Laser engraved picture is too dark

I am trying to laser engraver my first photo. It is a jpg file. But, when I preview the image it shows up very dark on the screen so I have not printed it yet. I am doing it in gray scale. I have changed brightness and contrast to every possible combination I can think of, but when it goes in to process page it is just a dark mess. Is anyone else having this problem and have suggestions? This is the 1600 on the Snapmaker 2.0.

I believe that the preview screen is showing tool paths and not really how the part is going to come out

Share your photo. Some just don’t work well with laser. Needs to have good definition and contrast.
Preview isn’t great. You can’t go by it. In 3.13.0 they’ve finally just labeled it as toolpath and it’s better. No matter what version of Luban you’re going to have to do tests and actually run it to find out what it looks like.
With laser you always need extra material to figure out settings. You can usually use cardboard to test how the image will look overall but your actual final material will need it’s own settings.
Leave the settings for brightness and contrast at default. If you find you need to adjust the image, you’re better off doing it in an actual graphics program.

You haven’t shared what you’re trying to engrave onto so can’t give you any guidance where to start for speed or power.
What you should really do is take a small section of the photo, say 10-15mm square and duplicate it several times in Luban and set different power levels for each and then run it. Choose the one that looks best and then decide if it’s good or if you want to do more tests to narrow it down even more. Or if you need to adjust the image.


Thank you so much! It dawned on me after I posted my question and did some more reading to do just that, test on cardboard. I originally tested the picture on the wood square that came with the SM2. It turned out very dark. I’ve read other posts that say to adjust the density. I will try this tomorrow, on a small part of the pic at different settings. I am quickly realizing that this is a lot of trial and error and there is no set formula. Thanks again for your quick response!

I’ll just add that paper does not darken the same way as wood. It’s great for some tests, but it’s not a substitute for testing on the material you want your final image on.

Thank you. And I assume I need to lower the laser intensity significantly for cardboard versus wood? My final project will be done on a piece of oak or poplar.

Yes. The cardboard is just a cheap way to get a feel for how the picture burns if you don’t have enough spare wood. It’s a really rough estimation but you can usually tell if it’s going to work at all.
If you have scrap wood you’re better off using that. If you have a sander you can sand off any tests and try again.
Poplar will react much differently than oak. It will give a more uniform burn where oak will react differently with different parts of the grain.

Ah! Good idea! I do have a sander. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of that! Thanks for the help!