Raster to Vector

MagicTracer Conversion Software
[ Documentation ] [ Getting Started: 1 ]

Getting Started With MagicTracer Part 1

Step 1. Start with an image file

Start MagicTracer™, and open the sample image file sturalogo.gif (shortcut key Ctrl+I or menu command File -> Open Image | Read More). The image file should be located in the “Getting Started 1” folder of your MagicTracer installation. This image is a small transparent GIF similar to those found on many web sites.

Step 2. Prepare the image

To optimize the image for Contour Detection we are going to apply Linear Edge (shortcut key Ctrl+E or menu command Raster -> Linear Edge | Read More) to it.

Step 3. Contour Detection and Vector Conversion

Use the Vector Convert command (shortcut key V or menu command Vector -> Vector Convert | Read More) to begin the process of converting the image to vectors. Anytime you start the Vector Convert command from a color or grayscale image, MagicTracer will first attempt to reduce the image to black-and-white contours. (If you start Vector Convert from a pure black-and-white drawing, you have the option to skip this step.) This stage requires some input from the user, so the following dialog box will be displayed:

Activate the Enable Real-time Preview box, then play with the controls to see how they work. For this image, we settled on the following settings as shown above:

After accepting the Contour Detection settings, you will be presented with a Vector Convert dialog box:

You should activate the “Enable Real-time Preview” option and play with the sliders to see how they affect the vector results. After some experimentation, we chose the following settings for this image:

The project thus far has been saved as GettingStartedLogo1.mtp; if you have followed along your image should now look something like this:

Step 4. Clean up the vectors

After the vector conversion, the new vector entities are displayed on a pale green background. We can see that there are a couple of gaps in the vectors that were created, and a few lines that need to be moved slightly. Activate the Vector Select command (shortcut key S, or menu command Selection -> Vector Select | Read More), and click on the line segment on the “R” where the vector is curving in too much. Notice how the object shows tiny square boxes at the ends. These boxes represent the points that make up the vector entity:

Select the center point and move it up to match the curve of the original GIF image.

There are a few portions on the logo where it would be better if it were a curve rather than a line. Select those line segments and convert them with the Line To Curve command (shortcut key Shift+F8, or menu command Vector -> Line To Curve | Read More). You can also add points to and subtract points from a line or curve. To add a point hold down the SHIFT key and when you see that the cursor has a small plus sign above it left-click on the line or curve. To subtract points hold down the ALT key and when you see a small minus sign above the cursor left-click to remove that point.

Now we clean up the rest of the vectors by moving points and converting lines that should be curves. After moving a few points and converting a couple more lines, here is the cleaned up vector logo.

We have provided a final cleaned-up version of the project, modified using the techniques described above, as GettingStartedLogo2.mtp.

Step 5. Save the vector data

Of course, the ultimate goal of the vector conversion process is to obtain a file that we can load into a vector graphics program or a CAD program. MagicTracer can save files in two popular CAD formats: DXF and DesignCAD. MagicTracer can also save files as SVG and EPS two popular formats for graphics programs.

We’ll save this one in DXF format, which may possibly be the most widely accepted vector format on the planet. To do so, activate the Save Vector File command (shortcut key Ctrl+Shift+S, menu command File -> Save Vector File | Read More). Under the “Save as Type” option, choose DXF files. Then enter a filename, such as “gettingstarted1.dxf,” browse to your preferred save folder, then click the Save button.