Imagine all the pictures

January 26 2011

if you’re like me addicted to drawing, you probably think pencil and paper (whiteboard optional) are the most powerful communication tools. so, here’s a tip for getting images ready for your digital media, like blog posts and presentations: simply sketch lines on paper, take a picture, then trace it.

here’s the recipe:

  1. use a digital camera for taking a picture of your sketches, and copy image to your PC/laptop
  2. convert image to grayscale, crop it and adjust contrast/brightness to sharpen dark lines on white background. any image processing tool is good (Seashore on MacOS, GIMP on Linux and Windows)
  3. convert image to .pbm, as required by next step, with ImageMagick
  4. trace image, with Potrace (also available with MacPorts on MacOS)

result is a sharp, vector image, from which you can easily create illustrations as PNG/JPG images, targeting media resolution (150/300 DPI) without quality loss and with a whiteboard/clipart taste!

original image

resulting image

finally, here’s an handy bash script to apply steps 3 and 4 in one shot, which I’m using these days for presentations. enjoy!

echo "processing $1.."
convert $1 $1.pbm
potrace $1.pbm -o $
rm $1.pbm

One Response to “Imagine all the pictures”

  1. Davide Says:


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