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Image Tracing in Affinity Designer?


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On 5/15/2018 at 4:14 AM, Scott Prock said:

I understand this is an old thread, but I just tried to install Inkscape onto MacOS 10.11.6 (El Capitan) via Homebrew (command line) and would not recommend that route to MacOS users.

 

After issuing the command to install Inkscape, the computer downloaded about 50 dependencies but didn't finish with a working copy. There were about 5 errors, and I don't know enough about the process to try and troubleshoot or fix. Now I have a bunch of dependencies junking up my computer and no Inkscape.

 

I can whole heartily understand the OP's hesitation to use free software. Had I known I would end up filling my computer with a bunch of useless programs I would not have done this. Also, who knows if what was installed will cause issues later down the road. UGH!!!

What is wrong with downloading the DMG file? I did this and have Inkscape working fine.

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BTW, I've seen in the thread (and sadly, in others) mentioned several times stuff about free tools not being at the right level, etc. This is a non accurate statement. It varies, is more of a case by case situation. My personal opinion is that Inkscape is quite below AD, in general as a solution for professional design (but Inkscape is actually good, in good hands), but Potrace, and its implementation in Inskcape, has been clearly superior to Illustrator's (as you could refine better the settings) for many years, during my time at certain company. Current CC latest versions, I dunno. All I can tell you is that reducing a lot the number of colors, to get the right silhouette, and then building per shadow/color large area (by different passes, then compositing, or other techniques) is very doable, together with doing it in certain specific mode, and per stages, if you need the internal color and a lot of details, or in much more simplified way if you just need the silhouettes. You can get almost a fully optimized shape from one go with the embedded potrace in Inkscape, once knowing  the tricks, and just some smoothing later on, and some cleaning will get you a just average (considered super good for most people that request this feature) and usable result. When I have needed to deliver, I've anyways carried to perfection those few nodes remained, worked by hand. To the level of quality I demand from my own output, and as one gets to be fast with node drawing tools with experience, it typically proved always to be faster and healthier to trace by hand from scratch (depends on the source image, and what is the style target). But among the options, the concept of free/commercial is not the key: Potrace/inkscape is as professional as most expensive options.

About generally free being bad.. .Nope... I don't pay for Chrome, Firefox or Libre Office Writer...Neither for Wings 3D, and Blender Cycles allows me to deliver highly realistic renders. is a case by case scenario, as I said.

 

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  • 1 month later...
On 5/28/2018 at 1:39 PM, Jan Gaare said:

so without tracing it proves itself to not so usefull, no arrows is not esential, but no tracing, hopeless...

Why ?

There are hundreds of plug-ins that people buy for Photoshop. I bought several, including green screen software because Photoshop didn’t do it.

By your measure, Photoshop is hopeless?

You could buy Photo, plus a tracing software for a fraction of the cost of Illustrator (or get Inkscape). I have used tracing software from the days of Adobe Streamline and I think Inkscape is better. But none are that good, so I rarely use them.

Designer does 96% of what I want for 20% of the cost of Illustrator (which does 99%). Designer is getting better with free upgrades, so far.

Windows PCs. Photo and Designer, latest non-beta versions.

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  • 2 months later...

I like Inkscape fine myself but I dropped into Affinity Designer it felt like a pair of comfortable slippers (I'm an Affinity Photo Fanboy - converting all my mates from Photoshop).

As Potrace is open source (as is Inkscape) surely it wouldn't be a huge leap to just drop it into the feature set. At least it works well and is fairly robust. 

Granted you can Potrace in Inkscape and copy/paste that into Designer but it's an extra step. It did the job today though. I did a Vladimir Putin in 8 colours in a matter of seconds.

 

Capture.PNG

Edited by marcdraco
Added image of V. Putin via Potrace
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5 minutes ago, marcdraco said:

As Potrace is open source (as is Inkscape) surely it wouldn't be a huge leap to just drop it into the feature set. At least it works well and is fairly robust. 

"Open Source" does not mean "freely usable by anyone for any purpose." Open Source programs are provided with specific license terms attached to them, which place restrictions on how the source code can be used.

Potrace is licensed under the GNU GPL version 2, which includes usage restrictions that I believe would not be acceptable to Serif, which means that they cannot simply obtain and modify the Potrace source code.

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7 minutes ago, walt.farrell said:

Potrace is licensed under the GNU GPL version 2

it is dual licensed, there is a non gpl version available.:10_wink:

http://potrace.sourceforge.net/#dual

Quote

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.

 

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Just now, walt.farrell said:

"Open Source" does not mean "freely usable by anyone for any purpose." Open Source programs are provided with specific license terms attached to them, which place restrictions on how the source code can be used.

Potrace is licensed under the GNU GPL version 2, which includes usage restrictions that I believe would not be acceptable to Serif, which means that they cannot simply obtain and modify the Potrace source code.


You're right, the GPL that says (section 2b) Serif (in this case) would have to release the entire codebase for Designer for free which is one of the dumber inclusions given that we're talking essentially a small library, not a derivative application. Peter does seem a decent enough chap and it wouldn't hurt to drop him an email. If the engineers over there can't get it working correctly that must be costing Serif a considerable headache not to mention money. If I were in their shoes (I'm not) I'd be temped to drop him an email and offer money for a non-exclusive licence. Everyone wins that way.

 Codeweavers seem to be doing very well out of it with WINE. I'm a big open source fan and occasionally contribute myself, but that's a different story. :)

I'll just stick to "Potracing" in Inkscape for now. Adobe can swivel. :)

 

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I tend to prefer hand tracing for my uses, but I have used the command line one (Potrace), but the one embedded in Inkscape is really handy and fast to handle.... Potrace rox, that's for sure. But very specially if doing a lot of research and trial and error till you get the very exact settings for a really optimized output (for specific cases.....when willing to use it as  functional vectors, not as a posterization filter, as that's kind of easier... and rocks for that, too, I'd agree...).

 

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  • 3 months later...
  • 5 weeks later...
On 9/22/2018 at 11:58 PM, SrPx said:

the one embedded in Inkscape is really handy and fast to handle

Handy, fast to handle and you copy-paste from Inkscape to AD in a blink.

Another usefull point: you copy-paste from AD to Inkscape to use the "simplify path" feature (but you need first to set the simplification option to a lower value or it'll be really simplified :S ). In French: Préférences > Comportement: Seuil de simplification (± Settings > Behaviour: Simplification).

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On 9/22/2018 at 10:55 PM, walt.farrell said:

"Open Source" does not mean "freely usable by anyone for any purpose." Open Source programs are provided with specific license terms attached to them, which place restrictions on how the source code can be used.

Potrace is licensed under the GNU GPL version 2, which includes usage restrictions that I believe would not be acceptable to Serif, which means that they cannot simply obtain and modify the Potrace source code.

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.

 

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  • 4 months later...

Okay, this may be an unpopular opinion here, but I think even an okayish image tracer included in the software would be better than no tracer at all. There would be no harm licensing potrace for now, which seems to be one of the best quality tracers atm, and implementing an even better tracer once Affinity can work it out. I think for a professional vector software like AD, an image tracer is a must-have-feature, just as embedding objects in text flows was in Publisher (which we actually got with the published version).

I like Inkscape – actually I worked a lot with it in past days – but using it on mac os gave me a lot of headaches. xquartz software usually doesn’t seem to work right. 
If you get to install Inkscape on mac it at all. For example at this moment the homebrew way is broken and there is no dmg for the current version. And you cannot expect the majority of people being able to compile it themself and deal with tons of compiling errors. 

potrace on the command line will be to hard to swallow for most people. Also according its documentation it just works with pretty wild image formats (PBM, PGM, PPM, or BMP, which the latter one is the only one I know and I haven’t used it for over a decade). So you need to convert the image first (with another piece of software that is able to export this strange formats), then vectorize it and then import it again.

Depending on the workflow, image tracing can be a common working step. You may need about 10 or 20 images traced. So to conclude I cite myself: “even an okayish image tracer included in the software would be better than no tracer at all”.

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52 minutes ago, rcheetah said:

I like Inkscape – actually I worked a lot with it in past days – but using it on mac os gave me a lot of headaches. xquartz software usually doesn’t seem to work right. 
If you get to install Inkscape on mac it at all. For example at this moment the homebrew way is broken and there is no dmg for the current version. And you cannot expect the majority of people being able to compile it themself and deal with tons of compiling errors.

Well Inkscape is generally not that well ported/adapted for Macs. You can try a just Quartz build Inkscape version (no X11) and see how that works, though those will probably make  headaches too.

1 hour ago, rcheetah said:

potrace on the command line will be to hard to swallow for most people. Also according its documentation it just works with pretty wild image formats (PBM, PGM, PPM, or BMP, which the latter one is the only one I know and I haven’t used it for over a decade). So you need to convert the image first (with another piece of software that is able to export this strange formats), then vectorize it and then import it again.

The Potrace CLI (command-line) tool follows old Unix traditions, where a bunch of commands are often piped together. So an ImageMagick conversion can be routed through that one and the like to vectorize some rasterfile.- In order to deal with this in a more comfortable manner, one can use the DragPotrace GUI tool (english) which loads JPG/PNG etc. directly for tracing.

dragpotrace.jpg.1b9b97a0a146216e026a87b0d4e85d1c.jpg

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Thank you for your response. In general, those are good hints. But I think it doesn’t diminish the point I’ve tried to make. I shouldn’t need to switch software for such a step. 

24 minutes ago, v_kyr said:

The Potrace CLI (command-line) tool follows old Unix traditions, where a bunch of commands are often piped together. So an ImageMagick conversion can be routed through that one and the like to vectorize some rasterfile.

I thought so, but that just illustrates my point, that this is very complex for the average user. Even those who maybe work a little bit with the command line (those who don’t fear it in general) will get frustrated trying to pipe commands together. It is an option for developer folks, but not for an average user. And by the way: I tried to install a fully working image magick a few months ago, and it was also not very pleasant.

24 minutes ago, v_kyr said:

In order to deal with this in a more comfortable manner, one can use the DragPotrace GUI tool (english) which loads JPG/PNG etc. directly for tracing.

Good software tip. Sadly it doesn’t run on my mac os version. 

In general I think that using a ton of different software for different tasks of a workflow is at its core against the philosophy of Affinity. All the more if I think about yesterdays presentation of StudioLink. So I don’t really understand why Affinity is so reluctant to integrate it unless it’s in their eyes perfect.

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20 minutes ago, v_kyr said:

Well Inkscape is generally not that well ported/adapted for Macs. You can try a just Quartz build Inkscape version (no X11) and see how that works, though those will probably make  headaches too.

Been there, done that, & yeah -- there is no probably about it. Among other things, screen redraws can be painfully slow. Overall, the UX is reminiscent of running a 1990's era Mac app on an old, underpowered PPC Mac.

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3 hours ago, rcheetah said:

Good software tip. Sadly it doesn’t run on my mac os version. 

Which macOS version do you use?

Or try out instead Intaglio Vectorize ...

 

3 hours ago, rcheetah said:

In general I think that using a ton of different software for different tasks of a workflow is at its core against the philosophy of Affinity. All the more if I think about yesterdays presentation of StudioLink. So I don’t really understand why Affinity is so reluctant to integrate it unless it’s in their eyes perfect.

Can't speak for Affinity here, but as far as they don't have any support for this, if you have an urgend need for it (tracing), you have to use workarounds or third party software to overcome.

 

3 hours ago, R C-R said:

Overall, the UX is reminiscent of running a 1990's era Mac app on an old, underpowered PPC Mac.

Same with XQuartz versions here, they are not fluid or that seamless useable at all. The whole hasn't been build for OSX at all, on Win systems it's quite better useable.

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5 hours ago, v_kyr said:

if you have an urgend need for it (tracing), you have to use workarounds or third party software to overcome.

I don’t have an urgent need for now. My copy of Adobe Illustrator CS6 is still working, so I can trace there. But riding two horses at the same time wasn’t what I hoped for when I bought Designer. For me and my workflow I need image tracing when working in vector software, and I seem to be not the only one. It is a key feature, and thats why I join the plead for it, and hope that Affinity will hear us. 

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1 hour ago, rcheetah said:

For me and my workflow I need image tracing when working in vector software, and I seem to be not the only one. It is a key feature, and thats why I join the plead for it, and hope that Affinity will hear us.

Yes it's one of the most demanded features, beside real vector distortions (warping, envelope distortion) here. Though I don't know if they have plans at all to implement those things. - Sadly there also isn't any programmers API available, so some third party could by chance dive in with some enhancements or feature add-ons here.

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  • 2 months later...

Another vote for image trace. That's pretty much the only reason I use Adobe CS6 Illustrator which is going bye bye in macOS Catalina with no 32 bit app support. I don't own Affinity Designer. I do own Affinity Photo which I like and seems good enough replacement for me for Adobe Photoshop. I was looking to see if Affinity Designer could do image trace and replace Illustrator which is how I ended up on this forum.

I'm primarily a videographer. I use image trace to vectorize artwork such as posters etc to blow up portions and rearrange for 9;16 aspect ratio for HD video. I looked into Potrace and was just confused.

Edited by TMav
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On 6/20/2019 at 11:13 AM, rcheetah said:

Okay, this may be an unpopular opinion here, but I think even an okayish image tracer included in the software would be better than no tracer at all. There would be no harm licensing potrace for now, which seems to be one of the best quality tracers atm, and implementing an even better tracer once Affinity can work it out. I think for a professional vector software like AD, an image tracer is a must-have-feature, just as embedding objects in text flows was in Publisher (which we actually got with the published version). 

I like Inkscape – actually I worked a lot with it in past days – but using it on mac os gave me a lot of headaches. xquartz software usually doesn’t seem to work right. 
If you get to install Inkscape on mac it at all. For example at this moment the homebrew way is broken and there is no dmg for the current version. And you cannot expect the majority of people being able to compile it themself and deal with tons of compiling errors.  

potrace on the command line will be to hard to swallow for most people. Also according its documentation it just works with pretty wild image formats (PBM, PGM, PPM, or BMP, which the latter one is the only one I know and I haven’t used it for over a decade). So you need to convert the image first (with another piece of software that is able to export this strange formats), then vectorize it and then import it again.

Depending on the workflow, image tracing can be a common working step. You may need about 10 or 20 images traced. So to conclude I cite myself: “even an okayish image tracer included in the software would be better than no tracer at all”.

There's potrace GUI for OSX available here http://potrace.sourceforge.net/thirdparty/Potrace_GUI_0.1.dmg

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7 hours ago, CLC said:

There's potrace GUI for OSX available here http://potrace.sourceforge.net/thirdparty/Potrace_GUI_0.1.dmg

How good is it?   Is it safe to install?

On the website it show the latest version at "potrace-1.15.mac" and it's old.

Here:   http://potrace.sourceforge.net/#downloading

 

Where did the Potrace_GUI_0.1.dmg version come from?

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