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Retep

Converting Pixel drawing to Vector?

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Is it possible to either trace a pixel image into a vector or convert from pixel to a vector outline such as the image of the coffee bean below?

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Hi Retep,

Welcome to Affinity Forums :)

No, Affinity Photo/Designer doesn't have an auto-tracing feature/functionality not is able to convert a pixel selection into a vector shape at the moment.

You will have to use a third party software for that like Image Vectorizer, Vector Magic, or Super Vectorizer 2. Inkscape (open-source) also includes tracing functionality.

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Could I please add that pixel to vector images would be amazing. I just bought affinity designer as an alternative to Adobe illustrator as their prices are ridiculous and didn't realise that affinity couldn't do this so am pretty disappointed right now. As a photographer and designer this would be my main use for this software. Please add ASAP :D

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Is it possible to either trace a pixel image into a vector or convert from pixel to a vector outline such as the image of the coffee bean below?

attachicon.gifvintage bean on white background.jpg

Bummer, this has been requested for about 3 years now.  I assumed I just wasn't finding the right tool, but it still just doesn't exist.  On a side note, all those listed vector tools are kind of useless, especially for a Windows user.

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Bummer, this has been requested for about 3 years now.  I assumed I just wasn't finding the right tool, but it still just doesn't exist.  On a side note, all those listed vector tools are kind of useless, especially for a Windows user.

 

Download Inkscape for windows. There is a pretty good tracing module based on potrace, which is a widely used open source app. It is not well documented, so difficult to use. At least within Inkscape, one doesn't have to feed in command line variables. With some trial and error, it will make decent results that can be used in AD. Don't know how the Windows version of Inkscape works, but the Mac version is, erm, quirky.

 

Note, the developer has been working on it for 16 years. To me, that indicates it is not a trivial task to implement.


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The problem with potrace is not that it can't produce accurate, good looking results. It can do that, although some trial & error with the settings often is required to get that. The big problem is it creates many, many more nodes than manual tracing or a 'smarter' algorithm would produce -- sometimes hundreds of times more -- to get a reasonably accurate tracing.

 

There are various suggestions to mitigate this problem, like applying a small amount of blur or using a lower resolution version of the image, but in my experience this is far to tedious & hit or miss to be a viable solution for more than the occasional conversion. 

Another problem it shares with every other algorithmic tracer I have ever used is all the vectors produced have no stroke; instead, most are stacked on one or more larger outlines filled with the stroke color(s). This has the benefit of allowing very nuanced changes in the equivalent of the stroke width, but it makes it very difficult to organize the vector elements into logical groups so they can be modified or copied & pasted into other projects.

 

The Affinity staff have said they will offer a tracer only if & when they are happy with its capabilities. It is just a guess but I suspect they would like to avoid these issues & offer an "it just works" tracer that requires little or no trail & error to get something very close to what a skilled user could get by manually tracing the image. I think this would require much more advanced tracing algorithms than are currently in use, possibly ones that model human visual perception to determine what can & cannot be ignored, much like the lossy MPEG compressors do, but only in the spacial domain.


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Then a tracer may never happen if that is Serif's criteria...and I know you don't actually know what that is.

 

And I do not personally believe anywhere close to that is required.

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Well I wouldn't rely on all these statements at all, those who have a need now and yet for a tracer should take something available and use that instead. There are a bunch of free and commercial available Win+Mac tools for these tasks, like autotrace and potrace (there are also some GUI frontends available for those beside Inkscape) and there are also free to use online services. Related to nodes handling and all that blabla, it often depends also on the input image quality and the way each tool deals with these via it's customizable settings. - And finally having some tracer for automatically vectorizing a bunch of pixel images is often even better than having nothing at all or doing all by hand for dozens of images.

 

BTW for Win even that old and nowadays freely usable version of MS Expression Design 4 has some sort of ability of tracing support inside. Also alternatively LibreOffice Draw too has AFAI recall some vectorization capabilities build-in!


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Oh, I believed you. I just wouldn't have known if you didn't mention it.

 

I use ED and the earlier Creature House product (MS bought the application for making ED) for the skeletal strokes. In some respects the Creature House is better in this regard.

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Didn't know that tool in the past (designer-info, creativemac), just after MS has taken it long time over I've first time heard from it. Only when I used some of the MS Expression suite tools for programming some Silverlight stuff some years ago, I came first time in contact with MS ED.


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Download Inkscape for windows. There is a pretty good tracing module based on potrace, which is a widely used open source app. It is not well documented, so difficult to use. At least within Inkscape, one doesn't have to feed in command line variables. With some trial and error, it will make decent results that can be used in AD. Don't know how the Windows version of Inkscape works, but the Mac version is, erm, quirky.

 

Note, the developer has been working on it for 16 years. To me, that indicates it is not a trivial task to implement.

Yeah, I've given Inkscape a try in the past.  I actually found some fairly recent web based tools that gave me better results than Inkscape did, but I wouldn't say that makes the task trivial still.  Those weren't stellar results either, just better.

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The irony of expecting this in a vector tool is that I was generally more happy with the way Photoshop would convert selections into vector shapes.  I was usually able to achieve acceptable results with that, and usually with only minor tweaking.  Just had to make good selections.

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Before  I heard of Affinity Designer I made a return to Serif products and purchased what was to be their last design program under that flag DrawPlus X8. That has a travcer facility in it.Not bad but you will have to tweak around -but you CAN save customised settings. So If I want to convert this is the first place I go. Then if I just can't get it done then I go to an online only file converter site. IF you do decide to use DrawPlus X8 ensure the Export setting is for Inkscape compatibility, NOT AI . By selecting AI format you may end up with a blank image! For the price of these Serif Legacy programs it is a small investment!

 

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I don't understand why this isn't a feature. I used it in DrawPlus for years and it worked well. Is Serif just not cannibalising any of its old technology on principle? Seems like an obvious thing to do to me! 


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3 hours ago, Phil_rose said:

I don't understand why this isn't a feature. I used it in DrawPlus for years and it worked well. Is Serif just not cannibalising any of its old technology on principle? Seems like an obvious thing to do to me! 

The Affinity apps use an entirely new from the ground up code base. There is nothing that can be cannibalized from the Serif Plus apps because they use a completely different & much older code base that, among many other things, only supports Windows, unlike the Affinity line which supports both the Mac & Windows OS's (plus iOS for late model iPads), & uses a single native file format that can be used without conversion across the entire Affinity range on any of those platforms.


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Yes I am aware that the Affinity  range were / are written from the ground up - they need to be... but I hope that this function will come along sometime in the future. I don't know how many windows upgrades

DrawPlus will work under. There ARE online  utilities but  time consuming and expensive in the long run  and to purchase and learn yet another  stand alone  just for converting purposes seems like another  expence in time money and training......

 

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InkScape will likely just keep on ticking no matter the OS updates as it is actively developed. It's also free. So while there is a learning curve to it, at least there isn't a cost unless one decides to throw some money at the developers.

 

While I don't really like spending any more money that I have to, I have never understood the "one application has to do it all and do it all now" type of thought. Even if I paint in an illustration, I typically use more than one application. I often use more than one vector creation application for a given design, I use a separate charting software that then gets imported into whatever, etc., etc. The only application I use solo start to finish is a layout application.

 

And if and when an application gets new features that I use to pop off into a different application for and if that new function achieves the purpose I need, great, I'll use it. But if not, then I still keep moving along with a combination of software.

 

Mike

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20 minutes ago, MikeW said:

I have never understood the "one application has to do it all and do it all now" type of thought.

I think part of the reason for that is not all apps share a common exchange file format that can be used to switch between apps to do something in one app that another can't do at all or is much to tedious to do on a regular basis.


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
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How did Qui-Gon Jinn said: "There's always a bigger fish". - Meaning here in this context, there's always another app, which might do quite better!


☛ Affinity Designer 1.7.3 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.7.3 ◆ OSX El Capitan

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