How to trace an image in inkscape

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How to trace an image in inkscape

First i want to explain what tracing is and why you need to do it.

Tracing images why?

We all know what an image is and when we save them its often jpg or png. They are perfect to print but not to cut why? Because our machine only understand cut lines. And sure an image has lots of lines but that are lines the machine doesn’t understand. You  can see it like a jpg file is speaking dutch and the machine is speaking english. You have to translate the file. That’s where tracing come along. When you trace a file in inkscape the lines are coded different so the machine understands the lines now. In other words inkscape made the lines paths that’s how the cut lines are called.

An other thing that happens when you trace a file and save it as svg is SVG stands for Scalable vector Graphic this means you can resize all you want without losing  proportions of the file.

So now you know what tracing is it might be a bit easier to understand why you need to do it.

I have wrote down step by step how to trace in inkscape. But i also have a free pdf file in my shop under manuals. This file does not only contains the tutorial written below but also screenshots of inkscape with every step you take.

Trace step by step

Go to File- import

Choose your file you want to trace
click on OK
Go to path – trace bitmap

Now you will see the following screen on the right where the rabbit is black and white you will probably see an empty field. check the box with live preview then you image will show.

Play with the settings because every image is different. I choose here for black and white because i find this the best way to trace i like to pick my own colors. You can choose to do it in color then you image will cut in layers of each color. When you click on ok you will get the following screen.

Without showing it clearly you have now 2 images 1 original and one black and white. You can delete the original or drag the black one away from the color one.
I delete the original image.
When you are done go to view display outlines. Here you can see exactly what the cutlines wil be. And you can also remove any line you dont want to have so if you dont want double lines just remove the lines.

Now put view back on normal and we can go color the image.
In the picture above i have select the arrow with dots. This is called path every cutline is a path. When you see lines you want wider or rounder just click on a path you want to change.
with the bucket in you menu on the left you can color parts of your image.

Now you drag the parts with the same color away from the image so you can cut the parts in the right color.

When you are done save the file as svg on your computer or usb.

You can go to canvas or straight away to your machine.

In canvas you can also go to view and show cut lines

Go to download you can download it to usb or your computer or sent it straight via wifi if you have a scan n cut that has wifi.

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