Impossible to get paths... :-( x-(

Asked by Activia

So, I am a real beginner here and now that I checked out about 78 forums, 85 tutorials and ripped out about half of my hair, it is maybe about time to ask my question here, before my laptop starts flying through the room... ;-)

So: I have a TIF-image, which is a hand-drawing (with black pen) and which I would like to convert into a vector image.

So I imported my image and now what to do?

I already tried "trace bitmap" which gives quite a good result, but then I still do not get any paths (or if I got them, I didn't see them).
So then I tried "Object to path" which first didn't want to work ("No objects to convert to a path in selection") and in one of the 75 forums/tutorials I found, I learned that I first have to convert my object to a pattern.

So with new hope, I started again, and everything seemed to be fine, until I figured out that I only had "4 paths" created. Turns out the program just took the outer edges of the image and made some paths out of it (could have been doing that myself!).

So the thing I dream of doing, is that my hand-drawn tif-image (with distinctive black lines - nothing complicated at all) is converted into paths! So that I can export all this to Photoshop and finally start actually working on my image (thing I intended to do for about 4 hours already now, without success).

Thanks to anybody taking the time to explain me what I'm doing wrong!


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RIco (rico-rootscore-deactivatedaccount) said :

1. open your image in inkscape
2. Path Menu>Trace bitmap
3. select your image and click the update button on the trace bitmap window, you will see a preview of the tracing, change the settings, check the new settings by clicking again update. Once you're happy with what you see, click OK
4. The trace will appear over your picture, you can move it away from the picture and delete your picture if you want.
5. to select or edit the paths use the node tool (F2), or double click (fast) on the trace, the nodes will appear and you will be able to tweak your paths

If your drawing is just with simple black lines the default mode (Brightness cutoff) with some Threshold tweaking will probably be enough to get a proper trace.

hope this helps.

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RIco (rico-rootscore-deactivatedaccount) said :

.. your trace will be made from a lot of nodes, if you want to simplify it, just go to Path Menu> Simplify (or Ctrl+L), this will remove some of the nodes without affecting too much your drawing (well.. depends how many times you simplify of course..)

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Activia (vera-donk) said :

Rlco! You saved my hair (and computer!)! ;-)

And you know what is the worst? I have been doing this over and over again, seeing effectively that "something happened" to my image, but I just didn't understand that I had to do the "simple action" of activating the node tool to actually see my 75.184 nods!!! :-)

Now I am trying to simplify. Works quite well, except for some parts where the program is pretty radical I have to say. Maybe I should just try to select some nods and simplify them to make it less radical or is there some hidden settings where I can adjust this.

Thanks a lot for your rapid answer!

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Activia (vera-donk) said :

Thanks RIco, that solved my question.

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Activia (vera-donk) said :

Mmm... clicked too early I think. Any tips on simplifying nods are welcome! :-)

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RIco (rico-rootscore-deactivatedaccount) said :

usually i simplify one or two times.. as much as i can without actually altering to much the original design. Then i continue simplifying by hand, selecting nodes where appropriate with the node tool and deleting them.
Like if you have some quite linear path or curve that you would to by hand with 2 nodes.. if the trace bitmat does it with 5, you can easily delete the extra nodes without losing the shape of your curve.
In most cases the simplify or trace bitmap tools will not do everything for your, you'll have to tweak some part by hand.

you can check this page, there is a section about the simplify tool:

i would also highly recommend you this video tutorials about inkscape, you'll find a lot of info from basic to advanced techniques:

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Activia (vera-donk) said :


ok that was exactly what I was doing, and reading your answer, I guess there is no better way. :-)

I had been reading the page about the simplify tool already (remember, checked about 78 tutorials, forums, everything I could find) and yeah the vido-tutorials really look cool, but I need some kind of plugin to make them work. I guess I'll wait for my boyfriend to get home (he's the geek and got me all started on the Inkscape thing...).

Thanks a lot for your answer though!