I put up the pencil sketch of this a few months ago – it’s the tattoo design I made for my friend Sarah.
I’ve now had a chance to tidy it up on GIMP and convert it to a vector in Inkscape. I finally figured out how! It takes much longer than drawing the initial image but I guess you could write a script to do it? Is it easier in Photoshop/Illustrator or are all graphic artists just masochists?
Inkscape and GIMP are free to use though, thanks to their energetic developer communities, so I’m not complaining. I enjoy the bracing intellectual challenge of figuring out how to get them to work.
I’ll list it here in case I forget, or it helps anyone else.
- Scan sketch into GIMP as .jpeg or .png.
- Go to “mode” and select “Greyscale”
- Adjust the “brightness/contrast “so that the imperfections in the paper are not so visible and the lines are as dark as possible
- Use “threshold” to adjust the image so it becomes just black and white with no grey.
- “Select by colour” and click on a bit of black
- Open new image, “advanced options”, select “transparent background”
- Paste into new image
- You should have a block outline of your sketch on an transparency.
- “Export to” from GIMP as a .PNG with a transparent background (and uncheck the “background” box). Make sure you change the extension as well as the file type.
- Start Inkscape
- Open your .png image into Inkscape. Check the “embed” box.
- “Select all layers”
- Go to “Path” then “Bitmap trace”
- The right hand panel should show a thumbnail of your picture. If not then you’ve done something wrong with the transparency.
- click “2” for “Colours” (you’ve only got black and white)
- click “OK”
- Wait for a while, depending on how complex your image is and how slow your computer is.
- Then you have to save it back as a .PNG again (it wants to be an .SVG) before WordPress will upload it.
But anyhow, this is now a resizeable image. So theoretically I could make a giant stencil and spraypaint it on the wall of my house. Yippee!