Laser engraving of halftones. How to print beautiful photos
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A satisfied buyer of a laser engraver usually quickly masters the technologies of simple images engraving on various surfaces: on wood, plastic, glass, metal.
After becoming familiar with the simple drawings engraving, one wants to go over to printing photos with interplay of light and shadow. Here the problem of halftones arises. The engraved photos come in black and white, without the soft interplay of light and shadow.
The specialists of the Endurance laser laboratory tried to solve this problem using various software for laser engravers. Today we will move away from the popular programs such as: Benbox or RIBS and take a closer look at Acan, a less known program for laser engraving.
This program is free, runs without installation and has all the necessary functions you need when working with a laser engraver. The main buttons that perform typical functions are standard and do not need to be explained, since the user understands them intuitively.
In addition to the full version, there is a light version Acan-mini with limited options for customizing texts and images. (In the mini version we failed to add a caption to the picture).
Here are the Acan functions absent in Acan-mini:
1. A wide choice of settings for writing texts.
2. Ability to set the tilt degree of an image.
3. Pictures and/or texts superimposition.
4. Work area perimeter marking before the start of engraving.
5. Two modes of operation: engraving and cutting. The mode button is at the top of the program.
6. Possibility to load the G-code.
7. The archived Inkscape, a free editor of vector graphics to create g-codes for laser cutting, in the program folder. http://inkscape.paint-net.ru
The interface buttons of the Acan program have images of the actions, they perform when activated, which makes the program easy to use. Acan-mini has buttons with captions in Russian or Chinese, which makes it difficult for other language speakers to use the program.
Both programs perform their functions, but have a number of drawbacks that manifest themselves when you use the programs. One of them is the problem with the accurate image dimensioning. However, both versions allow engraving gray tones.
Here you can watch a video where the Endurance laser lab specialists demonstrate the work of the version of Acan-mini and engrave a picture with various gray tones.
Both versions of the Acan program are available for downloading on the Endurance laser laboratory website.
Download center http://endurancerobots.com/download-center-lasers/
Image processing for creation of high quality grayscaleTo get high-quality engraving with well-defined grayscale, you need to save the image in the Bitmap mode before you start the laser engraver. We used the graphics editor Adobe Photoshop CC for this.
To save the image in Bitmap mode in the English version of Adobe Photoshop, perform the following steps:
1. Open the image in Adobe Photoshop.
2. Convert the picture to the grayscale mode. To do this, go to the Image/Mode/Grayscale menu. The image will turn gray.
3. Convert the image to the Bitmap mode (Image/Mode/Grayscale).
4. In the drop-down menu select Halftone Screen and Round.
The received "grainy" image will ensure tone gradation engraving on various surfaces.