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Art Q: auto-tracing line art into vector graphics
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Author:  Anyia [ Sun Jul 16, 2017 3:32 am ]
Post subject:  Art Q: auto-tracing line art into vector graphics

I'm posting here in the hope that one of you talented line-arty people will have some wisdom for me :)

So my situation is that I have a pencil sketch that I've scanned, and am now needing it to load into my CAD program for further tweaking before I can machine it. This means I need it as vector graphics, ideally SVG but DXF would work too. I had naievely thought that auto-tracing lines off a pencil sketch should be reasonably straight forward, and that I'd be off adjusting beziers and moving feature groups around in no time. (You may laugh at this point, it's okay, I won't mind.) As I'm not normally doing this sort of thing, I'm not blessed with Illustrator or similar professional tools. I've tried using Inkscape's auto-tracer, and while largely functional, it generates an ungodly amount of nodes which makes any post-processing hopeless, even after Simplifying the path. Likewise I'm no longer equipped with a tablet, so I can't quickly hand-trace it either. That is, assuming there even is a way of getting beziers straight off a tablet these days - maybe I'm displaying more naivite here? Re-tracing with a mouse is not working out for me all. Me and Bezier are no longer on talking terms (likely because I don't have the feel for where I need to drop a node to make everything line up once I tug at it).

Hence my question - is there any sane way of doing this using free software? Have I overlooked something that's obvious to someone who works in this space a lot? Suggestions are most appreciated! At the moment it feels like the path of least resistance would be to just print a copy, stick it on the material to be machined, and then just hand-route it, but even that approach would benefit a lot from a clean-up pass in the CAD program (or Inkscape, for that matter).

Author:  Talihawk [ Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Art Q: auto-tracing line art into vector graphics

I hate using illustrator, so I rarely use it, But if you are going to ask art questions I'd suggest going to deviantart and asking there. They have a forums area, and lots of groups that might have some one who'd be able to answer this if no one here can.

Author:  Anyia [ Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:37 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Art Q: auto-tracing line art into vector graphics

Thanks Tali! I ended up doing the unthinkable and read the manual for Inkscape, then just dropped the scan in the background and redrew it with b-splines. Took a couple of hours, but worked out ok.

Author:  Talihawk [ Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Art Q: auto-tracing line art into vector graphics

Fun. ;( Is inkscape able to save it in an illustrator format?

Author:  Anyia [ Sat Jul 22, 2017 5:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Art Q: auto-tracing line art into vector graphics

Yeah it can do .eps and a whole heap of others. For getting it into my CAD program (FreeCAD), the default SVG format worked well.

Author:  Talihawk [ Sat Jul 22, 2017 12:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Art Q: auto-tracing line art into vector graphics

Cool! I'll have to check that out.

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