Friday, January 16, 2009

New Obama File and Mini Tute

Well, I've done some more research and found a great list of vector graphics programs, free and otherwise. Gotta love the Wiki!
I did some tests with a photo I took of another Obama picture. I just saw the artist on Colbert and he said he doesn't mind if people use his picture as long as they aren't trying to capitalize on it...which I'm not. I seemed to get a positive response to my first Obama .scut file, so I decided to make this one the subject of my experiment. Here's what I started with.

I straightened it up and converted it to grayscale with Gimp. Then I ran the picture through Inkscape as usual and traced it. The result had 1,500 nodes. Not too awful without any processing! (At least compared with my 20,000 node car from the earlier post!) And after some cleanup, it was 1135. After simplifying, it ended up being 365! Not bad...

But we can do better...So I went to VectorMagic and ran my grayscale photo through it. Here's the resulting .png.
Note that you can actually clean it up a bit before you put it in Inkscape but it seems just as easy to delete extraneous stuff in Inkscape as Gimp or (By clean it up, I mean get rid of the watermark Vectormagic adds!)
I imported it into Inkscape and it came out with about 900 nodes, but that's including the text they automatically add on when you use their site. After cleanup, it was only a little over 500! Not bad at all. But we can still simplify it and cut faster.

The non Vectormagic image came out to 365 nodes after simplification. The Vectormagic image came out to only 285!

The final cut only took about 5 minutes, with both versions of the file on the mat. And here's the final result! There was no visible difference between the two files, by the way!
I'm quite happy with it. All except the eye and the insides of the O and the P...they aren't connected to the rest of the cutout. But what can ya do? You can use the negative for placement of the eye in your layout, at least.

So try using Vector Magic or one of the other vector editors listed on Wiki if you decide to try to convert a photograph for use with SCAL. It definitely makes things simpler, although it's another step!
Last but not least, here's the link to the VectorMagic simplified .svg file to import into SCAL. Please comment and let me know how you use it, if you like it! -K