Losing details in my engraves

I am having an issue with my photos I’m bringing in to engrave on leather. In photo shop I’m changing to black and white, adjusting the levels, cropping to the size by using the measurement in the crop box, importing to glowforge app, placing on my material and resizing the photo to fit.

When I bring in these cropped photos they are about 3 times bigger than they should be and I’m resizing them in the glowforge app. I believe this is causing me to loose details. My images come out blocky. I must be doing this crop wrong. Does anyone have any suggestions? Should I be cropping by pixels? Thanks for the help.

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How are you saving the images? In some programs, if I create a canvas/image that is, like, 2 x 3 inches, but 600ppi, then the saved file will be two or three times bigger than I set. Because it can physically only cram so many pixels in an inch, so it defaults to my resolution, not to my dimensions.

Does that make sense?

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Embedding the image in a SVG would probably solve your issue.

If you use photoshop, you probably use illustrator, so I can’t really help you with the gotchas… I’m an inkscape guy.

Searching the forum for embedding rasters in illustrator would probably yield good results.


what @evansd2 ^^ said.

when you bring in just a bitmap, it only has resolution in pixels. it does not have dimensions in inches/mm. so you need to embed the bitmap in a vector file and set the dimensions in there. then export to a vector format (like SVG or PDF) which will retain those dimensions in the file structure.

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With Inkscape, its sort of irrelevant what format it’s in. Drag the PNG/JPEG/whatever in, and scale it appropriately. Just be sure to lock the dimensions (click padlock or hold control as you resize) so it scales X and Y properly.

If you need really precise size, just type in the X or Y you are going for and you’re good to go.

same with illustrator.

the point is bitmap format files look at things in terms of pixels, not inches or mm. a vector program (illy, inkscape, corel, etc) defaults to in/mm.

When you pull into Inkscape, you can choose to use the image dpi to determine size or use the straight pixels as the guide. Seems like choosing native resolution would yield the same results as converting to bitmap?

I find it pretty much irrelevant for what I do, tbh. I just drag and drop and move fast.

I can’t save as SVG or PDF in my photoshop. This is an image I’m trying to engrave not a vector file.

i understand that you’re trying to engrave an image. what we’re trying to tell you is that a bitmap image file that you upload into the GFUI won’t have actual inch/mm dimensions built into the file. it will only have actual dot resolution (for example, 3000 x 2000). the GFUI has to guess how many dots per inch (i’m not sure what the default is when you upload). So, for example, if the GFUI assumes 300 DPI, your 3000x2000 will be 10" x 6.667". but the GFUI doesn’t know what you intend the DPI to be.

so if you take that bitmap, embed it in a vector file in a vector program (NOT photoshop, but illustrator/corel/inkscape), then set the size in inches, then export from the vector program as an SVG or PDF, when you load it into the GFUI, it will come in at the size you want.


Thanks! I that I understand now. Has GF ever shared what their maximum resolution is? As in, what DPI should I export this picture at?

It just depends on what LPI you’re planning to engrave at.