best method for tracing a jpg image

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best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby mics_54 » Sat Oct 19, 2013 8:06 pm

What is the best method to trace a jpg image to make an intarsia pattern. I have several Bezier tools.
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby Dave R » Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:03 pm

I trace images quite frequently in SketchUp. I always import them as an image as opposed to a texture and I change the line color to something easier to see as I'm drawing. I also set Profiles to 3 to make the lines easier to see.

Is there any symmetry in your image?

I like to use the BZ_spline tools for drawing curves and I tend to work at a fairly large scale. When I need really smooth curves I tend to increase the number of segments in the Bezier or other curves but try not to overdo it.

You might find that sometimes you want to draw curves that extend across others. To avoid getting unwanted broken edges, make components or groups of the existing lines before you draw the crossing lines.
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby cotty » Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:19 pm

I often use the arc tool for this and change the segment length afterwards with Curvizard in dependence of the angle...
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby mics_54 » Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:27 pm

thanks both...I was indeed having trouble with broken/unformed surfaces.
I was using the standard bezier curve.

Do I need to place the image on a surface so the line/curves stay planar? ...or just overlap then delete the "tail"
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby Dave R » Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:35 pm

Good question. The Bezier tools are happy to draw curves in 3D space but you want 2D curves for this. The image you import will suffice as a surface on which to draw.
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby Dave R » Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:36 pm

Another thing you may find helpful is to straighten out the image if it needs it before you start to draw. That way you'll have an easier time of drawing without fighting with the on axis snapping.
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby cotty » Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:40 pm

cotty wrote:I often use the arc tool for this and change the segment length afterwards with Curvizard in dependence of the angle...

Here an example...
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby mics_54 » Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:51 pm

again thanks..
cotty isn't this rather cumbersome with so many arcs ,each having to be exploded and tweeked separately?

Dave how would I know if an image needs to be "straightened" ?
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby Dave R » Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:54 pm

I should have described that better. I mean the major straight lines being off axis. So if the exterior edges of the thing you're tracing are slightly angled, rotate the image to make them straight.
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby cotty » Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:57 pm

mics_54 wrote:each having to be exploded and tweeked separately?

I only exploded them for showing the endpoints, they can be manipulated with one click with the plugin.
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby Dave R » Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:06 pm

Here's an example of the straightening thing. If you wanted to trace this illustration, you'd want to straighten it slightly. It is scanned from an old book and the book wasn't aligned exactly right on the platen.
Capture.PNG
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby mics_54 » Sun Oct 20, 2013 2:38 am

got it thanks!
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby TIG » Sun Oct 20, 2013 2:20 pm

If the image file can be converted into a 'flattened' PNG file [using Gimp, Photoshop etc] and then a transparent alpha channel layer re-added and the unwanted background pixels deleted... then you can import it into your SKP model as an Image and then use ImageTrimmer [part of my SKMtools (note you need Java enabling and JAR files set to execute in Java and NOT to be opened in decompression-apps)].
This will process it automatically, drawing the outline along the transparent edge pixels and only adding faces to the 100% opaque areas [using the image as a material] and finally smoothing the jaggedy edges into smoother curves.
The resultant component's edges are auto-hidden, but they can easily be turned back on if you want to edit them further...
So the resultant 'cutout' might do what you want?
ImageTrimmer can work acceptably for suitable PNGs of people, trees, shrubs, etc...
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby mics_54 » Sun Oct 20, 2013 5:43 pm

uh..okay
suddenly I feel like "penny" talking to "Sheldon" :)

...actually I wondered if there was a way to automate the trace with some raster/vector software.
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby pbacot » Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:56 pm

mics_54 wrote:uh..okay
suddenly I feel like "penny" talking to "Sheldon" :)

...actually I wondered if there was a way to automate the trace with some raster/vector software.


That is what TIG is offering in his plugin. However the first step is make the background transparent in an image editor if it is not already so, so that the software "knows" where to make the trace.

There are automatic vector-izing programs but probably not what you want for a cut-out. Varying success from what I see.

Looking at "Intarsia" it looks like these are linework patterns, not cut-out texture images, so I sense TIG's tool is not what you want. Probably drawing by mouse (or tablet) is going to be faster and cleaner.
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Last edited by pbacot on Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby Dave R » Sun Oct 20, 2013 7:01 pm

The vectorizing programs I've tried all made very ragged vectors which translated into huge segment counts in SketchUp. If the image is suitable or made suitable for it, TIG's plugin would be great. For most of the tracing I need to do, it would take as long to make the image suitable as to just trace it and get it over with.
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby pilou » Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:47 am

Auto Tracer on line
and else a very cool one where there is a vectorizer inside ! :fro:
Expression 3( old creatures house) free ! Multilanguage
Permit to make crazzy illustrations!
Astonished as vectorial image! :shock:
By Graphinc


Inkscape has also one inside! Multilanguage
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby Dave R » Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:58 am

Pilou, would you show us the vector lines you get from that image? Put them into SketchUp.
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby pilou » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:42 pm

I make a snaphot from the su forum!
With default parameters and without regulate anywhere in any progs that give that! (skp final file linked)
Inside Expression 3 (i have not the original expression file by graphinc! so snapshot above so JPG compression don't help! --> mutiply colors! )
You can of course modulate the start colors for have a more precise result!
(here only 4 colors! Suffisant if you want just the outlines! you can take till 40 color)

redfish1.jpg


You will have choice to export in different format Illustrator Ai ...
exportai.jpg


...and EPS, PDF and FLASH

I had taken AI 7.0 then import inside Moi then export directly in format SKP ;)
Inside Moi (who can accept also EPS, PDF )
redfishmoi.jpg


Moi export default parameters
redfishmoi1.jpg




Inside SKP : for a direct work without any regulates it's not so bad! ;)
Funny the original black circle eyes has disapeared maybe black is the transparent color somewhere!
Expression 3 is a crazzy free prog! :fro:
redfishsu.jpg



redfish.skp
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Last edited by pilou on Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:52 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby pilou » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:30 pm

Regulates inside expression 3

refulates.jpg


so more points! ;)
So first play with colors on the original!

24 colors in the following skp file! :)
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby mics_54 » Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:57 am

That is interesting on many levels and I bet it would be suitable for many artistic inflections.
Just to satisfy your curiosity etc

Pete's fish sign.jpg
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby pilou » Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:25 pm

You have also Expression Designer 4 who is a smart version of expression 3 always free! ;)

Else for your design drawing Moi has this on the next beta in PDF format! ;)

Reamark the "large lines" not only on empty space but also Objects over objects!
For a more easy readable :)
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Last edited by pilou on Wed Oct 23, 2013 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby mics_54 » Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:56 pm

Pilou
that's a very nice trace! I will chek it out
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby MARKTERREAU » Sun Jul 25, 2021 4:04 am

Where can a guy find the aforementioned BZ_Spline tools?
Thanks
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Re: best method for tracing a jpg image

Postby Dave R » Sun Jul 25, 2021 4:13 pm

MARKTERREAU wrote:Where can a guy find the aforementioned BZ_Spline tools?


In the Extension Store: https://sketchucation.com/pluginstore?pln=BezierSpline

Best would be to install the Sketchucation Extension Store tool under Resources at the top of this page. Then use it to install extensions hosted here.

There's also FredoSpline which has more options than the older Bezier Spline.
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