Because all of our photos used in advertising materials are for promotional usage only, we are often able to use/purchase the highest quality of photos. (check out www.istockphoto.com - they have a vast selection of stock imagery.) Our promotional images are digitally enhanced onto the monuments and we also do a great deal of touching up to any photos we use.
A few things that may be helpful to you:
- Photo Quality: Always use the highest quality photo available. If you are scanning in an photograph from a customer, make sure to scan it in at a minimum of 300dpi. If you have the option to scan it in at a higher dpi (some scanners scan in up to 1200dpi) this may be useful, espeically when you are dealing with a poor quality photo.
- Final output file: When you create for your final file for output, our recommended settings for a larger scene or image is 150 dpi. for a smaller portrait/imagery we recommend 200dpi. That should really maximize the way your etchings look. Even though you start with high quality images (300+dpi), you really dont want to etch something from your output file that is 300dpi due to the blast radius of the laser beam. Blasted pixels start overlapping and that causes your image to not be as clear.
- High contrast: Shoot for black blacks and very light whites. You can alter the contrast of your images using the settings in photoshop or corell draw. Test your settings on a small tile before lasering your full size stone.
- Highlighting: Are you highlighting your finished laser art? there is a video on the forum showing how to do that.
- Spot burning and dodging: While processing your image in photoshop or corell, use the burn/dodge tool to make certain parts of your image pop. (this is kind of like adjusting the contrast, but this is more of a spot treatment you can use on certain areas of your image.)
- Pay attention to the eyes: Eyes are the first thing that people are drawn to, so make sure they are nicely contrasted before you etch.
- Speed/power settings: Play around with your speed and power setting while running some test tiles. Sometimes things like weather and humidity can alter the way your settings produce. If your settings produced a great laser etching on the last job you ran, test those settings first. It is not a bad idea to run a test tile before every big job.
Running the laser and creating artwork with quality is sometimes a trial and error thing, with lots of testing. Once you play around with the settings you will quickly find what works for you and what doesn't work.
I hope this helps, if you have any other questions please post them here or call us:)
- AP-Lazer Development Team