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Printess has built-in functionality for engraving products which supports editing and preview of products created by laser engraving or machined engraving. From an editor standpoint engraving is pretty complex as sometimes material gets burned, sometimes material gets removed letting the original metal shine through, and sometimes glass surfaces get whitened by a laser.

Simple Engraving

Let’s first look at an example of a laser based workflow for a wooden keyring. We have set up the document size equal to the engraving area on the keyring and using a white pasteboard can still show the complete product. This is the configuration page for the customer where he can choose a font and enter his name while enjoying a live preview of the final product:

Wood keyring

As one can see we have used a couple of effects like blend mode multiply and inner shadow to achieve a photorealistic preview of the lasered keyring. Also, we used a brownish color to simulate the burnt wood.
But for production one will need a pure black and white representation of the engraving. Let’s have a look at our print document.

Engraving Output

As one can see the print document in this template is reduced to the pure black and white output for the laser. The print document itself simply consist of a subdocument from the main document. In the main document the wooden keyring resides on a layer which is set to non printing and the subdocument within it is set to Hide Non Printable Layers this way the keyring image is not present in the print document.

Sub Document Hide Non Printing

But how did we achieve that the text and graphics are shown in pure black and without any effects? This is done by enabling engraving mode for the print document, disabling all effects masks etc. and the black color is shown because the engraving mode is set to black and white. The engraving setting can be found at the bottom of the general document settings tab.


When Engraving Mode is turned on

Main settings are the Engraved and Not Engraved preview color which we will cover later in this article.

Additional Engraving settings which are mainly present to allow to disable setting which have been used in the main document to achieve a nice product presentation:

Using the Engraving Colors

Now let’s look at an engraving workflow where a black paint gets removed from a lighter showing the golden color of the metal. Yes, we could build special sticker snippets in the right colors - but what about images which also will effectively turn out black & white when lasering and additionally need to get lasered inverse. So, a lot of complexity involved here to allow a buyer to edit such a product.

Thankfully Printess has several settings to make this possible.

As the masked preview is hard to get right initially, we have created a video on using engraving colors and perfect previews:

First, we need to set the engraving colors to define the right appearance for engraved and non-engraved portions of the document. As the metal shines through wherever engraving happens we have set the Engraved color to a golden color. To use the engraving colors it is important to also have Black and White turned off as well.

Set engraving color

Now every placed text, photo, logo, or snippet will be shown exclusively in these two colors. A simple rule applies for graphics. Any color which is not white will be shown in the engraved color white and transparent areas will be shown in the Not Engraved color. This allows for fast template creation as well as full reusability for existing group and layout snippets.

Images do also have special filters when engraving mode is switched on. Most importantly by default all images are added with Monochrome / Engraving activated. This means the image is reduced to a black and white image as engraving is not a grayscale process. The Threshold / Contrast control then allows for setting the engraved / not engraved threshold. This threshold control is also visible to buyers during image upload giving them control over the black & white appearance of their uploaded images.

Set engraving color

Additionally, you can set the Color Mode for an image the following values are available:

Finally Invert Image allows to invert the image if necessary.

Using these settings and a lighter as backdrop for our editing already gives a reassuring representation of the outcome while editing is easy without extra efforts.

Lighter Example

To achieve a photorealistic preview in this scenario one can use the subdocument setting preview image draw which is made especially for engraving. This preview only functionality allows to mask an image with a sub-document as image mask.

Preview Image Draw

For the lighter example we used an image of the lighter with the metal structure visible across the complete lighter. Combined with hiding non-printable layers it makes very realistic engraving previews possible.

Lighter Preview

Glass Engraving

As one last example, let’s have a look at a workflow to engrave glass trophy. When a laser engraves glass it leaves a white spot where engraving happens. To provide a similar impression while editing we set the engraving colors the same way, so a white Engraved color and a dark gray Not Engraved Color. Additionally, we’ve added an image frame using the engrave-logo setting for the frame.

Lighter Preview

Using the same trick as in the above example we have added the geometry of the trophy to a non-printing layer in the edit document making it possible to discard it for the preview as well as the print document via the Hide Non Printable Layer switch for the subdocument.

But let’s assemble a proper preview for the trophy. Not much is needed, just place the subdocument with a little perspective reduce opacity a little and turn on Blend Mode screen.

Lighter Preview

Let’s have a look at the final buyer preview of the glass trophy.

Lighter Preview