Demanding surface-quality requirements for inertial confinement fusion (ICF) capsules motivated the development of a pulsed laser ablation method to reduce or eliminate undesirable surface defects. The pulsed laser ablation technique takes advantage of a full surface (4π) capsule manipulation system working in combination with an optical profiling (confocal) microscope. Based on the defect topography, the material removal rate, and the laser pulse energy and its beam profile, a customized laser raster pattern is derived to remove the defect. The pattern is a table of coordinates and number of pulses that dictate how the defect will be vaporized until its height is level with the capsule surface. This paper explains how the raster patterns are optimized to minimize surface roughness and how surface roughness after laser ablation is simulated. The simulated surfaces are compared with actual ablated surfaces. Large defects are reduced to a size regime where a tumble-finishing process produces very high-quality surfaces devoid of high mode defects. The combined polishing processes of laser ablation and tumble finishing have become routine fabrication steps for National Ignition Facility capsule production.