How-ToLaser Engraving InstituteSettingsThe Laser Engraving InstituteWood


Prepping a photo for wood engraving using Corel Draw, RD Works, and a Chinese Laser

This course, will show you, step by step how to prep a photo correctly so you can get fantastic results on your Generic Laser using nothing but Corel Draw and exporting to RDWorks.

Import A Photograph

Open Corel Draw in a new file and Import the photo of your choice


This is a crucial part of the process. Most people think by grabbing the corner of the picture, it makes it bigger and adds more pixels. DON’T EVER DO THIS.

  • Image Resizing: Changing the size the image will print without changing the number of pixels in the image.
  • Image Resampling: Changing the number of pixels in the image.

You always want to Re Sample. Also once you have finished prepping your photo, you CANNOT resize or resample. It will ruin the picture.

Change To Grayscale

Change picture to Grayscale

Tone Curve

What is Tone Curve? A lot of people might be confused, or they might be intimidated by how a Tone Curve works, but it’s really quite simple. The Tone Curve is a powerful tool that can be used to make advanced tonal adjustments on your image

We use Tone Curve a LITTLE at a time when processing images for engraving

When you click on Tone Curve, a box will come up that looks like this


Take your pointer and grab the line, EXACTLY IN THE MIDDLE, and move it up, ONE SQUARE

Once you click out of Tone Curve, you can see your image has a lighter tone to it

Gamma Correction

What is Gamma Correction?

Lets you accentuate detail in low contrast areas without affecting shadows or highlights. In a nutshell. It’s going to make your engrave look really light. THAT’S OK. YOU WANT THAT!

Change your Gamma Value to 3.5

See how the picture is light, but is still detailed? It’s perfect.

Unsharp Mask

Although it sounds counter-intuitive, you use the “Unsharp Mask” to sharpen an image. “Sharpening” means to increase the level of contrast between the colors of neighboring pixels. When using the Unsharp Mask, you can adjust sliders to change the level of sharpening, including the amount percentage, radius and threshold. The Amount determines how much you sharpen, with a higher value creating a stronger effect; Radius determines the how wide the edges around your selected area sharpen; and Threshold determines the color value between the adjacent pixels that you want to sharpen.

Make your percentage 500, your radius 20 and your threshold 6

That is the “POP” that the laser needs to give it that really fine detail. Now, if we weren’t sending the file to the laser from corel, THIS is when we would export the file. However since we are not, we will continue on.

Change To Black & White 1 Bit

Now is the time where we change it to Black and White 1 bit so the laser can read it properly.

Click on Black and White, 1 Bit.

Make your conversion method halftone

Angle at 0

100 Lines Per Inch

Screen Type: Line

You should get this:

Sending To RDWorks

Open RDWorks. Import the Bitmap.

Import BMP image to RDWorks

Wood fibers should be parallel to the long axis (X).

Image as well.

Rotate image 90 degrees if necessary.

Set parameters for engrave

Parameters for 40 watt power laser

Speed(mm/s): 300 Max

Power(%): 20

Interval(mm): 0.05

Material: solid birch, plywood birch

Speed and power must be chosen by experimentation.


Here is the sample photo to upload and compare: beg-prep-wood-intro-1.jpg



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