I don't understand photos

I’ve been dabbling in etching photos, and I’ve also been having a conversation with @rcline, who is showing me how to do things. While I’m waiting for replies, I thought I would start this thread to get some feedback. I have a Rottweiler, and my friend has her brother. For their birthdays, I thought I would etch their faces along with a paw print. However, the issue is that the images come out black or barely visible, and I don’t understand how to resolve this problem. (I’ve included images.) I followed the instructions to make the photos black and white and added a test image (the one posted in this thread). But when I click on preview, it’s all black. I’ve even tried clicking on “invert” or “negative,” but it still doesn’t look right. However, when I click on “show paths,” the image appears red. I’m completely lost. I also don’t understand how to use the image settings in LightBurn or when to use which setting.

I hope I explained it well enough. If not, let me know, and I can try to clarify further

I hope I explained well enough if not let me know and I can try better

You picked one of the most difficult items to deal with…

This video by Laser Everything is the best on setting your dpi/lpi. What is covered will assist you throughout your laser voyage…

Alex does this on a fiber but the concepts of how it works applies to any laser with any material…

Good luck


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thanks yeah I figured I probably picked the harder thing :joy: usually how my luck goes :wink:

Cute pup. Thank you for this post. Jack has you on a solid track. The video shared is great. I thought I might be able to offer a little workflow information that might help as well. :slight_smile:

This is to be expected. The ‘Preview’ window shows every mark that will be sent to your laser. When viewing, you have the option to zoom-in / zoom-out to “see” the details. When you first open the ‘Preview’ window, you should be presented with the entire output, zoomed to include everything you will send to the laser. Start to zoom in, and the greater details emerge as you do so.


We have documentation we wrote to assist, including search. :slight_smile:

Thank you for the kind words. She is indeed very cute and definitely has her own unique personality.
I’ll do some reading as suggested. I think I understand, but I will read and search more about the subject. Much appreciated.

@Rick, I apologize for bothering you. Maybe I’m missing a step (I have a learning disability, so things don’t always come to me as easily as they do to others, so please forgive me). It’s kind of hit or miss at the moment. After reading and watching some videos, I use several photo editing software, including “imag r,” and sometimes it’s successful, while other times it’s not. At one point, I had the preview clear and light, similar to the adjust image screen. However, lately, the preview screen still shows it dark and engraves it that way, even if I edit the image (e.g., brightness, etc.). It continues to burn dark, which contradicts the two screens.

The preview screen only shows where the machine will turn your laser on and off. It has no idea about the power of your laser or what type of material you are using… therefore it can’t duplicate what damage your laser does to the material.

Make sense?


Yes, it makes sense. I apologize for any confusion. I ran another image and tried different settings, but sometimes I forget to adjust them. I apologize for that. I just need to practice more and document my process so I can remember what I do. Again, I apologize. It takes me a bit longer to understand and remember things. For some reason, I keep thinking the preview is what the laser will do. :person_facepalming:

It is exactly what the laser will do… what power/speed setting and material you have is not known how they will interact.

Next time you view, you can zoom in and see where the laser is firing.

Use the preview to show you how the machine will do to see if it’s what you expect…

Material/damage/power are something you need to learn. If I had to pick one of the most useful functions in Lightburn, it would be the preview…

I understand your confusion. How it’s actually working isn’t always obvious.

Take care


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