(Topic ID: 105821)

vectorizing images


By Ramakers

4 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 41 posts
  • 13 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by swinks
  • Topic is favorited by 20 Pinsiders

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    HB 3.jpg
    IMG_1082.JPG
    PTDC0019_stitch.jpg
    PTDC0019.JPG
    IMG_3664.JPG
    IMG_3663.JPG
    IMG_3655.JPG
    IMG_3660.JPG
    jokerz guy.jpg
    image.jpg
    ball.png
    cheapoShirt-852.png
    138000-i.png
    jq2.jpg

    #1 4 years ago

    There are a lot people out there who are wondering how to restore artwork on old machines. The advantage of these old machines is that the decorations are usually relatively simple. They use a limited number of colors and the colors most of the times are solid.
    Your best choice is vectorizing the artwork.

    Why to use vector software:
    This makes it possible to scale the image without losing quality.
    You can use layers for different parts of your drawing so you can hide or lock stuff you aren't working on .
    You can keep tweaking till it's just right.

    The software I prefer is Adobe Illustrator, but as this is extremely expensive I looked for a good alternative. Then I stumbled across Inkscape. A free and open source project.
    The look isn't as professional but the feel is the same.
    If you are used to working with Illustrator you can easily make the switch. If you have to start learning vectorizing this program is a blessing. All icons have self explanatory look, and if you hover over them you get a nice info box (you can chose from alot of laguages on there site). All stuff I use for vectorizing artwork are right there.
    If you save your work as .EPS or .PDF you van take the file to your local print shop for professional printing.
    The software can be found here:

    http://www.inkscape.org/

    Maybe we can use this topic to exchange tips and tricks about vectorizing.

    #2 4 years ago

    Sounds great, will have a look at it.
    In the past I used CorelDraw (too complex) and Vectormagic (too simple).
    Always in for a new program.

    #3 4 years ago

    I've been using it to work on my league logo, and also for my shirt projects. Great tool. I also like that they have a portable version that can be run off of a flash drive instead of having to install it on every PC.

    #4 4 years ago

    Great topic. Maybe we can post a few examples or even tasks to do with our art so we can learn.

    #5 4 years ago

    Here's my league logo, before and after..

    jq2.jpg

    138000-i.png

    This is one of the things that Inkscape can be useful for. You can take hand drawn art, scan it, and with enough tinkering of the settings, hopefully coax the software into doing an auto-trace of it without too many artifacts that have to be corrected, and it eliminates a lot of the manual work in getting it into a "any resolution" type format.

    Also useful is converting "raster" art into vector format for resizing without loss of resolution. As stated above, I've been using this to draw in MS Paint, then I use Inkscape's tracer to convert to vector. I'm about to fully move over to just using vector as my original format, but for these first two shirt designs, it's been very nice to have something to learn the ropes. Highly recommend finding something basic and with a limited color pallet to learn how to tweak the tracer function to your liking. It's not always optimal, which is why I'm moving to vector native for future projects, but it's really pretty fantastic at converting over solid stuff with non-complex shading!

    When you get into complex things or extremely fine detail and shading on rasterized graphics, that's where the auto-tracer is an epic fail. Take my shirt that I've been working on. This ball looks GREAT in paint, but when I traced it in Inkscape, suddenly I had a bunch of colors and layers that shouldn't have been there. All of the "smoothing" that Paint tried to do along the edges of the white areas by interpolating adjacent pixels with slightly different shades really screwed it up! It took me about two hours to redraw the ball completely in vector format and get something I was happy with! The flipper, meanwhile took almost nothing to clean up and get it right.

    cheapoShirt-852.png

    ball.png

    #6 4 years ago

    And of course, how it appears on a shirt after being upsized to 300dpi and the appropriate size.

    image.jpg

    #7 4 years ago
    Quoted from jasonsmith:

    Great topic. Maybe we can post a few examples or even tasks to do with our art so we can learn.

    This is a great topic ! I have used Corel Draw for over 10 years and yes it can be difficult to learn and there are features which I have never used. My current version is Corel X5 and have no plans updating to any newer versions. I have now redrawn 3 back glasses for printing onto translite material and created cabinet artwork in Corel to complete EM restorations, plus created animated GIF's in a program called Corel R.A.V.E. I'm currently looking for 3D modelling software to learn and create some new EM pinball animations. All artwork on my website pages have been created in Corel.

    http://www.oldpinballs.com/artwork.html

    #8 4 years ago

    I'm running Linux (Ubuntu 12.04) as my OS. Inkscape doesn't support Multi-Threading so I can't use it for any large project. Illustrator isn't an option so I'm seeking a better image vector program, I wish Gimp had that ability.

    Hey oldpins, for your backglass work did you just manually trace all the lines into vectors? Did you try any auto tracing options?

    #9 4 years ago
    Quoted from jasonsmith:

    Inkscape doesn't support Multi-Threading

    Only on Linux or in general? I guess it doesn't matter as I'm willing to live with it for what I'm doing anyways, but good to know. When there's a lot of visible nodes on my PC at home it CHOKES.

    #10 4 years ago

    Vector magic is an interesting tool. You can try it for free online here: http://vectormagic.com/home .
    It automatically converts bitmap to vector files. I have tried it on T2 slings scans and it converted them perfectly.

    #11 4 years ago
    Quoted from jasonsmith:

    I'm running Linux (Ubuntu 12.04) as my OS. Inkscape doesn't support Multi-Threading so I can't use it for any large project. Illustrator isn't an option so I'm seeking a better image vector program, I wish Gimp had that ability.
    Hey oldpins, for your backglass work did you just manually trace all the lines into vectors? Did you try any auto tracing options?

    Hi Jasonsmith,
    Yes all are manually traced then filled. Auto tracing tends to loose the finer detail. Parts of my 'Top Score' BG redraw were auto traced.
    Auto trace however does work fairly well on images which are not as complex. You can imagine how much work is involved in the tracing process of a full BG. Alignment of score reel windows, credit wheel window and translucent areas e.g matching number, ball in play etc. on are BG need to be positioned perfectly. All traces are made from a high res BG photo using a Canon 18 meg camera. I have made a jig to house the BG for photography, this enables me to shoot photos straight on, not to distort the BG artwork dimensions.

    #12 4 years ago
    Quoted from Frax:

    Only on Linux or in general? I guess it doesn't matter as I'm willing to live with it for what I'm doing anyways, but good to know. When there's a lot of visible nodes on my PC at home it CHOKES.

    In general, it's been a much asked feature and so far it's only available as an experimental release. There are a couple rendering tasks that can multi-thread but only those tasks. For smaller things it works great, it's just when your working on a BG or something and want to zoom in and out it takes forever to draw itself. I should note that I have a fairly hardcore purpose built PC, it's not the issue.

    I'm going to try Xara Xtreme and see how that goes. It went open source a long time ago but it's pretty much a dead project but gets great reviews still.

    oldpins, I'm going to try and take a picture one of my BG's here soon for restoring purposes, I have a Canon 40D I'm going to try for this. What type of lighting are you using, I guess it doesn't matter too much if were just going to replace all the colors anyway huh. Now I need to think about a super simple jig. I think I may try and do all the tracing by hand just to learn.

    #13 4 years ago

    I had worked in the print industry for the better part of 15 years. I've always used CorelDRAW for my vector work. I think I bought the latest 'for non-commercial use' (X7) for a hundred-and-something dollars. It comes with CorelDRAW (vector), PHOTO-PAINT (their version of PhotoShop) and other cool programs.

    I've been making new plastics for my machines lately. My favorite part of the process is re-creating the artwork. I re-drew this using CorelDRAW:
    jokerz guy.jpg

    I haven't used Inkscape for a few years now, but it is definitely a good free alternative. I might instal it again to see what's been added/improved.

    #14 4 years ago

    jasonsmith, your Canon 40D will be fine! As mentioned, good lighting without having to use a flash is recommended. I have a large industrial mercury vapour light in my shed which gives an extremely bright and white lighting. Pantone cards which convert to CMYK codes for printing can be utilised for matching BG colours. These CMYK palette codes/colours in Corel are then used as BG fill colours after tracing.
    I'll take a photo of the jig and setup I have made from bits and pieces I have lying around the shed.

    #15 4 years ago

    Agree with tim_sanderson, I also enjoy the redrawing process as it great to see a final print of your work.
    jasonsmith, here's some pics of the jig setup I use to take photos of BG's. The camera is mounted to the threaded bolt mech and levelled.The jig for the BG is levelled both horizontally and vertically (@90 degrees). You can see the light I have in one of the pics. I did not have the camera mounted when taking the attached BG photo.
    IMG_3664.JPGIMG_3663.JPGIMG_3655.JPGIMG_3660.JPG

    #16 4 years ago

    Wowzers, that's one heck of a setup. Thanks so much for the pics. I guess it's important since that's the whole start point. I don't have the means to set that up so I think I'll try a from the floor up pic.

    #17 4 years ago

    I've had mixed results with Inkscape. It helped a lot on some projects and not so much on others. I have a portable scanner now, and that has made a huge difference. I get a much higher quality pic to start from and cleaning it up is much easier. A good example would be the P/F masking I just did on the APP.

    I would start with something like this.
    PTDC0019.JPG

    Next I open it in photoshop and clean it up as best as I can to make it into a line drawing. Everything I don't want becomes white, everything I do want goes black. Doing the straight lines is easy, the curves not so much. I'll blow it all the way up to single pixel edges and do corrections with a draw pad. Once I get it where I want it, I open it in the Silhouette cutter software which allows me to resize as necessary to match my needs.
    PTDC0019_stitch.jpg

    Here's the results, works with paint or sand blasting.
    IMG_1082.JPG

    As I go along, I get better and faster with practice. (Better equipment doesn't hurt, either.) Currently I have a homebuilt desktop running Win7 with Photoshop Elements 8.0. My handheld scanner is this:
    amazon.com link »

    I have had it since last Dec and have scanned hundreds of times with no real problems.(Aside from my less than steady hand!)

    I also have a Wacom Bamboo draw pad which I have been very impressed with. My cutter is the Silhouette Cameo with the Studio software version which allows you to make and cut/print your own creations. Love it!

    Great thread!!

    #18 4 years ago

    Great post Mk1. So with the above you didn't use vector lines all then. You just simply traced the lines out in PS?

    I like the portable scanner idea, stitching the pieces together have gone okay for you?

    #19 4 years ago
    Quoted from jasonsmith:

    Great post Mk1. So with the above you didn't use vector lines all then. You just simply traced the lines out in PS?
    I like the portable scanner idea, stitching the pieces together have gone okay for you?

    Yeah. It's real easy to do straight lines in PS and I've gotten really good at doing the curves with the Bamboo tablet. Someone on another thread led me to this stitching program. It's free and works great.

    http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/groups/ivm/ICE/

    #20 4 years ago

    thanks for sharing

    #21 4 years ago
    Quoted from Frax:

    When you get into complex things or extremely fine detail and shading on rasterized graphics, that's where the auto-tracer is an epic fail. Take my shirt that I've been working on. This ball looks GREAT in paint, but when I traced it in Inkscape, suddenly I had a bunch of colors and layers that shouldn't have been there. All of the "smoothing" that Paint tried to do along the edges of the white areas by interpolating adjacent pixels with slightly different shades really screwed it up! It took me about two hours to redraw the ball completely in vector format and get something I was happy with! The flipper, meanwhile took almost nothing to clean up and get it right.

    That's why we do manual vectorization. This gives you full control over the finished result. There are a lot of auto trace options out there, I've tried most of them but didn't find any useful. They all need quite some tweaking in the settings before the auto trace, and you have to clean up the result afterwards. And if you get a good result with the software without any fiddling, the bitmap most likely was done faster by hand if you got some experience.

    #22 4 years ago

    I just made a short video of some simple vectorization.
    The cabinet of my Camelot is painted over so I have to re create the artwork. I found a small picture online which I straightened in Photoshop with the perspective crop tool.
    This I now use in inkscape as a template.
    I'm sure this isn't the only way to do this, and probably not the best or fastest way either. But it gives an idea of what you can do.

    Enjoy your movie

    #23 4 years ago

    thanks for sharing the video, seems easier than Illustrator.

    #24 4 years ago
    Quoted from swinks:

    thanks for sharing the video, seems easier than Illustrator.

    Illustrator originates from an apple environment. There they use the keyboard a lot more then we do on windows. If I have to use the macs in my brothers print shop, I'm always looking for the right an middle mouse button!
    If I see the full time designer do his job there, he always has one hand on the keyboard. He does things at lightning speed without having to move his mouse all over the screen. This way he doesn't have to have that many icons on the screen which clutter up the workspace.

    #25 4 years ago

    Ramakers, I assume this video is an example of taking a raster file and converting it to vector? If that is the case then it seems pretty easy.

    I make a lot of artwork, mainly for playfield repair. I have always used Photoshop Elements since it is easy and have used raster format. I use raster because it is much easier for me and I cannot see the advantage of vector for my use since I scan at actual size. I think vector files will be much smaller also.

    After seeing your movie, I might give this a try because I can see an advantage with the ability to change an entire layers color if your color is off a bit.

    Thanks, Bob

    #26 4 years ago

    4 years ago I vectorized the Hyperball speakerpanel logo for a friend, his one was broken on 2 places.
    It is lasercut and chrome plated.
    Done with coreldraw8 but now I see Inkscape, probably would have used that one.
    HB 3.jpg

    #27 4 years ago
    Quoted from Big_Bob:

    Ramakers, I assume this video is an example of taking a raster file and converting it to vector? If that is the case then it seems pretty easy.
    I make a lot of artwork, mainly for playfield repair. I have always used Photoshop Elements since it is easy and have used raster format. I use raster because it is much easier for me and I cannot see the advantage of vector for my use since I scan at actual size. I think vector files will be much smaller also.
    After seeing your movie, I might give this a try because I can see an advantage with the ability to change an entire layers color if your color is off a bit.
    Thanks, Bob

    This video is an example of how you can convert an bad image into a vector file.
    The file size is significantly smaller, especially if you have a full size image of a cabinet. If you like to keep control over your colors, you need to use TIFF as a file type which is very large. JPEG never keeps the lines as crisp and the colors are converted.
    for the example: File size
    inkscape .SVG: 10kB
    photoshop .TIFF: 122 MB (at 200 dpi)

    If you are planning on screen printing you need to make vector files or make layers for each color.
    Also if you like to plotter cut spray templates you need to use vector files.

    Sometimes I also use bitmap software like photoshop for minor repairs or if it's a more photorealistic image. Just use what is best for the purpose.

    #28 4 years ago
    Quoted from zaza:

    4 years ago I vectorized the Hyperball speakerpanel logo for a friend, his one was broken on 2 places.
    It is lasercut and chrome plated.
    Done with coreldraw8 but now I see Inkscape, probably would have used that one.
    HB 3.jpg 82 KB

    Nice job, for laser cutting you definitely need vector files. In my laser shop we use .dxf files. Which is also supported by Inkscape. There I aslo use coreldraw for editing some files, the main files are made in solidworks by the guys of engineering.

    #29 4 years ago

    For the record, an example video of the perspective crop tool in Photoshop.

    Again, I don't claim this to be the only, best or even the fastest way to do this. Its just an example of how I did it in this case.

    The video:

    #30 4 years ago

    I'd love to have access to more commercial tools, but the fact is, none of my "commercial" projects are going to bring in 417 bucks to buy CorelDraw, and frankly, the whole "photoshop subscription" thing versus an actual licence to use a product until I find an upgrade appealing kind of irks me for some reason, even though it seems the total cost of use of their products has dropped. I dunno. Just a lot of money to spend to make a few shirts, or work on pinball stuff.

    #31 4 years ago

    That EZVid capture software you used is the best thing I've learned about in this thread so far, Ramakers. I just installed it. It's fantastic!

    #32 4 years ago
    Quoted from Frax:

    I'd love to have access to more commercial tools, but the fact is, none of my "commercial" projects are going to bring in 417 bucks to buy CorelDraw

    Frax, this is the version I bought. It was $110CAD shipped, so you should be able to get a copy for under $100USD.
    amazon.com link »

    Basically, it's got all the features of the full version, but I don't think it's upgradable when the next version comes out, and you aren't supposed to use it for commercial purposes. Well worth the money.

    #33 4 years ago

    Here is a good breakdown of the differences between the Commercial and Education versions of Corel:
    http://community.coreldraw.com/forums/t/32156.aspx

    #34 4 years ago
    Quoted from tim_sanderson:

    That EZVid capture software you used is the best thing I've learned about in this thread so far, Ramakers. I just installed it. It's fantastic!

    found this software just yesterday, just for making these instruction videos. I tried several others, but this one did the best job.

    #35 4 years ago
    Quoted from tim_sanderson:

    you aren't supposed to use it for commercial purposes

    Hence my problem.

    #36 4 years ago

    It would be worth mentioning that you can use Adobe Illustrator on a montly-subscription basis. If you're only wanting the software for a project every so often then you can simply pay $19 to use it for a month.

    #37 4 years ago

    http://www.coreldraw.com/us/free-trials/

    If you know how to back up and restore, a sneaky person could dedicate a single old harddrive just to Coreldraw, and have a never ending 30 day trial.

    Of course I would never suggest or give anyone details on how to do this, but Google would.

    #38 4 years ago
    Quoted from Frax:

    tim_sanderson said:
    "you aren't supposed to use it for commercial purposes"

    Quoted from Frax:

    Hence my problem.

    How much money are you planning on making on T-shirts? Unless you plan on making your living using Corel, I'm pretty sure you're OK.

    #39 4 years ago

    Don't forget about education freebies. We just got a full version of MS Office with Illustrator at zero cost for college. Of course you'll need a student in the house and it's good until they're out of school.

    #40 4 years ago

    Adobe CS2 (which has illustrator) is now free: http://gizmodo.com/5973730/grab-photoshop-and-cs2-for-absolutely-free-right-here

    It will do everything you need to do.

    #41 4 years ago

    also if anyone needs a free cad program try out DraftSight made by the guys that make Solidworks. They do it to piss off AutoCad.

    http://www.3ds.com/products-services/draftsight/download-draftsight/

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