View Full Version : Corel - trace feature question

Bob Cole
06-24-2007, 2:54 PM
Question 1

I've read through the threads and the help on using the trace in Corel and still have a tough time getting the image to vector. I have a few scroll saw puzzle patterns from a book that I scanned in and tried to use the trace tool to turn them into a vector image so I can cut out on the laser.

The patterns are very simple, due to me being a newbie.

I know this can be done because I've read the threads that discussed it but having issues getting it to work correctly.

Here is what I am doing. If you can point out the errors in my ways, please say so.

1. Scan in the pattern into a jpg file. I've been scanning in color so wondering if that is part of my problem. The image has black lines with a light greenish interior.
2. Open the file in Corel-photo paint. Crop the picture and rotate if needed.
3. Run power trace and some of the lines disappear no matter which settings I modify.

I have an Intuos drawing pad and have resorted to tracing the file manually.

This leads me to my second question.

Question 2

I trace the file with the drawing pad then go back and fix anything that doesn't look quite right (lines don't intersect, got a little wobble, forgot to change the smoothing feature, added touches, etc).

When I go to laser, the laser cuts in the order I traced the file. This is really unfortunate for tracing in the manner that I am tracing. Since I have taped the physical paper to my drawing pad and using the stylus to trace, if I try to fix while I am tracing, it is extremely difficult to get the zoom and the layout exactly the way it was to start tracing again (maybe someone has a good trick for this too).

Is there a way to organize the drawing once complete?

I've read that some people use different colors so the Vector images are organized by colors and cut out in order. This would be helpful for this project since I would like to cut out the puzzle pieces first, then the outline so when the puzzle drops, it isn't out of focus for the rest of the cutting.

Thank you for any advise.

ULS X-660 60watt, Corel X3, Photgrav

Steven Smith
06-24-2007, 7:23 PM
I got it to work but you should really try for a better quality scan. Don't use .jpeg as it's too lossy. Strive to get rid of the background shadow and the interior fill color. Let me know if you really want the long process to get it to vector cut.
I really think it would be easier with a better image to start. :D

Joe Pelonio
06-24-2007, 7:32 PM
Jpegs are reduced resolution, compressed for faster internet load. I always scan to tif file as it's the best quality and doesn't lose resolution each time you save it as jpgs do. It will be a larger file but I always scan to the same name and write over the last one, no need to save it after tracing. Also, when scanning a drawing that's not that great to begin with using high reslution makes it worse, as it picks up every imperfection. Dropping down to 300 or even 150 dpi on the scan sometimes gives better results on line drawings.

You'll save time by editing any bad lines, extra dots etc. in paint, after scanning, it's faster than manipulating points after it's traced.

Settings for the trace function cannot be easily explained, it takes practice,
eventually you'll learn what kind of images trace best with certain settings. Try to make notes for yourself for future reference..

Roy Brewer
06-27-2007, 10:18 AM
I have a few scroll saw puzzle patterns from a book that I scanned in and tried to use the trace tool to turn them into a vector image so I can cut out on the laser.
Is there a way to organize the drawing once complete?Bob,
A few thoughts (numbers do not match your questions)
1.) For best results using CorelDRAW, don't save it to a file at all. File>Acquire Image>Acquire from CorelDRAW directly.
2.) Either Scan in B&W(mildly suggested), or inside PowerTRACE limit the number of colors to two.
3.) You can and should get this to work to be able to pick up all your lines if your original is similar to those found in a typical scroll saw pattern book. Having said all that however, you are going to get both sides of the line and for most applications you'll need to go back and remove 1/2 of the lines. Making the decision on which 1/2 is not always that straightforward.
4.) Often times manually drawing over you scan will be faster and almost always yield better results. So, to optimize your cutter path, most of us use CorelDRAW's Tools>Object Manager docker to position objects in the order we want them after we've digitized them.
5.) Lastly, if at all possible, use vector files from the beginning! Berry Baskets (and I'm sure others) have thousands of scroll saw patterns that are already in vector (.PDF) and can be opened/imported into X3. There will be a few little aggravations with this process also, but, IMHO, it is much less time consuming than vectorizing the printed page.

Mike Mackenzie
06-27-2007, 3:47 PM

In the advanced tab of your driver make sure that the VECTOR SORTING option is set to "enhance and sort".

Bill Cunningham
06-28-2007, 8:06 PM
I use c-12 so this may differ from x3: For Scroll saw patterns, scan in 300 dpi 2 bit black and white (line art) Adjust the threshold after scanning so the lines are solid, and most of the crap in the background is gone (you may have to compromise a bit here) save as a 300 dpi .tiff file (2 bit). Load with trace, and choose 'centerline trace' trace it.. Save the trace and load it into Corel, and make sure all the lines are converted to hairlines.. If you scan the lines as a grayscale, you will have to convert it to a black and white file in trace, using 'mode' You can also adjust the threshold here as well.. When the picture is sharp, and solid black and white, then trace using centerline..

Bob Cole
06-30-2007, 2:27 AM
Thank you for your insight. I obviously have a lot to learn.

I've done a few using the manual trace method and it really is pretty fast on simple drawings. Guess it also helps me get use to the drawing pad.

I will try the suggestions because I know once I get to more complex patterns, the Trace tool will be much faster.