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A built-in bitmap tracer of some kind is a common feature request. The developers have mentioned several times that they will consider developing one, but only if it can produce professional quality results & is easy to use. Most likely, this means developing 'smart' algorithms that consider more than contrast.


Affinity Photo 1.8.4, Affinity Designer 1.8.4, Affinity Publisher 1.8.4;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 40GB RAM; macOS 10.15.6
Affinity Photo 
1.8.4.186 & Affinity Designer 1.8.4.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.3.1

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There was a tutorial where someone used Illustrator and Inkscape to trace bitmap, and in most cases Inkscape turned to have better results. I guess a improvement to Inkscape Potrace and porting it to Designer would be the best Designer will have unless there is a newer algorithm I haven't heard about.

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I think Potrace is free, open source software. If that produces good enough results then there is not much reason for Affinity to include it in its own apps -- any of several front ends will do the tracing & output it to a format AD or AP can open.


Affinity Photo 1.8.4, Affinity Designer 1.8.4, Affinity Publisher 1.8.4;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 40GB RAM; macOS 10.15.6
Affinity Photo 
1.8.4.186 & Affinity Designer 1.8.4.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.3.1

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For those interested in using Potrace, the home page & definitive source for info about it is at http://potrace.sourceforge.net. The technical description (pdf) of how the Potrace algorithm works is not what I would call light reading but the gist of it is there is considerably more to getting a decent quality trace than relying solely on contrast changes. Corner detection is important, as is rejection of artifacts.

 

Even without understanding all the details it is obvious it is a sophisticated algorithm, but it was invented in 2003. I wonder if advances in artificial intelligence, plus the availability of today's much more powerful computers, could yield still better results, something that "sees" images more like people do.


Affinity Photo 1.8.4, Affinity Designer 1.8.4, Affinity Publisher 1.8.4;  2020 iMac 27"; 3.8GHz i7, Radeon Pro 5700, 40GB RAM; macOS 10.15.6
Affinity Photo 
1.8.4.186 & Affinity Designer 1.8.4.4 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.3.1

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Vector Magic could be arguably considered the best tracer on the market. No idea how it does the voodoo it does, just that it works extremely well.

 

If Serif is trying/planning to develop something better than VM, it's going to be an extremely long wait. Playing catch-up to a software in current development is a tough thing.

 

My vote (if I actually had one) is to await actual development of tracing* until such time as AD is better fleshed out with its current and planned features. There are too many options for tracing that are low cost or free. 

 

I have several applications that trace, some in-application and a couple standalone applications. They all can do a better job than the others on particular images. There is not going to be a one-size fits all tracer. Never in my lifetime that is.

 

Mike

 

*That doesn't mean planning & investigation shouldn't happen

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