PG settings for an engrave like this. This picture will look like crap with any defaults. Last picture I pushed for detail like this, I ended up doing multiple low-power passes with masking removed. Either way, you are going to burn some pieces getting the settings dialed in, and want to take meticulous notes along the way.

Picture like this, keep speed fairly high. I tried to keep it 700-1000 zooms range. With masking, maybe 40-50 pews, converted to dots with the low 0-5 area and high 40-50 range. Without masking, I’d start at 1000 zooms, maybe 10 pews, dots at 0-30. You could dial in the settings from there. 2-3 lower power passes may keep you better off than one higher power pass when trying to preserve your details on this picture.


Thanks! I have been trying to do “Vary Power” but I will try dots this time! Thanks :smiley:

Do I need to change the lines per inch?

Start default and roll down from there if you need to. I wouldn’t expect that, though. Picture like this, you can’t go vary power, in my experience. You end yup with dark digging in and light up above. Even if the coloration looks good, it does insane things to the eye trying to correlate depth with the image.

1 Like

I learned the dots over variable the hard way with lots of testing, trial, and error…emphasis on the lots of error.

1 Like

Looking at the pictures again, I’d use the second to bottom on your list, most likely. That one is clean, good detail, and decent contrast. I’d avoid doing any more to the image itself. Your Glowforge should be able to manage from there simply through manipulating the settings.

1 Like

OK cool , thanks :smiley: I can never tell what certain things mean unless I get an example, so when I hear sharpen to comedic levels, I didnt know if the second was good enough or keep going to the third, lol!

The third is what is termed “raucously ridiculous levels” :wink:


Great thread - looking forward to seeing the results.

1 Like

Too loud to run the machine this late, but I will try to do it before leaving for home for Thanksgiving. Otherwise, I will update Sunday! :smiley:

1 Like

On proofgrade maple ply I use the following:

400 speed
Full power
Convert to dots
340 lpi.

You might be able to go a bit faster, like 500. I would test a grayscale on a small piece of material to see what darkness range you get.

Here’s one I did the other night: (sorry snipped from another photo, but good enough)


I am amazed. I’m sure some of it has to do with the source image, but I’ve never gotten a clean photo engrave on full power. It has always come out too dark, or eye-twisting because of the depth of the burn.


Mines a PRU with a bad tube. Regular models might run differently. I’ve had to bump up the power over time as well due to power loss in the unit

1 Like

That would explain some of that difference. I’m dealing with a production Pro, and the only times I’ve had power dips is when it desperately needed a cleaning.

1 Like

I played with your picture just to see what I could do and ran a test engrave this morning. I ran out of time on my way to work but it looks pretty good so far. It’s cutting at about 80 power 800 speed and convert to dot. The test pick you see is low LPI just so it would print faster. When I get home I’ll share a link showing a nice way to process photos for laser engraving.1122171036


Wow, 80 power? That’s so much higher than I have been doing, and mine still usually come out giant black rectangles if I do that. What dot range was the above picture using?


I didn’t adjust the dot setting so I’m pretty sure it was the highest setting. I think it might be more of an issue your image than the settings. Lasers like a lot of white to the point of your image looking blown out, but you also need to keep a nice greyscale range as well. I did some selective brightening and highlighting of your image versus an overall brightness adjustment and then I did a selective sharpening. ( I’ll post my processed image when I get home so you can see what it look like.)

Here’s a good video of it the process I used


Really enjoyed this video … thank you for posting!

I’ve done editing of photos for embroidery stitching … much the same.

1 Like

Can I ask, how big is that Thor poster engrave? It is gorgeous btw! But I have heard that if the engraving has to stop, there will be a visible line where it did so, and unfortunately, to do large engraves, you have to split the picture up, and I fear I will print for hours and hours and get something with lines I dont like because of that issue.

Also, thank you all for the help. I have not gotten this image to work well because I dont have a program that can bright up just the background, my free programs only do the whole image, but I have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t from all your help.

Also, would you happen to have that processed image? I dont have the capability to do selective brightening, so I would love to use yours for this case, if you dont mind.