We’ve all been there…cleaning up logos and other artwork for hours only to discover that it takes so long that we are practically doing it for free. Graphic Tracer is one option that could help if you are looking for an alternative to other software. Many graphic programs offer an auto tracing function that provides a workable vector file from a bitmap, but users need a good-looking image to get good-looking traced graphics. This is where Graphic Tracer can be used.
Follow these instructions to fix common problems, such as regenerating low-resolution logos and artwork:
Note: If at any point you need assistance, there is a help window to the right in the program window, giving instructions and hints about current tools and different options. Here, you can access instructional videos.
Step One: create vectors
Open a bitmap image that you want to use. When you zoom in, you can see that the image is jagged and low resolution. Start by tracing the logo. The traced result might look good at a glance, however, when you look closer, you will discover that this logo still requires editing to make it look perfect. If the logo is colored, make sure that the correct colors are picked in the Bitmap colors dialog.
Click and drag a box around the objects of the first text to select it. Then, click the Text tool to start fixing the texts.
A logo may look fairly decent at a glance, however, if you zoom in, you can see that small details are less than perfect.
Step Two: identify and replace fonts
For any objects that need to be excluded from the selection, press CTRL-Shift and click to deselect.
When only the text is selected, click Identify Font and Replace button. Since the example used here has text that is placed in a circle, we select a circular arc as the base line.
When you have selected the correct type of base line for the text, you can adjust it by clicking and dragging the contour of the base line. When you are satisfied with the look of it, click Next. Graphic Tracer will ask you to verify that the characters are correctly interpreted. Click the arrow buttons to the right and left of the text to scroll. Capital letters have a Shift symbol and numbers have a # beneath them so that you can tell a zero from a capital O. Adjust any mistakes and click Next to identify the font.
Graphic Tracer scans through all its font databases and makes a list with the most likely match at the top left-hand corner. It then projects the suggested font on top of your text in red so that you can verify that it is a perfect match.
Important to note: Some fonts in the list are green and have a small *. This means that you own that font and can use it for replacing text. If you don’t own a font, you can click Suppliers and search for the font from various online typeface distributors. Fonts that are marked Dafont can be downloaded for free from Graphic Tracer, but you must check the license terms for each font to confirm how you are allowed to use them.
The font is drawn on top of your traced text so that you can see that it is a match.
Step Three: adjust shapes
Once the texts are replaced, proceed to adjust shapes.
In Graphic Tracer, curves are red, straight lines are green, and thick green lines indicate that the lines are horizontal or vertical.
Locate the node editing tools. Here, you’ll find a tool that can identify and make circular arcs. For example, if you click the Convert Nodes to Arc option, the selected nodes will convert to round segments. You can change lines to curves and curves to lines by double clicking them and convert sharp corners to smooth nodes the same way.
Step four: replace objects
Similar to Step One, any common objects like circles, ellipses, squares, rectangles, and triangles can be restored to the correct shape. The Replace Objects tool restores special effects like contours. Graphic Tracer automatically suggests a distance for the contour that should be replaced. To view the suggested outline, click the Preview button. A red contour is displayed on top of the traced graphic. By clicking Apply, you are confirming that the effect looks correct.
The red preview will replace teh black objects when you click Apply. Check that the suggested distance is correct by zooming in.
Step Five: export the graphics
The final graphic can be exported to all the common file formats: EPS, AI, SVG, etc. If you are working with Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW, you can transfer the logo directly to your program.
If you have any further questions about Graphic Tracer, please contact Steve Boek at [email protected].