August 03, 2009
LaserEngraver

What's New?

While not completely new, it recently came to my attention that many people are not aware of the free marketing tools that LaserBits has created for you to use in your business. Here is the website to look over:
Free Marketing Tools - http://tiny.cc/laser789

Don't forget we added a discussion forum inside LaserU. It has seen a little traffic but not as I had hoped. I think you can really benefit from being able to interact with each other in this area. Give it a Go! Please visit and start posting and answering questions. You can find the link labeled LaserU Forum at the bottom of the left panel of links.

Laser Spotlight

Each month we showcase an item, product or skill from LaserU. We give a summary of the item and provide links for more information. This month we will look at PhotoGrav 3.0 - Why you need it & How it works. This comes from our Corel Center.

If you currently have the prior version (2.1.1) you will definitely want to upgrade!

Compare to version 2.11
All I can say is, “what a difference a version can make!” If you are familiar with PhotoGrav software you will quickly notice the differences in the newest version. In 2.11 there was a process set in cement that one had to follow to prep a photo before PG (PhotoGrav) would even accept the image for processing. Now, with PG 3.0 the program has so much more flexibility.
 
Some of the features over the previous version include:
          -the ability to use either color or B&W photos
          -the ability to use standard image formats such as tif, jpg, png and bmp
          -built in resize original image tool
          -expanded and updated laser system list
          -expanded and updated materials list

A great product made even better, PhotoGrav 3.0 is designed for novice and expert engravers to product first run, professional results.

How it works
If you are totally new to PG, let me explain further. The basic of idea of PhotoGrav is to remove all the variables in the process of laser engraving photos. Over the years, PG has established itself as the standard for laser engraved photo quality. Born from necessity over 10 years ago, the need for quality laser photos continues to expand.

The solution for success in any process is to remove the variables. The fewer the variables, the less human interface required to make questionable judgments.

Three major variables are present in the laser engraving process:

  1. the laser system – PG can be set up to your specific laser manufacturer and other settings
  2. the material – through an extensive list, the needed material is selected in PG. This applies filters to the image for optimum engraving results. These filters compensate for the absorption factor of each material.
  3. the photo – each photo has a range of highlight, midtone and shadow values. PG creates a histogram based on algorithms to accommodate these values.

PG 3.0 reduces the variables in the production process using these three main areas. The user will find much more consistent results over a wide range of materials and customer supplied photos. Each of these three is further addressed in the remainder of this tutorial.

See the example below for a series of photos that were processed with and without PhotoGrav.

Processed Without PhotoGrav

WithOUT PhotoGrav


Processed WITH PhotoGrav

WITH PhotoGrav

The second example has much more clarity and detail to the finer points of the images. Compare the first image in the series. In the PhotoGrav’ed example, my son’s facial features are much clearer. Now look at the third image in the series. In the PhotoGrav’ed example, his mouth can be seen amidst the paint on his face. Hands down – the second example is the one a client would pay great sums to have of their loved one.

Interested? See our lesson in the Corel Center for a step-by-step on how PG 3.0 works! And it is easy!
 

For more information on PhotoGrav 3.0 see the Corel Center.

Please send questions and comments to laseru@laserbits.com

See you next month with our next The Laser Engraver Newsletter.

Kathryn