View Full Version : Black Marble w/o Photograv???

Laura Zaruba
08-31-2004, 11:06 PM
Hello everyone! I just got my Epilog Mini 35 watt last week and I'm so excited to have found this forum. I see several of you have posted pieces you've done of photos on black marble WITHOUT using Photograv...How in the world do you manage such clarity?

I spent hours the other day in Photoshop and couldn't get anything remotely acceptable. I installed Photograv today and I'm hoping when my sales rep comes out for training he'll set me straight. In the meantime, can anyone share some tips for making the proper adjustments in Photoshop?

Thanks in advance! :)

mike wallis
09-01-2004, 1:32 AM
Hi Laura welcome to the forum. You'll find alot of good people here.
I to have a Epilog Mini and have invested alot of time learning to engrave black marble "more time than I would have liked to". I have tried both methods for processing the Photo before engraving and I can tell you the procedure thats works best for me and probibly for you to since your machine is the same. I origionally processed the photos entirely in Photoshp adjusting all sorts of settings. The Mini's driver has a problem with half tones so when processing through Photoshop I had to either lighten or darken those tones. If I did'nt adjust the half tones I would get a spattering effect in those areas. There are many other factors when trying to manually adjust the photo in Photoshop, and to sum it up I had to spend roughly 1-2 hours preparing the photo in order to get it looking like I wanted on marble. I origonally wrote Photograv off for processing photos for marble but decided to give it a second chance. After talking to several people who use Photograv and some experementing I found that Photograv is all around better for the Mini when engraving Marble. If I spent several hours in Photoshop I could get the photo to look slightly better than with Photograv but in my opinion its not worth it since Photograv takes only about 5 miniutes to process. The trick to Photograv is (1) engrave all photos at 300 DPI, that includes image resolution and engraving DPI. I know that sounds like a low resolution compared to what the mini can do but engraving at that DPI solves two problems (a) eliminates horizontal banding issues with the Mini and eleminates what I call a "crackling effect" that the Mini has over 300 DPI on Marble. The second trick to Photograv is to use the "interactive process" to process opposed to the auto process. Using the interactive process gives you more control over things like levels, edging, and many more options that seem to make the photo look more realistic. It's a fairly simple program and should'nt take long to learn.
When engraving with a Photograv processed image at 300 DPI a setting that works good for me is 30-speed and 90-power using the Photo option in the print driver. Remember you have to engrave at the same resolution as the image when processed through Photograv. So if your engraving at 300 DPI you must change the resolution to 300 DPI in a photo editor "Photoshop" and set you image to the size you want before it goes into Photograv.
I attached a photo that was processed through Photograv and engraved at 300 DPI to give you a idea of the quality to expect. Hope this has been helpful,

Laura Zaruba
09-01-2004, 9:01 AM
Thanks Mike!

I'll have to try your suggestions. I also read somewhere you were using flooring tile so I'll see if I can get my hands on some. Right now I've got a small stock of Lasersketch's black marble. They are supposed to be calling me today with the proper parameters for Photograv.

I thought 300dpi was working the best for me too. How high do you scan images? I was advised to scan around 1000-1200 for the absolute best and then drop the dpi down to 250-300 in Photograv and Corel. I've been trying 40 Speed and 50 Power so I'll try your settings and compare.

Funny thing is the very first photo I tried in Photograv turned out fairly well but I thought I could still do much better so I kept trying...none of which turned out any better than the first and wouldn't you know I couldn't remember all my settings on the first photo as I was just playing around at first!

Thanks again!

mike wallis
09-01-2004, 12:52 PM
the speed and power your using is probibly good for Lasersketch marble but if you try other vendors you will probibly find that the marble is a little harder and requires more power and less speed. Are you getting somewhat of a washed out image or low detail? If you are it is most likely the marble your using since a couple of us had this issues with Lasersketch marble. Check out the post on "Trouble with black marble".
I usally don't scan higher than 600 DPI for two reasons.(1) If I scan higher than this the file becomes extreamly large and really slows down the resources on my computer. (2) Almost everything I engrave is smaller than 12X12 inches and dos'nt require over 600 DPI to get the quality im looking for on that size or smaller. If I ever upgrade to a super fast SCSI, duel CPU computer system I might use a higher DPI scan.

Good luck,

Laura Zaruba
09-02-2004, 12:06 AM
Not too bad after I got the Photograv parameters from Lasersketch and used Mike's pointers. So much easier than altering the photos myself...not to mention 1000% higher quality!

Thanks for your assistance Mike!

mike wallis
09-02-2004, 12:42 AM
Very nice work Laura! That engraving is one of the best iv'e seen. What power, speed, and DPI settings did you use?


Laura Zaruba
09-02-2004, 8:39 AM
I scanned the photo at 600dpi (which I found out seems to be the highest my scanner will allow) and reduced it to 300 dpi in Photoshop. I ran it at 45P 50S 300dpi and it took 6:32 min to complete. Plus, I did very little to no alterations after using the Lasersketch parameters!

I am so excited! This is so much fun!

Shaddy Dedmore
09-02-2004, 2:05 PM
"after using the Lasersketch parameters!"

I'm very interested in what those Lasersketch parameters are.

I'm not sure it will help with the batch I got from them though, I can't seem to get that white color your picture appears to have. Mine all come out shades of grey. I can't get the detail yours has. (using 24TT 45W)

I'm just Jealous I guess. Nice job on the plaque.

mike wallis
09-02-2004, 3:15 PM
I think I recieved the same batch of marble you recieved. I'm also using the Photograv paramater provided by Lasersketch and get a the same results you get. I get very good results with there paramater using other suppliers marble. I may try Laser sketch again since Laura seems to have gotten a better grade.

Laura Zaruba
09-03-2004, 10:33 AM
Shaddy: Contact Matthew at Lasersketch for the parameters or actually, I could forward the e-mail they sent to me as Matthew is currently out of town for awhile. Send me your e-mail at eite@mchsi.com and I'll gladly pass the info on.

Lasersketch has been very helpful. If you get a bad batch I would contact them right away. I have no idea if they would take a return/exchange, but they are certainly more than willing to spend time working with you to get the settings right.

Have you tried the silver backfilling ink? I did not use it on the attached photo, but I did use it on the frame line around the photo and I've used it on another tile I did that had clip art and text. It really brightens things up. I did a 6" tile recreating a wedding invitation and used the silver backfill - very classy.
I've been showing my samples and have gotten a great response with the black marble. Luckily Lasersketch is relatively close to me and I'll be in their neighborhood next month. Probably time to stock up before the holidays and save on the shipping charges.