Laser engrave productively with relief mode

Relief mode is a function where the laser power changes based on the grayscale values in the graphic. In this way, it is possible to use different power levels during a single job. This saves on processing time and heightens productivity. We will show you how to use relief mode in this guide.

Process type: Standard vs. Relief mode

Standard mode

In standard mode, the laser power is chosen in the parameter database using RGB colours. Many different colours are then handled sequentially by the laser.

Relief mode

However, in Relief mode, many engraving colours and power levels can be done in one go. The laser's power changes based on the gray value in the image. So white is processed with no power, light areas with low power, dark areas with high power and black with full power.
This needs an 8-bit grayscale graphic (256 grayscale values). Colour graphics automatically get converted into grayscale when printing. Processing time may largely be reduced when compared to standard mode.

How much time does it save?

Our camouflage pattern can show you how efficient this method is. On our Speedy 300 60W we engraved this 15x15 cm graphic in just under 38 minutes using standard mode with multiple RGB engraving parameters (diagram A).

With Relief mode, we achieved the same engraving in 13:47 with the same speed settings (diagram B), meaning that processing time was reduced by almost two-thirds.

Even if only two different engraving settings are processed together, you will gain a 50% increase in productivity!

How can I find out whether my material allows multiple engraving effects?

The most exact method for finding out if your material allows multiple colours when engraving is to determine parameters with a grayscale matrix. After engraving the matrix, choose which effects you want. For our case, we decided to use boxes 22, 30 and 50.


Run the grayscale matrix with the same width as the image you want to use. In sensitive materials, even a tiny difference in acceleration distance could have a large impact.

How should I prepare my graphic?

Editing the image is the second most important step for processing multiple engraving effects in one job. Normally, you would assign a colour from the RGB colour palette to each different engraving (see diagram A). With relief mode, instead of RGB colour values, you assign the previously selected grayscale values that you got from the grayscale matrix. Therefore the three colours would instead be 22% gray, 30% gray and 50% gray.

How do I correctly send the graphic to my Trotec laser?

In order to properly engrave the grayscale, the "Relief" process type must be chosen. When you send the image, use the same parameters as before when you sent the grayscale matrix. All you have to enter is the size of your final image. Because of the three gray values we assigned in our graphic, the laser power output is always based on this grayscale. What this means is that with a grayscale value of 22%, only 22% of the power in the parameter database will be used.

Which settings do I need to set in the parameter database?

The parameter database's settings are very straightforward: Use the same settings that you used with the grayscale matrix. As already mentioned, the power is controlled through the grayscale values in the image, so no changes are necessary here.

When can I use this method?

This method is fitting for when you want to use multiple different engraving parameters in one job. The single requirement is that all engraving parameters have the same z-Offset value.

This efficient processing method is available on every Trotec laser machine.

Further information

Need more help?

Contact the Trotec service hotline where top qualified and motivated laser experts will assist you with any questions or problems.

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