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Trace Bitmap or Scan to Cad


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The experimenting I've done, and learned from searching these forums, is that VW's Trace Bitmap command, to put it mildly, leaves a lot to be desired.

Maybe there's something I'm missing, but I think not. Trace Bitmap must be something of an embarrassment to VW staff, since stellar performance is otherwise the norm for this great app.

Has anyone been able to make it work at all? If so, I would really like to know how.

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Yes, it interprets "lines" as zig zags with a million points, etc, etc. Seems really under powered or insensitive. Part of the problem, I think, is that developer and user intent may not be the same in all cases - Find edges? Pick out centers of bands? Interpolate curves? What's a corner? What lines/bands/areas are important to the end product? . . .

Some better poly filters in VW would really help clean up the bitmap trace. The Simplify Poly plugin may still be available somewhere and may help some. I think it used to be at VectorDepot, but I could not find it just now. It creates a new poly within some specified distance of the existing. If that distance is big enough, a whole lot of points are ignored.

Describe more what you are trying to do.

One approach is to draw a hand trace of the image with a constant line weight pen or pencil (remember rapidograph pens and drafting mylar?) and scan that for the bitmap trace. With this process, you get to pick which objects are of interest. You can ignore reflections, smears or whatever. I know, some images are too big/complex. But it can be quicker than mouse trace with polys.

Otherwise, trace in VW with polys. Or call a vector scanning service specialized in turning paper drawings into CAD files. Their custom software may be able to vectorize images better than the VW Trace Bitmap.


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I don't think there has ever been any software that could to this.

Macromedia's Freehand had a FANTASTIC trace tool. but I'm not sure what became of it after Macromedia got swallowed. It might have been incorporated into Flash or Illustrator. (??)

The VW trace has always been awfull and only just barely works on very simple high contrast line work

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Some better poly filters in VW would really help clean up the bitmap trace. The Simplify Poly plugin may still be available somewhere and may help some.

God Bless John Williams who wrote that thing(I think). I use it all the time.

I can't imagine why it has never been introduced into the program. I have a copy of the VSS or VSM file for 2011 if you cant find it at VectorDepot. (I think it's in the "old" section down near the bottom of the list.

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Re: Bob-H and the Vectorscript.

I don't have any experience with scripts. I did name and save the script into Tools/Scripts/PlugIn Editor.

Then imported an image of a floor plan, selected it, and then went to Scripts/Run Script. A window opens for selecting the file. It's not to be found.

In the Resources Browser, there seem to be no scripts available.

It would help to know how to invoke the script, in what context, and what to expect. Thanks.

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