GRAPHICS PRO

November '20

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have sent a job as raster only. Lines in graph- ics that start out thicker but become this thin due to shrinking the graphic down may un- intentionally cut rather than raster. If you have thin vector lines in a job, you may want to send the job as raster only and then remove the graphic, leaving only the intended cut line to cut out the object you wanted cut out. You can also convert the non- cut portion of the graphic to a bitmap. I con- vert vectors to bitmaps at 600 DPI unless I will laser it at a higher resolution. Ideally, you want to thicken these lines so they don't cut, as well as engrave sharp and viewable. SCRIPT FONTS Look at the illustration on page 90 that con- tains the words "Wildomar" and "Script" in five different script fonts. The first set of words has a thick script with a few thin lines. As you go from left to right, the fonts contain more thin lines. Fonts with serifs and in ital- ics can also have thin lines. They are gener- ally not a problem unless the font size is very small, such as 6 points or smaller. I usually won't go smaller than 10 points even for a sans serif font. Try to stick with script fonts with some thickness to all the lines, especially if the layout is crowded or the font size is smaller than you would have liked it to be (you don't always have the choice). LINE THICKNESS The illustration on page 90 that displays seven line thicknesses from a hairline to 3 points thick gives you some indication of how well they could be seen. They are pure black against pure white and have a high contrast. This is the best-case scenario. If this was a metal substrate such as a black engrav- ing plate that lasers to gold, you would have much less contrast, making graphics and text that much harder to view and read. Test the line widths with your own eyesight and com- fort. Remember, what you are viewing is the best-case scenario. I find anywhere from 1 point to as much as 2 points thick may be necessary to stand out. Glass with very little contrast between the text and graphics and the glass itself re- quires line widths in the 1 1/2 to 2 points thick to be readable. CONCLUSION When helping a customer pick out mate- rial, a product, or even if they want their own item laser engraved, consider the de- tails of the fonts and graphics to be used. How small will the text need to be? Will a graphic need to be simplified to look sharp? Which materials and color combinations will work best? Make sure your customer understands those trade-offs. Sometimes laser engraving is much more than just pushing the start button. Depending upon your products and cus- tomer base, the artwork and layout may provide the biggest challenge even before you push it. GP BOB HAGEL recently retired after owning Eagle's Mark Awards & Signs for 18 years in Southern California. While owning the business, he offered a full line of per- sonalized products using laser engraving, sandcarving, and full-color UV direct print on products. Today, he consults on starting and expanding personalized busi- nesses, and on improving production efficiency and quality. He can be reached at rjhagel@verizon.net. G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 0 N O V E M B E R G R A P H I C S P R O 9 1 ing plate that lasers to gold, you would have much less contrast, making graphics and text that much harder to view and read. Test the fort. Remember, what you are viewing is the 2 0 2 0 N O V E M B E R G R A P H I C S P R O

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