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Thread: Converting programs for Engraving Manual Method and Adobe Photoshop

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Moreton, Wirral, UK

    Converting programs for Engraving Manual Method and Adobe Photoshop

    Okay a lot of people have been saying the difficulties of using Photograv and have been shown the manual method using Adobe Photoshop.

    Now Rodney Gold who is one of the moderators and guru from this site, conceived a method of using Photoshop and manual settings. The method gives a remarkably similar result and I quite often use it more than Photograv. Unfortunately either not many people wrote it down, don't know about it or have got confused trying to do it or they cannot be bothered because it is quite a long process. Rodney has already suggested in another post that we get together to try and make a fast method. I think I have created this solution. Read on.

    Attached there is a zipped file. Extract it and inside you will find another file appropriately named The Gold Method.exe (that one's for you Rodney). Double click on it and please read the instructions, especially the beginning where it will extract the file to.

    If you are using Adobe Photoshop CS3, it is a no brainer. If you are just using Adobe Photoshop then you will have to extract the contained file to this location:

    C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop\Presets\Actions

    This will be the location of your preset action folder, if you still get it wrong then manually copy them over.

    Okay there is a feature in Adobe which is seldom used called 'ACTIONS'. By activating one of these actions it will automatically allow you to convert any picture, colour or otherwise into a suitable engraving ready image in seconds, using Rodney's tried and tested method, but without any input from you other than pressing a button. (Anybody have a problem pressing buttons??????)

    I have made actions for the following processes;

    300dpi positive
    400dpi positive
    600dpi positive

    300dpi negative
    400dpi negative
    600dpi negative On the negative ones, I have flipped the image as I was thinking about reverse engraving when I created them. If you are not reverse engraving (i.e. a mirror) then just click flip horizontal. It must be done in Photoshop before you save it.

    Here are a couple of things you need to do. SIZE YOUR IMAGE FIRST (8"x10" etc) and then save it. Then run The Gold Method.

    The installation will only ever need to be done the once.

    Please don't be a lurker, if you try it, post your thoughts or suggestions so that we can look at them again or if it works for you, let's hear that also. We try to help one another so please make the effort.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Epilog 45w Helix X3/X5 Corel Microflame Generator (flame polisher) Heat Bender

  2. Frank,
    I tried to download your zip file, but then it logged me off the forum?

    Any idea what happened?

    I tried this a couple times with the same result.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Moreton, Wirral, UK
    It shouldn't have done that Martin. PM me your email address.
    Epilog 45w Helix X3/X5 Corel Microflame Generator (flame polisher) Heat Bender

  4. #4
    Does it work with Photoshop Elements Frank? I don't see an "Action" folder in my Presets folder.

    I'm guessing no?
    Lasers : Trotec Speedy 300 75W, Trotec Speedy 300 80W, Galvo Fiber Laser 20W
    Printers : Mimaki UJF-6042 UV Flatbed Printer , HP Designjet L26500 61" Wide Format Latex Printer, Summa S140-T 48" Vinyl Plotter
    Router : ShopBot 48" x 96" CNC Router Rotary Engravers : (2) Xenetech XOT 16 x 25 Rotary Engravers

    Real name Steve but that name was taken on the forum. Used Middle name. Call me Steve or Scott, doesn't matter.

  5. #5

    Any chance you can set this up for Photopaint?
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300, 80 watt
    Gravograph IS400
    Woodworking shop CLTT and Laser Sublimation
    Dye Sublimation
    CorelDraw X5, X7

  6. #6
    Heh. "The Gold Method". Sounds like a pyramid sales outfit.

    Thanks for making that action Frank. I was going to do it, but my roundtoit got delayed at customs.

  7. #7
    Hi Frank,
    Whats in the executable? I'd like to try this out but am a Mac user. Can you compress the actions/directions into a zip?

    Also, there is an even less used feature in Photoshop (and Illustrator) where scripts can be ran. See This may be a better way to go than actions. Not sure.

    I've got quite a bit of experience in this and can help if needed.

    I design, engineer and program all sorts of things.

    Oh, and I use Adobe Illustrator with an Epilog Mini.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Marquette MI
    Wow great! I ran the script with great results! I haven't engraved anything yet, but so far so good!
    I have worked for QuickTrophy LLC since 2006.
    Trotec Speedy 360, 3 Universal PLS 360's, 1 M-360, and VLS 230
    We also do color work using a Mimaki UJF-3042Fx and Sublimation Equipment

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Moreton, Wirral, UK
    Well things are looking pretty positive then. This is the original script that Rodney came up with. The actions are just a way of doing it automatically without having to give it much thought.

    1) Convert to 8 bit greyscale (image/mode/greyscale)
    2) Resize the image to the size its gonna get engraved using 150-300 ppi (150 for less detail)
    (image/image size)
    3) Bump up contrast and brightness about +25 in
    both cases - you dont want the pic to be insipid areas of medium grey. (image/adjusyments/brightess-contrast)
    4) Heres the VITAL part - use unsharp mask at 500% and a radius of 3-5 pixels - threshold 0 - this will exaggerate edges radically , but thats what you need. In fact you can do this and then STILL add another unsharp mask at 150 % , 1pixel and 0 threshold AFTER the 1st unsharp if you want even more edge detection
    (filter/sharpuen/unsharp mask)
    5) Convert to a bitmap using 125-150ppi and a diffusion pattern. (image/mode/bitmap)
    5) laser.

    That is basically all that is in the actions script, except that when you do it manually it takes a few minutes, using this it takes about 30 seconds. The way I have configured it even removes the requirement to choose the correct dpi settings and get the positive and negative issued dealt with.

    I'm sorry for those of you who have Elements and Photopaint, I don't have them on my computer so not too aware of what's available. I'm sure that someone will be able to sort out something similar for other programs.
    Epilog 45w Helix X3/X5 Corel Microflame Generator (flame polisher) Heat Bender

  10. #10
    Whats in the executable?
    It's a self-extracting archive that (hopefully) puts the files in the right place automatically.

    Attached is a zip with just the action file and instructions. So you have to put the files where they should be manually.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Darren Null; 08-28-2008 at 10:29 AM.

  11. #11
    Thanks a bunch.

    On a Mac the path is:
    /Applications/Adobe Photoshop CS3/Presets/Actions/Commands.atn
    I design, engineer and program all sorts of things.

    Oh, and I use Adobe Illustrator with an Epilog Mini.

  12. #12
    Thank you soo much, I was ready to buy photgrav and was wondering why there wasn't a good equivilant in Photoshop.

    Because of my other business (crash animations) we use photo shop as much as 3ds Max (the best animation software in the world, but I am biased).

    On another note: has anyone ever tried using Normal maps for engraving?
    Normal maps are used a lot in video games and 3d work to give fake displacement and to show texture.

    EDIT: I just tested the action on PS CS and it worked perfect!
    Last edited by David Dustin; 08-28-2008 at 1:10 PM. Reason: to say thanks again

  13. Frank,

    I don't know what I was doing wrong with the manual instructions before, but your actions piece seems to have straightened me out. This has been the most helpful piece of advice from this forum yet.

    Thank you!

    Robert Mitchell

    Epilog Helix 75
    Corel 11, X4 Adobe CS3
    PC, MacBook Pro

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Moreton, Wirral, UK
    That's great news! This is why we all have to stick together.
    Epilog 45w Helix X3/X5 Corel Microflame Generator (flame polisher) Heat Bender

  15. Programs like Photograv, and actions in Photoshop making lasering images easier. It may not always be the best way, but it is the easiest!

    What needs to be understood if you want to laser great images is to truly understand the halftone process. Halftones are what you see in everyday images a series of dots of different sizes to give the effect of highlights, shadows and the gradation between them.

    With a magnifier and a newspaper you will be able to see the relationship between the dots and the image.

    The problem lies within the substrates, is resolution, power & speed settings in coming up with the best compromise in converting to a halftone as different substrates burn at different rates and depths.

    Programs like Photograv and the Photoshop action, tend to exagerate the image by increasing the contrast at the edges of the image. Which makes it easier to produce an exceptable image quickly.

    If you have Photoshop open an image and under the filter section you will see one called "find edges" try it, you'll see how it over defines the edges. You can vary it by fading the filter (under Edit) or if you have a duplicate layer (not filtered) under it vary the opacity. This will show how you can work with the find edges filter. I use some form of this process every once in a while. It a good tool for some projects. This won't make the perfect picture, but it will help in understanding part of the steps that a program like Photograv uses.

    Here is a web page that will explain some of the halftone process using plastic.

    I you do some research on halftones you may find your answers without purchasing a program.

    Hope this helps,


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