Posts tagged ‘autotrace’

How to trace using transparency in Inkscape

Ever wonder how to autotrace those hard to handle .pngs with light colors against a transparent background. It’s quick and easy in Inkscape? Hint: It involves my favorite tool…the paint bucket. I’ll show you in less than 2 minutes.

September 24, 2012 at 7:41 pm 6 comments

New online tool has lots to offer diecutters

I stumbled across a new online tool (or rather suite of tools) today called Rapid Resizer that has a lot to offer the digital diecutting community, although we do not seem to be its market. Here are a few of the things I discovered I could accomplish online there for free (at least for now):

Free Online Raster to Vector Converter

All of our cutting programs can do their own autotraces now (wouldn’t it have been nice to have this when they didn’t!?) but Rapid Resizer offers a few tricks that your cutting software may not. Taking a .jpg input from your hard drive (.png did not work for me) it can return PDF, SVG. DXF, EPS or AI output. The really cool thing, though, is the option to centerline trace. This will be especially useful to those who do not have MTC with its stellar “font thinning” function. For example, Silhouette Studio users can input a line drawing or text and get a single stroke DXF file in return that will be be much easier to work with for drawing with pens or for rhinestone work. For example, Doodling Debbie over at Paper Pulse converted one of her favorite fonts, which she shares.

Wordle lovers can instantly turn their screen captures into a vector PDF with this, but they will lose the colors as this only returns black and white vectors.

Photo to Pattern Converter

This tool will be helpful for converting photos to cutting files for vinyl cutting, etching and stencils. Input your photo and choose manual, then adjust the slider to get the contrast you like. Then right click to save the new image or try the options under “save to any size”>preview to see if that gives you a better and/or larger image. You will most likely still need to smooth and remove some detail to make good cutfiles, but this may give you a good start, especially if you aren’t handy with Photoshop. Update: For this application, also see Stencilizer.

My Stampmaker friends will find this especially useful because after the photo is converted to black and white, a click of the invert button makes it ready to import into your stamp layout.

Other tools at this site include Free Online Stencil Maker , an online text layout tool with adjustable arching,

Print Patterns to Any Size, Convert PDF to Image (not working for me yet) and Save Ink Printing PDFs. The tools can be used together or separately.

There are also premium features on the site, and developer Patrick Roberts has generously offered my readers a free week if you’d like to explore those. Your free week will start as soon as you click here.

As for me, I still do most of my designing/converting in Inkscape with a little help from Photoshop but I love scouting new web apps. Will be interesting to see how this one evolves.

June 2, 2012 at 5:29 pm 7 comments

Inkscape paint bucket basics video

Here’s the video I should have done first, showing how to tame the Inkscape paint bucket tool. Also included in this video is an example of how to use this technique to convert graphics from Lettering Delights.

Paint Bucket Technique for layered color logos video is here

April 9, 2010 at 9:10 pm 10 comments

Tracing a simple template – Paint Bucket Mini Tutorial


Want a quick and easy way to autotrace a simple line art shape in Inkscape without the pesky double line problem? Well, once you have your defaults set, all it takes is one click with the paint bucket tool.

The steps above work for any fairly crisp line art you can open or import into Inkscape. Zoom in so that the shape you want to vectorize fits on the screen and is as large as possible without the “jaggies.” Clicking the plus and minus keys is helpful for finding the right zoom level. Then simply follow the steps on the screen shot above, which is from this file if you want to follow along. (Note: I set my paint bucket fill to none and its stroke to hot pink for high visibility, but remember, colors, line styles, etc. don’t matter to SCAL.)
Some other notes:

  • If nothing happens when the paint bucket is clicked, try again and see if the infobar gives you an error message.
  • If you do not see an outline appear, but a dotted rectangle appears around the shape, you need to set the stroke (outline color/thickness/transparency) so it is visible. This can be done with the Object>Fill and Stroke pallette.
  • You can also switch to outline mode to see your new vector View>Display mode>Outline. The red X is your original image, which doesn’t display in outline mode since it is a bitmap.
  • If your template’s shape is not completely closed like the one above, use the “Close Gaps” adjustment to the right of the other settings before you click with the paint bucket.
  • If your template’s lines are not crisp like the one above or it has many levels of gray, turn the threshold level up and try again. If you do not like the result, just backspace, change the threshold setting and try again.
  • When you are done tracing, you may want to press control-L one or more times to simplify the trace before you cut it. Set the simplification threshold in your Inkscape Preferences>Misc to .0005 for best results.
  • If your template consists of multiple shapes, you can hold down the shift key as you click the paint bucket to automatically union each piece to the last.

June 13, 2009 at 7:44 pm 5 comments

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