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I am attempting to use Image Trace to vectorise an illustration drawn with technical pens. The drawing has variable line thicknesses, which I want to preserve as accurately as possible, but also small dots that are used to emphasise the three dimensional nature of the subject (a skeleton destined for inclusion in a scientific publication).

I cannot seem to adjust the settings of Image Trace in such a way that I can preserve the dots at drawn weighting—they are either rendered very small or they disappear entirely—while maintaining the correct weighting of the lines. I've tried playing with every setting I can find. The Threshold setting brings out the small dots but over-emphasises the thicker lines.

I've tried the setting the noise reduction to a minimum but it's not enough.

(Nb: The drawing has been scanned at very high resolution and converted to black and white in Photoshop using the Threshold function (it looks really good at this stage). Even though the dots are small in relation to the size of the image, at the scanned resolution they each represent a fair number of pixels.)

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    Can you provide a sample? Also something to try: I'd suggest copying and tracing it twice, once for the lines, once for the dots, then delete the dots from one or the lines from the other – user56reinstatemonica8 May 22 '14 at 13:46
  • It may be beneficial to scan the drawing at very large dimensions, such as a 600% enlargement. Then trace the enlarged versions. This will allow you to trace with more accuracy. You can always reduce once the tracing is done. – Scott May 22 '14 at 16:49
  • I'd vote up both of your comments if I could. Scanning at super-high–resolution definitely improves the results. Tracing twice is also good, though also relatively laborious. – Roger May 23 '14 at 8:54
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It may be beneficial to scan the drawing at very large dimensions, such as a 600% enlargement. Then trace the enlarged version. This will allow you to trace with more accuracy.

There is a limit to the size of detail Image Trace can see and pick up. If you are at the edge of that, there's not much you can do to force the feature to be more accurate. By enlarging the image before the tracing, you ensure areas are clearly seen by the trace function.

You can always reduce the size of the art once the tracing is done.

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Image trace is RARELY going to work for this kind of thing, at best it will get you started in the right direction, then you can clean it up by hand from there.

  • I see your point, but manually adding gazillions of dots to rectify the stippling is not an ideal solution (I tried it on one view—it works, but is very time consuming). – Roger May 23 '14 at 8:53
  • I understand, it's hard to make that kind of assessment without actually seeing the piece. – Circle B May 23 '14 at 13:03
  • @Roger have you used a brush, pattern or dash – joojaa Aug 21 '14 at 5:40

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