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lawnjelly

DoodleTrace autotracer alpha version

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I've just started playing with 2d animation using Anime Studio, it's an animation package for vector art. Was having lots of fun and decided I might be able to use it to make a 2d game. Next stage was trying to draw some characters. Although I could do it with the mouse and the wacom tablet, I found it slow going, and quite difficult to get what is in my head onto the page.

It struck me there must be an easier way - I quite like doodling on paper, so I wondered whether it was possible to doodle on paper, scan it in, then autotrace the line drawing to something I can edit.

So I tried it .. unfortunately nearly all the autotracers I tried (Anime Studio, Inkscape) converted brush strokes into an outline, i.e. with a path at each edge, rather than a path down the centre, which is what I wanted for easy editing. After a bit of research, it turned out to be a common problem, and the solution was a different technique called centreline autotracing.

I gather Adobe Illustrator and Corel Draw can do this, but I don't have those programs. There is also an open source 'autotrace' command line program, but it crashed when I tried to run it, and I couldn't get the java GUI version of it to work either. So In my frustration, I did what anyone would do, I decided to have a go at writing my own.

After 2 or 3 days of playing about, I had a command line program that was just about workable (for me). Then it struck me why not release it as freeware. I could have stuck with the command line, but I read a lot of frustrated posts by artists not able to use autotrace because it was so 'geeky', so I thought I would try it as a testbed for building up my GUI system (I have been writing a simple windowing system).

33af6zk.png

So two weeks later, here it is for you guys to try out. I spent most of the time building up / debugging GUI stuff rather than on the autotracer itself lol. But I'm happy for it because I can reuse the GUI system to easily write new apps.

Anyway the program loads black and white images as TGA files (this is the only lossless image format I have a handy loader for, but I am planning to support PNG and maybe a couple others). Then you can set the parameters and set it off, and finally it saves in either Adobe Illustrator (.ai) or Scalable Vector Graphics (.svg) format. Actually the .ai file may be a little dodgy, as I reverse engineered it, and only got to test it with the Anime Studio importer, but I'm *hoping* it will load into illustrator too lol. Still the .svg seems to be working fine, and the .svg files loaded into google chrome ok.

So if you want to try the program it is about 400K.

You can download it here:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/100894566/DoodleTrace_006.zip

I also have created a facebook page to see if I can get some feedback and where I will post new versions:

http://www.facebook.com/doodletrace

Many thanks if you guys can try it out. It should run on most flavours of windows, and the only requirement is opengl graphics. Edited by lawnjelly

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