In this tutorial we will show you how to optimize a photograph for engraving with a picture editing program, and which laser parameters to pay attention to. 

1. For the engraving in this tutorial we are using laser-friendly poplar plywood, which is available in our material store

2. Open a picture editing program of your choice. For our tutorial we have downloaded a free program called  Gimp,
which works with most operating systems.

Drag-and-drop a picture of your choice into your working area. Alternatively, use the menu to navigate to File > Open and upload your picture. The photograph in our example is from Unsplash.

3. Let's begin with adjustments of the picture. In the menu above click on Picture > Mode > Indexed..

4. In the colour table choose black/white pallet, and under Dithering > Colour Dithering choose Positioned. Then click on Convert

This is how our edited picture file looks now: 

5. Save your file under File > Export as... We have saved our picture as a PNG. It does not matter, which bitmap file format you are going to choose - a JPG would work just as well.

If you zoom into your picture, you will see the points which the laser is using for orientation. Your graphic consists of single dots (also known as pixels). These pixels are later interpreted by the Mr Beam software which turns the laser on for black pixels and turns it off for white ones. 

6. Upload your file to the Mr Beam Software. In our example we have chosen plywood in the material settings and then the following parameter settings (click on advanced settings in the bottom left corner to see all options): 

7. Our laser job is finished after approx. 1,5 hours. In the end you can clean your engraving with a sponge to get rid of excess soot particles. 

Please note: Every picture is different and every material reacts differently. It is possible that the laser parameter setting from are example won't work for your design 100%. With some photographs you might want to knock our the background (e.g. if it is too noisy or too similar to the main motive). We recommend to always start with testing a small version of your design on a spare piece of material, to gain quick insights whether the settings are working well for you.  

We also have a video on this topic (in German) on our YouTube channel.