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Inkscape is an open source project with a built in image trace tool. The code could be repurposed for this application. It's licensed under the GPL v.2 https://gitlab.com/inkscape/inkscape

I'm sure someone else might have suggested this, but I hope my post helps to vote for this feature to move from the backlog and into development. It's surprising to find this post has been here for over 6 years.

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3 minutes ago, ParkingThought said:

Inkscape is an open source project with a built in image trace tool. The code could be repurposed for this application. It's licensed under the GPL v.2 https://gitlab.com/inkscape/inkscape

I'm sure someone else might have suggested this, but I hope my post helps to vote for this feature to move from the backlog and into development. It's surprising to find this post has been here for over 6 years.

Indeed, but if I know GPL licences, you cannot use open source code in commercial applications? 

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30 minutes ago, ParkingThought said:

Inkscape is an open source project with a built in image trace tool. The code could be repurposed for this application. It's licensed under the GPL v.2 https://gitlab.com/inkscape/inkscape

I'm sure someone else might have suggested this, but I hope my post helps to vote for this feature to move from the backlog and into development. It's surprising to find this post has been here for over 6 years.

Well Inkscape uses Potrace and some Inkscape own made enhancements as it's underlayed tracing engine. It also makes use of some AutoTrace enhancements for center line tracing. - Since Inkscape is GPL licensed and offers full source code, they can (re)use Potrace and AutoTrace which are both GPL licensed.

For Potrace the following applies in terms of licensing for non-GPL reusage ...

Quote

Dual licensing program

  Icosasoft  Logo A non-GPL version of Potrace, called Potrace Professional(TM), is available for integration into proprietary software. Licenses are available from my company, Icosasoft Software Inc. If you wish to purchase a license, or for more information, please write to licensing@icosasoft.ca.

... so you would need a specific license for it when used in a commercial product!

 


☛ Affinity Designer 1.9.1 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.9.1 ◆ OSX El Capitan

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Hi,

I have a simple question. Is any of the tracers good enough for complex shapes?
What would be your rating?

I have not used all of them, but I tried few free and commercial ones and at the end I was never happy with the results, because:

  1. worked only for demos or simple cases*, which I was able to vectorize myself by hand;
  2. having this traced shape, I never can efficiently work with it except very trivial resizing or so.

So finally I took glass of water and patiently draw what shall I draw ignoring this fancy feature.

What was anyhow good for design, as I might rethink the symbol, logo or whatever.

*) simple shapes, only few colors.

Best regards, Seweryn.

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4 hours ago, Seweryn said:

I have a simple question. Is any of the tracers good enough for complex shapes?

Of course, the better tracing apps do quite a good job here for complex shape vectorization, they offer good color quantisation, outline- and center line tracing etc. - See for example ...

4 hours ago, Seweryn said:

What would be your rating?

Depends on the OS you are using, not every tracing app is always available for every platform! - Good tracing apps are ...


☛ Affinity Designer 1.9.1 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.9.1 ◆ OSX El Capitan

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Rather ironically, you cannot use autotrace to make exact renderings of pixel images (computer cannot calculate exact output!!!). It can though do fairly good approximations. These can be used as stylistic effects, or with some material they can look pretty close to handmade. Autotrace is next to useless when you need exact paths, like in logos.

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On 6.2.2021 at 10:41 AM, nezumi said:

Inkscape and AD work beautifully with each other. I trace stuff in Inkscape all the time. Then just copy-paste into AD - you dont even have to export it, save it, open in AD... Just ctrl+c in Inkscape and ctrl+v in AD.

 

On 6.2.2021 at 9:43 AM, Fixx said:

Rather ironically, you cannot use autotrace to make exact renderings of pixel images (computer cannot calculate exact output!!!). It can though do fairly good approximations. These can be used as stylistic effects, or with some material they can look pretty close to handmade. Autotrace is next to useless when you need exact paths, like in logos.

I agree that Inkscape does a nice job and both applications work well together.  But I don't agree that Potrace isn't useful with logos. Back in 2013/2014 I traced for the company I worked for its logos. They only had small files of GIF and JPEG for letterheads and business cards. At that point I was a bloody newbie with almost zero experience in graphic design. I scanned flyers with a flatbed scanner, blowed the images up that they were about a square metre tall. Then I autotraced them several times with several settings and corrected it manually after that. It took some hours but the outcome was brilliant.

Of cause, there is no way to load it once, trace it once and boom - an amazing work is done. For professional designers it might be waste of time. If you can do tracing fully manually, fine do that. But for beginners, amateurs or pro-ams like me it is very useful. I believe to be an intermediate user. For most simple tasks I have solutions or workarounds but I can't compete with professionals or pro-ams or simply work efficient.

My background is beeing a hobbyist in photography (since early 1990s), videography and communication design. My professional experience is to rule Microsoft Office as office clerk with some single tasks in graphic design. But even Microsoft Powerpoint and Publisher are (or were at least) very limited. Therefore I needed other "drugs" in the shape of Inkscape [addicted since 2008/2009] and later Scribus. I also used parts of the Serif legacy series like PagePlus and for a couple of months I use all three Affinity applications now. But to be fair. I'm used so much the open-source software that I often use it for the most part and only do the final touches in Affinity.

it is really wicked. For personal/private tasks i love open-source software so much but for company tasks I want to use industry standard software like Adobe InDesign and Illustrator or Corel Draw which I worked a half of a year with at an other company.

+ 5,000 votes on tracing ;-)

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I dont think there is any doubt that Affinity Designer should have tracing. The question is not IF but WHEN.

They cant work on everything at once, I think GPU support on Windows was a huge task on its own. People tend to see the features and forget how many complex tasks has to be done behind the scenes to make software work good. And Affinity team is in fact making fantastic job. I mean honestly - Affinity Designer is WAY smoother then so called "industry standard" Illustrator. Affinity software can save the very same content in MUCH smaller files. People usually don't see these things. And I worked on illustrator two decades daily... Why you think I started to look for alternatives? Illustrator was clunky, slow and unreliable on complex tasks crashing every now and then. Everybody who has both installed can test for himself - which software will handle more complex files. I can assure you that Illustrator will start lagging WAY before Designer. For the longest time Illustrator could handle only up to 100 artboards (doesn't really matter because was lagging after 20 anyways :D). Now supposedly can handle a up to a 1000. Designer? "Unlimited". Depends on your hardware basically.

When we say "Look, Illustrator have this!" lets remember that they had 20+ YEARS to put it there. And Adobe is lazy as hell. At one point updates to Illustrator were so minimal that new splash screen was mentioned in "whats new"... I mean.. Same for Photoshop - look at the updates there. They have added symmetry fairly recently, after over 20 years of development. Deluxe Paint had symmetry on Amiga computer in the 90's! Lets not fetishize that "industry standard" because they suck in many, many ways. Affinity team clearly is slowly but steadily building great software.

In conclusion - yes we need tracing :D But I have no doubt it will come at some point. And I bet that it will take less then it took Adobe to implement symmetry in Photoshop :D Over 20 bloody years... "Industry standard". Ehh...

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On 7/27/2014 at 10:39 AM, MEB said:

Hi eross21,

At this point no, there isn't a tracing tool available. I don't know if they are considering it in their roadmap, since you're the first asking for it.

This is my main reason for using Adobe Illustrator. I will have to remain a slave to Adobe for as long as this is not an option with Affinity. I hope it does get added. I think it was a big oversight not to include it in the first place.

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On 2/6/2021 at 3:43 AM, Fixx said:

It can though do fairly good approximations.

Autotracing can certainly do better than fairly good approximations.  I could show some where you'd have to zoom in close to see tell the difference between the vector and the raster image.  I can consistently get results that are 95% there.  Then I'll tweak a few corners and the result is nearly perfect.  Every now and then, the results are good enough that I don't need to tweak anything at all.  Of course, you're not getting results like that with Inkscape but definitely possible with Illustrator and Vector Magic.  Vector Magic costs about $300.00.  It's safe to say that nobody is going to buy it if it doesn't give good results.

On 2/6/2021 at 3:43 AM, Fixx said:

Autotrace is next to useless when you need exact paths, like in logos.

 Some of us have relied upon vector tracing for decades precisely for recreating logos where the results need to be extremely good.

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1 hour ago, Kuttyjoe said:

Some of us have relied upon vector tracing for decades precisely for recreating logos where the results need to be extremely good.

Agreed, I find image trace to be excellent. It does of course depend on the quality of original image. This tool has saved my ass many times when deadlines are getting close and some lazy clients are not providing logos... a quick google search and image trace does wonders to recreate a logo.

This tool is an essential part of my workflow and I look to it arriving in Designer. 

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Maybe I was too blind another time. Nezumi, Stacy and Kuttyjoe are right. 

I should have said that it is a crucial feature. In my circle of acquaintances are some people that use Adobe Illustrator only because it's tracing capabilities. Two or three use Corel Draw (719 Euro, about US$ 865). And of cause Serif can't work on several feature projekts at the same time. I know that the wishlist is long. But for basic support should be an option. Basics like convert selection into shape. For example you can in Affinity Photo add borders to images with knocked out backgrounds. This should be possible as vector shape. I don't speak of photos that are realistically vector traced, which would be nice but at least Illustrator CS6 couldn't do without any problems. My claim is support in favor like the range of good old CS2 to CS6 - innovation of 2005, 16 years ago. I don't know how hard it is to implement. But I believe that if Serif would use Potrace which Inkscape additions there would be not so much work for Serifs tweaks. Like I said simple stuff, not fancy tracing features. Serif can build up a much better solution but that would be take some time. I really hate the fact that Serif doesn't publishes its Roadmap. If user would know what's going on there would be much more consent about implementation strategies. But users hear about it only in beta tests. 

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Very disappointed that there is no Auto Trace feature in Designer. Miss using the Corel Draw trace or even Adobe Illustrator trace.

Hopefully, there is a plan to eventually include in an update. Please and thank you!

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I could really use an Auto Trace feature in Designer.  I hand draw pretty complicated illustrations which clients often want to have as a vector so they can be scaled up to be big vinyl installation murals.  It's kept me bound to using Illustrator as I can't find a third party software that converts the bitmap line art in the way I want.  I need to have the black lines traced AND the white areas so that they can be selected and coloured in Designer.  In Illustrator I select Live Trace then make and expand to do this.  I've tried Inkscape but unless I'm missing something, can't find a way of doing it.  I just get the black line art converted and the white areas change to transparent and can't select and colour them.  It's driving me a bit mad TBH.

I've included a typical illustration here as an example of the bitmap line work and the results I'm after.  

hare-lime-bw-01.jpg

hare-lime-01.jpg

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On 2/22/2021 at 11:58 AM, Andy Council said:

... I've tried Inkscape but unless I'm missing something, can't find a way of doing it.  I just get the black line art converted and the white areas change to transparent and can't select and colour them.  It's driving me a bit mad TBH. ...

That's mostly why you don't know of how to make the right use of the tools you already have there available!

1. A simple trace (... even with most barebone tracing apps and exporting the result as a SVG or PDF file) of that b&W rabbit raster image will give you a plain vector curves representation of that image as one curves layer ...

bild1.jpg.8a1c51964d7e62295f80f0655710fa03.jpg

... so what you called ...

Quote

I just get the black line art converted and the white areas change to transparent and can't select and colour them. 

 

2. Now if you select that vector/curves layer and perform a geometrical divide of that selected layer ...

bild2.jpg.4dbb7da068f5a7ad17547afab2a04eeb.jpg

... you will get everything in the way you are after, namely as a bunch of single seperated (divided) curve layers ...

bild3.jpg.5f48aaee9228f05c4a5125db657aeb96.jpg

... which you can all individually color (aka their stroke or fill color)!

So the whole is more knowing what to do with a plain one curve trace here in contrast to a divided into multiple curves trace then.


☛ Affinity Designer 1.9.1 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.9.1 ◆ OSX El Capitan

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2 hours ago, v_kyr said:

That's mostly why you don't know of how to make the right use of the tools you already have there available!

1. A simple trace (... even with most barebone tracing apps and exporting the result as a SVG or PDF file) of that b&W rabbit raster image will give you a plain vector curves representation of that image as one curves layer ...

bild1.jpg.8a1c51964d7e62295f80f0655710fa03.jpg

... so what you called ...

 

2. Now if you select that vector/curves layer and perform a geometrical divide of that selected layer ...

bild2.jpg.4dbb7da068f5a7ad17547afab2a04eeb.jpg

... you will get everything in the way you are after, namely as a bunch of single seperated (divided) curve layers ...

That's right. You can do very much with this simple trace. But you have to admit that some images don't work well that way. Tracing is a method you need experience for. And this software isn't targeted only to professionals. Like you said the right of the tools. If you know to use a saw and a hammer you might not have the knowledge to build a house with it. There are many ways to vectorize images. Logos in other settings than artwork, photos different from cad. What do you want to have? Only outlines, only fills, both. B/W or colored, solid colors or gradients. Abutting or overlapping. Edge detection or midline/centerline. How about variable-width strokes? Vectorizing notes of pencils, pens and fountain pens. How to trace scanned images that were rasterized before for offset printing? Do you scan CAD documents or trace of the original object image? There are so many options to choose. And there may be people who don't want much experience to be needed. For them it is okay to trace it with some issues in terms of quality. They just don't need industry standard quality. A few tracings per month or year for personal use. Quickly trace an image in under five minutes without any post-editing. If you want top notch images you will have to take time and edit it afterwards.

 

That's why I wrote to implement at least basic features at first. You can optimize it for professional use later on. And I'm positive that it will be great. I don't expect wonders but it is clear that this software already is trustworthy to expect great user experience with this component too. 

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2 hours ago, Jochen Damm said:

That's right. You can do very much with this simple trace. But you have to admit that some images don't work well that way. Tracing is a method you need experience for.

For vector drawing or photo image manipulation etc. you need too. You always have to familiarize yourself with a software and explore it more closely, in order to do things well with it. No mater if a tracing software and it's capabilities, or some other software. Further if an image doesn't work the way you expect, you would have to see why, what's the possible cause of getting bad trace results etc. then. And you will quickly notice, the better quality an initial raster image has, the better the vectorized result. - But here in this case, it's probably more that the user knows how to do it with Illustrator but is new to ADe and thus has to adapt first, instead of anything else.

2 hours ago, Jochen Damm said:

There are so many options to choose. And there may be people who don't want much experience to be needed. For them it is okay to trace it with some issues in terms of quality. They just don't need industry standard quality. A few tracings per month or year for personal use.

For more advanced tracing tasks It always also depends highly on the used/choosed tool and it's capabilities here, further on it's UI usability and user guidance. - And BTW I've already used the KISS approach for the above sample, with an own coded potrace based tracer here, with default settings (thus no adjustments at all) and still can do in ADe (with what it actually offers) what the OP was after with his image.

Also I just gave an example of how to do something with the help of a third party tool, I didn't talked about implementing tracing capabilities into ADe, which is a completely different thing (I've suggested that years ago and are now tired to talk anymore about a theme which might never happen).

 


☛ Affinity Designer 1.9.1 ◆ Affinity Photo 1.9.1 ◆ OSX El Capitan

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