View Full Version : Questions On Vectorization

Joe Young
12-06-2004, 2:12 PM
Aloha From Hawaii,
Mele Kalikimaka(that's Merry Christmas in hawaiian) to all. My name is Joe Young and this is my first time posting a message.
I purchased an Explorer 30W about a month ago. My question is about raster-to-vector conversion. Right now I'm trying to scan a scroll saw pattern to vector cut. I bought Engravelab Scan program from LaserBits and cannot get it to work properly. Rather than explaining my problems can someone tell me the steps for conversion. I use a HP 5300 scanner.
Does the image need to be scanned with certain settings? Does the image need to be a certain type, jpg, tiff, etc. Or does someone know of another program that works well and is compatible with Coreldraw 12?
I did convert a scanned image for vectorization and realized that it is alot of work for just a simple image and decided to look for a program to make my like easier. Maybe I should have come to this forum first before I spent my money buying Engravelab.
Also, if anyone has experience in converting scroll saw patterns I would greatly appreciate knowing how. The programs I have are Coreldraw 12, Photoshop Elements, ACDSee, Photograv.
Mahalo(thank you) to all for your help.

Tyler Howell
12-06-2004, 5:32 PM
Welcome Joe!

You Star Wars wood chippers are always welcome in the Creek. Especially when we come to visit your shop in January:p . You are hanging with the best here at SMC. Glad to have you.;)

James Stokes
12-06-2004, 8:41 PM
I allways scan at 300dpi usually as greyscale.
Corel trace works pretty good for tracing images. It just takes practice tweaking the settings to get a decent trace.

Rodne Gold
12-06-2004, 11:20 PM
There really is no "easy" way to do this , yes engravelab etc *will* vectorise scanned images , but the results are generally not that acceptable - not smooth etc and clean up will take an enormous amount of time and you still wont end up with a universally useable vector file (lots of nodes , not true entities - like a scanned vectorised circle wont be the same as a circle)
Sometimes its ok for a "quick and dirty" one off , but generally not.
The only good way to do this is to import the scanned image into the package and MANUALLY retrace it using the packages tools. Initially its a schlep , but as you get more conversant with the package , you will soon discover that recreating the vector file manually is faster than scanning and cleaning.
I have been involved in Cad/Cam for many years and the holy grail is a good raster to vector convertor , so far I havent seen one that really does the business.

George M. Perzel
12-07-2004, 8:37 AM
Hi Joe;
Welcome to the Creek-lots of gresat guys/gals here who are willing to take the time to help.
Raster to vector conversion is kind of a hit and miss process as there is no specific program that consistently produces acceptable results from a variety of images. A couple of things which may help:
1. The Corel Trace program which is part of the Corel Draw12 suite will work pretty well on images which are pre-processed in a Photoshop type program. Take the image, convert in to grayscale 8 bit, increase the brightness and contrast until you have essentially a pure black and white image-then save it as a bitmap.
Open it in Corel Trace and try different accuracy settings using the "outline" or "advanced outline" modes. You want to get a good tracing (view it in wireframe mode) without too many objects or distortions. Save it and import it to Corel Draw for engraving. In Draw you can also clean it up, move lines around, etc.
2. If you do a lot of image scanning, get hold of a older HP 5470c scanjet.
It has a software program/driver which include a black/white scalable mode which produces vectorized images. Depending on the image, it may require considerable cleanup in Corel Draw when imported.

Good Luck

Kevin Huffman
12-07-2004, 11:46 AM
Welcome to the Creek Joe,
There is a lot of great info to be had here.
My name is Kevin, I am from Signwarehouse.com Laser Tech Support. Engravelab is a great program, it has many many options. We sell it and 80% of our customers only use this program.
But to be completely honest with you, Corel 12 made a very large leap in that area. In Corel 11 I wouldn't have used Corel Trace to save my life. There was more clean up than even engravelab's. I did just got a copy of Corel 12 and have a lot of luck with raster to vectoring things. They have refined the tracing part of the program tremendously.
My personal favorite for raster to vectoring is Scanvecamiable's Flexi Sign. It is a $4,000 alterative. Which hardly doesn't justify it but if you were able to get a copy of version 6.6 or higher (the current version is 7.5), it has one of the best tracing programs around.

When I try to scan something like a scroll saw pattern in, I first take a black magic marker and redraw the lines. It darkens them in and allows you to get a much cleaner trace. 300 dpi works just fine. I would use black and white when I scan in, if I redrew the lines, it usually produces a better image.

Good luck, (it is a teadous task)

Joe Young
12-07-2004, 2:15 PM
I really appreciate everyones helpful comments. Every night I try to set aside some time to learn about the software that I used in lasering. With the help I've received here the uphill battle won't be so steep. Again mahalo(thank you) to all.

Chuck Burke
12-08-2004, 12:59 PM
Hi Joe,
Another group you might want to check out for help with CorelDraw12 is on Yahoo. in Groups. It is Corel Draw Users Group. or CDUG for short. These are corel users period and they know there stuff...but generall, the informatin you have received from the board today, pretty much sums it up.

Chuck Burke
Pacific LaZer Works. ( soon to be on Maui )