LightScribe is a disc labeling technology that uses your LightScribe CD/DVD drive's laser to etch labels directly onto your CDs and DVDs, rather than inserting them into a printer or printing paper stickers. All you have to do is flip your disc label-side down and reinsert it in your drive.
Creating labels with LightScribe requires the use of specially made LightScribe discs, but they should be readily available at computer and office stores, etc.
LightScribe Label Modes
To reduce labeling time, LightScribe works in three modes: title, content, and full. When you're working on a LightScribe label, you should see your current LightScribe mode in a combo box near the upper right hand side of the screen:
You can click on this combo box to select a new LightScribe mode, though you won't see the full effects of LightScribe modes unless you check the Enforce Title and Content Mode Boundaries box on the LightScribe page of the Preferences dialog (more on this below).
Title Mode is the fastest of the three LightScribe modes. It attains its speed by limiting the printing area to a 1.02-centimeter circular band. Title mode has just enough room for a row of circular text at the top of the label and another at the bottom of the label. Anything you place on your label outside this circular band will be invisible when you're working in title mode.
Content Mode is the second fastest LightScribe mode. It limits the printing area to a 2.29-centimeter circular band. Content mode has enough room for a title at the top of the label plus a listing of your disc's first six tracks or file names at the bottom. Again, anything you place on your label outside the content mode's circular band will be invisible when you're working in content mode.
Full Mode is the slowest LightScribe mode, but it allows you to use the entire printable area of your LightScribe disc label.
By default, Acoustica CD/DVD Label Maker doesn't apply LightScribe modes. When you select a new mode from the combo box, the label maker will just change your disc layout (the arrangement and size of text fields on the design) to match what you'd need if you were using LightScribe modes. Basically, it allows you to set up your basic label design without the limitations that LightScribe modes enforce. If you do want to use LightScribe modes, check the Enforce Title and Content Mode Boundaries box on the LightScribe page of the Preferences dialog. (You can launch the Preferences dialog by selecting the "Preferences" option from the "File" menu.)
When you're in title or content modes and you're enforcing mode boundaries (see the previous paragraph), Acoustica CD/DVD Label Maker will draw boundaries on your disc label window to indicate the bounding areas of your title or content mode labels. You can change their color or remove them altogether via the LightScribe page of the Preferences dialog.
LightScribe Disc Color Preview
Just to the left of the LightScribe-mode combo box is the disc-color combo box. This control lets you simulate what your label design will look like when printed on a LightScribe disc without having to launch a preview window first. It defaults to full-color mode, but you can also select grayscale mode (which will cause your editing window to display in grayscale), Gold LightScribe Disc (which will cause your editing window to simulate what your design will look like when printed on a gold LightScribe disc), Green LightScribe disc, Blue LightScribe disc, etc.
Please note that the disc-color setting you've chosen won't affect how your disc looks when it prints. You can select the Blue Disc setting and print on a Red Disc, select the Full Color and print on a gold disc, or any combination of disc-color mode and actual disc color you can think of. This setting just allows you to get an estimate of what your design will look like on the different colors of LightScribe disc. If you're printing on, say, a gold disc, the printed disc will look the same no matter what disc-color mode you're editing in.
Label Print Times
The label burn time varies with the amount of information contained on the label, the placement of the information on the label, the contrast level selected, the kind of LightScribe disc used, and the drive.
The LightScribe system burns the image in concentric circular rings from the inside diameter to the outside diameter of the label surface. Rings that contain no image data are skipped. A simple circular title, such as a Title Mode Label, is finished most quickly because the information is limited to circular rings close to the disc's inside diameter.
The density of the rings is adjusted according to the contrast level selection, so higher contrast is achieved through more densely packed rings.
The LightScribe disc itself and the drive compatibilities with the disc also influence the label burn time.
Given such a high number of variables, it's hard to predict exactly how long it will take for your LightScribe labels to print, but they'll generally be in a range from 30 seconds to 30 minutes.
In all cases, the writing system engine runs in the background and you can go on to other tasks while the label is burning.
LightScribe Print Contrast Levels
LightScribe provides three different contrast levels for you to choose from when labeling your discs. The label burn time will increase from Draft to Normal to Best, but so will the print quality.
Draft: Provides the fastest burn time with lowest contrast. Use draft level for utility labels.
Normal: Provides moderate burn time with good contrast.
Best: Provides the sharpest contrast with the longest burn time.
Can I Get Better Quality than the "Best" Contrast Level Provides?
Yes. Try downloading the contrast-enhancement utility from the LightScribe website. It will increase your label contrast and quality, at the cost of slightly longer labeling times.
Selecting a LightScribe Drive to Print With
When you launch Acoustica CD/DVD Label Maker, it will automatically set your first LightScribe drive to be the printing target, unless you've manually selected a particular paper type/drive/direct-to-CD printer at some time in the past. You can change this selection via the paper-type combo box (yes, we know, LightScribe isn't really a kind of label paper) at the bottom left corner of the label-editing window:
In addition, when you click the "LightScribe" button on the main toolbar to print a LightScribe label, you can select your favorite LightScribe drive (if you've got more than one) from the LightScribe-printing dialog that pops up.
LightScribe Editing in Grayscale
By default, Acoustica CD/DVD Label Maker will display your LightScribe editing window, as well as all image and layout thumbnails, in grayscale, to better simulate what your finished LightScribe label will look like. If you'd prefer to edit in color, go to the LightScribe page of the Preferences dialog and uncheck the "Edit labels in grayscale" and "Display thumbnails in grayscale" options. (You can launch the Preferences dialog by selecting the "Preferences" option from the "File" menu.)
Can I Do Other Stuff while LightScribe is Labeling?
Yes. LightScribe labeling doesn't have the buffer underrun issues that can arise when you're burning the data side of a disc, so you can run any other applications (except for other LightScribe apps) while LightScribe is labeling. You can even edit the label that's currently printing without affecting the print job: since Acoustica CD/DVD Label Maker sends all the necessary label information to LightScribe at the start of the printing process, any further changes you make to your label will have no effect on the label that's currently printing.