DIY Canvas Design V: Crudités & Image Redo


Disclaimer: This tutorial series is intended for educational purposes only and is aimed at needlepoint hobbyists. If you make use of any information presented in this series, please do not infringe on any copyrights.

I have to say I’m really not that pleased with the way the design looks.  It’s pretty crude looking, if you ask me, so before I trace it out on canvas,  I’m going to try to improve it though vectorization.

All this means is that I’m going to try to have much smoother lines, instead of the pixelated business you see now (click on image to see the nasty of rasta images, when blown up). 

Rasta Axe

Rasta Axe

Now ultimately this may not matter in terms of the trace process by hand, but if I were, say, to inkjet the design onto canvas directly (ye gods!), instead of hand tracing, it might make a mega big diff.  Aesthetics are not everything, they are, ahem, the only thing.

Now this part is going to be a little more complex in term of skill, but it really is quite simple, once you get the hang of it.   A vector image is one that has smooth lines, not the choppy pixelated ones that look absolutely awful once you try to enlarge an image.  Vectorized images can be enlarged at will without having these little stairs and annoying boxes appear, ie, the pixels.

(Before I forget:  A good way to view or print SVG files — the format in which the vector images are saved to disk — is through Mozilla, and you can preview it, before outputting the image to paper or canvas.)

 So I decided to experiment to see if vectorization would make my Coat of Arms looks less crude.  So first I worked on the image using Gimp.  I started off only doing one quadrant this evening, just to test if vectorization actually improves the look of things.

Basically I created a new layer, then traced over the orignal Axe quadrant, and fixed it with the eraser and pencil tools (I fiddled with the settings to get the thickness of the brushes right).  I also fixed the ridiculous looking thumb.

Then I did bucket fill with some nice bright colors, got rid of the original layer, and saved the transparency in a PNG format.  I did all this with a mouse, since I don’t actually, ahem, own a $400 Wacom Pen Tablet.  No problemo.  It was just a little slower is all.  By the way, the more changes and improvements like this you make, the more you get into the area of creating your own design, instead of just tracing someone else’s work.

Then I imported the PNG file into Inkscape, and there went to the Path –> Trace Bitmap option, fiddled with the settings till I liked the result, and voila, the result is as you see below.


Vector Image

I like the look of this more:  it has less of a Monty Python and the Holy Grail vibe.  I’ll probably do the rest of it tomorrow (click on the image to see how clean the lines remain, even when bigger).  By the way, I had to use the Vista Sniping Tool to capture the SVG image off a Mozilla browser display, which is kind of brain-damaged, as this turned it back into PNG, but WP doesn’t allow anyone to upload SVG or fiddle with the function.php for your theme, so I had to do it this way.

Vectorized Antelope

Vectorized Antelope

Even when converted back to PNG I still like this look more.  And I think vectorization will greatly improved the Rearing Antelope, and maybe help me get rid of the fuzziness in the faces of the Three Lions.

Time To Do:

Not that quick, it depends on your experience with Gimp and Inkscape.  But once you have gone vector, you will never look back at rasta images quite the same way again.

Next Step:   Continue to Vectorize the Rest of the Design

Erin McGrath and, 2012 – 2016.


About Erin

Owner of Needlepoint Land, LLC. Professional in the field for more than 15 years, during which I have managed and/or worked with various high-end needlepoint shops. I enjoy teaching both beginners and advanced stitchers, and have created numerous stitch guides, with speciality thread selections, for in-store customers and private clients. I maintain contact with an extensive network of needlepoint vendors, custom artists, and, most importantly, reliable, high-quality finishers. I look forward to hearing your comments on my blog!

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