You need both
There are literally thousands of different graphics file formats, but in the end there are actually only 2 big types of graphics. “raster” and “vector”
Both have their own purpose and both are used in laser engraving.
The best way to think about it is already hidden in the name of our machine.
Laser engraver and cutter = lasering raster and vector
vector = cut
Vector graphics are composed of paths. They contain mathematical representations of a line. For example: draw a line from point (0 , 0) to (500 , 200)
These graphics can contain a lot of data, but mostly used is lines and curves.
You edit vector graphics with software packages like Adobe Illustrator, Coreldraw of the popular Inkscape.
Vectorlines are good candidates for CUTTING lines. You can cut at high power and cut all the way thru, but a vector line at low power gives a very small detailed engraving. Ideal for little text of details.
RASTER = ENGRAVE
Raster images are more like the images we make with a photocamera.
The image consists of a number of rows which are all filled with little rectangles. Each rectangle can have another color (in laser engraving we use grayscale and mostly we even use simple black and white rectangles)
Raster images are actually mostly used to engrave pictures/photo’s with a laser engraver.
They are the best way to produce nice photo’s, but they are not always that easy to master.
Therefore, I will not explain this in this article, but in the future dedicate another article to optimizing raster engraving.
I LIKE VECTOR
If you look at the picture with the stars, then you can immediately see the big disadvantage raster images have over vector. Vector images scale perfectly to whatever size you want. Lines always keep a sharp look. When you enlarge a bitmap image, then you see that the little rectangles are enlarged. This does not look nice at all.
I LIKE RASTER
As you can guess, raster images also have their use. It takes 2 seconds to make a nice photograph of somebody, but how much work would it be to convert this photo to perfect mathematical lines ? You can see that in these cases where you want to engrave photo’s, raster is the clear winner.
VECTOR vs RASTER -> 1 – 1
In laser cutting you use both raster and vector. That’s a proven fact !
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