Laser engrave productively with the relief mode

Relief mode is a laser function where the laser power is processed depending on the gray value of a graphic. Thus, it becomes possible to process multiple power levels in one simple operation. This saves processing time and increases productivity. Learn how it works by following the guide below.

Process type: Standard vs. Relief mode

Standard mode

In standard mode, the desired power is selected in the parameter database using various RGB colors. This allows multiple engraving colors to be processed by the laser engraver one after the next.

Relief mode

Process multiple engraving colours or power levels in Relief mode, in one operation. Depending on the gray value of a graphic, the laser power varies. This means that white is processed without power, light areas at low power, dark areas at higher power and black at full power.
This requires an 8-bit grayscale graphic (256 grayscale values). Color images are automatically converted to grayscale images during printing. Compared to standard mode, the processing time can be significantly reduced.

How much time does it save?

Our engraved camouflage pattern shows you how effective this technique is. we engraved this 15x15 cm graphic on our Speedy300, 60W in precisely below thirty eight minutes in normal mode with multiple RGB engraving parameters (diagram A).

Using the Relief mode, we are able to accomplish an equivalent engraving result in 13:47 using identical speed settings (diagram B), reducing the processing time by virtually 2/3.

Even if you process solely two different engraving settings together, you will achieve a 500th increase in productivity!

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

The most precise way to find out whether your material allows multiple colors when engraving, would be to determine the parameters using a grayscale matrix. After you have engraved the matrix, choose your desired effects. In this scenario we chose boxes 22, 30 and 50.


Let the grayscale matrix run in the same width as your graphic that would follow. Even small differences in acceleration distance can make a significant difference in sensitive materials.

Preparing your graphic

The second most essential step for processing multiple engraving effects in one operation is editing. Normally you assign a color from the RGB color palette for the various engravings (see diagram A). With our method, instead of the RGB color values, you assign the grayscale values that you previously selected from the grayscale matrix. So the three different colors would instead be 22% grey, 30% grey and 50% grey.

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

The “Relief” process type is a requirement for your Trotec laser to engrave the grayscale properly. when sending the graphic, you use precisely the same settings as before when sending the grayscale matrix. you only need to enter the dimensions of your final graphic. thanks to the three grey values that we have assigned in our graphic, the laser power output is always based on this grayscale. this suggests that with a grayscale value of 22, only 22nd of the power entered in the parameter database will be output.

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

The settings in the parameter database are very simple: Use the same parameters that you used before in the grayscale matrix. As already mentioned, we control the power using the grayscale values in the graphic, so no adjustment is required here.

When can I use this method?

Basically, this method is always suitable if you want to process various engraving parameters in one job. The only requirement is that all engraving parameters use the same z-Offset value.

This time-saving processing method can be used on all Trotec laser machines and equipment.

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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