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Engraving machines use different types of engraving software to transfer photos, fonts, logos and designs onto a plated surface. Generally, there are three different types of engraving software packages available. These include generic, standalone and companion packages that vary in terms of capabilities and features. The most complete package is the standalone application, which is designed to perform both image manipulation tasks and control the operation of laser engraving machines.
Generic packages are a basic type of engraving software and their primary function is to prepare photos and layouts before they are engraved. They do not control the machines, but allow users to customize the images and designs that they wish to use. Award plaque plates and employee name badges often feature logos and text that are customized according to font and layout preferences. The generic software packages allow users to manipulate lettering, shading, contrast, and brightness.
Standalone engraving software applications contain the most comprehensive set of functions since the programs are made to focus exclusively on engraving. They control the movements of the laser on engraving machines according to user specifications. Laser engraving machines use two types of movements to create images. Vector movements are typically used to create outlines, minute details and borders, while raster movements create images and horizontal or vertical lines.
Another common feature of standalone engraving software packages is a utility that gives users the ability to create their own designs. Graphics can be designed, modified or uploaded into the application. Users can also design their own text and template layouts. There isn't any need to have a separate graphics or drawing program, since standalone packages come equipped with their own set of clip art and templates.
A third type of engraving software package is the companion application. This type of program is actually a tool designed to complete a generic program. It is designed to work alongside the creative software and helps translate those designs to an engraving machine. It controls and manipulates the lasers on the machines so that they correspond with the design specifications contained in the generic application.
Engraving software packages feature many different options related to texts, fonts, layouts, photos and engraving outputs. Many of these programs come preloaded with a specific range of font designs. Some are manufactured to work with certain types of laser machine movements, such as vector engraving. Text entry features allow users to manipulate letter heights and lengths.
Similar to a word processing program, users can automatically arrange text in columns or condense it to fit width and height specifications. Some programs feature auto layouts for specific objects that may need to be engraved, such as identification tags or signs. This helps users take the guesswork out of being able to fit a variety of images and text on one object.
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