Image Tracer

Available in the Windows version only

The Image Tracer tool lets you convert raster images in .bmp, .png, and .jpg formats to vector format. The images can be architectural plans, floor plans, logos, and curved images

The tool generates lines, arcs, polylines, and curves from the vectorized image, and places these objects into the active DraftSight layer. You can use the objects as resources in your drawing.

Image Tracer provides preset profiles optimized for these types of images. You can customize these profiles or create your own. Profiles can save you time if you are converting several images with the same characteristics.

The tool is made up of two tabs. The Basic tab lets you adjust the transparency, brightness, or contrast in the image and converts the geometric entities to vector format. If you want to further enhance edges or curves, you can apply settings in the Advanced tab.

Checking Image Resolution

Image Tracer works best with high-resolution images that have a minimum of 300 DPI (Dots Per Inch).

These images include technical drawings, architectural plans, maps, logos, and other images that are shaped geometrically, have precise contours and high contrast. Low-resolution images that are a minimum of 72 DPI, and are grainy, blurry, or pixelated may take longer to process and may not produce satisfactory results.

Depending on your operating system, you can determine an image's DPI by its file properties. However, you might need to refer to an image-editing application or utility. The following steps are an example on how to check image resolution in Windows, but you should always refer to your operating system documentation.

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Right-click the file name and select Properties.
  3. Click the Details tab and scroll to the Image section.

Horizontal resolution and vertical resolution lists the DPI value of the image.

Converting a Raster Image to Vector

  • You can only convert one image at a time.
  • You can import raster images in .bmp, .png, and .jpg formats.
  • To prevent an image from snapping to the wrong point, disable ESnap by pressing F3 on the keyboard.

To convert a raster image to vector:

  1. Import a raster image to a drawing by doing one of the following:
    • On the ribbon, from Drafting and Annotation, click Attach > Image.
    • Enter AttachImage at the command prompt.
  2. Enable Image Tracer by doing one of the following:
    • On the ribbon, from Drafting and Annotation, click Add-Ins > Image Tracer.
    • Enter TRACEIMAGE at the command prompt.

    The software automatically detects the profile type of the image. For example, if the image is a logo, it loads the Logo profile.

  3. In the graphics area, use the crosshair to specify the area of the image to convert. You can also enter 2D-point coordinates in the Command window.
  4. Specify options in the Basic tab:
    Option Description
    Geometry options Specify entities to extract from the image. Lines are selected by default.
    View options Move the slider or enter values to adjust the transparency. Changing the transparency makes it easier to see the converted data.
    Image options Move the slider or enter values to adjust the Brightness or Contrast.
    Layer to store geometry Select the layer to store the vectorized image in the drawing.
  5. Select options in the Advanced tab to enhance edges and curves in the conversion.
  6. In the Basic tab, click Ok to convert the image to vector.
You can continue adjusting settings in the Basic and Advanced tabs. Each time you click Ok, it can take time for the software to process updates.
To save time when you are converting several images with the same characteristics, click Save Settings to create a custom profile.

Image Tracer Pane

The Image Tracer Pane contains the Basic and Advanced tabs.

To open the Image Tracer Pane, import an image and do one of the following:

  • On the ribbon, from Drafting and Annotation, click Add-Ins > Image Tracer.
  • Enter TRACEIMAGE at the command prompt.

Basic Tab

Image profile type to convert

Profile type Lists preset profile types with varying quality and resolution for:
  • Floor Plans
  • Curved Images
  • Logos
Load profile Loads a custom profile.

Geometry options

Converts the following entities to vector:

Lines Includes arcs.
Polylines Selects a continuous line composed of one or more line segments.
Fitted polylines  

View options

Transparency Adjusts the transparency of the image.
Hide image Hides the original image in the graphics area.
Disable dynamic update Disables the preview of the image and selected entities. This option saves time by preventing vectorization from starting every time you change an option.

Image options

Brightness Controls the level of brightness in the vectorized image.
Contrast Controls the level of contrast in the vectorized image.

Layer to store geometry

Specifies the layer that stores the vectorized image in the drawing.

Advanced Tab

Detection options

Edge detector Detects line segments.
Contour detector Detects curves.
Scale (Edge detector only) Indicates the linear scale in a grayscale image.
Sigma scale (Edge detector only) Indicates the sigma scale for the Gaussian filter. This option helps avoid blurring.
Method of approximation (Contour detector only) Specifies the approximation level of the contour. Higher values are more accurate but take longer to process.
Image scale Improves the quality and color intensity of the entities.
Colors quantity Divides the image by the number of color areas.

Post process options

Overall tolerance Indicates the maximum distance in pixels for gaps between line segments and the maximum length of segments to remove. Removes single segments that do not have adjacent segments. This helps decrease vectorization noise on low-quality images.
Minimum radius arc Indicates the minimum radius arc in pixels.
Maximum radius arc Indicates the maximum radius arc in pixels.
Minimum perpendicular length Indicates the minimum distance between line segments and arcs in pixels.
Minimum number of vertices Indicates the minimum number of vertices in an arc.
Simplification distance tolerance (Edge detector only) Indicates a tolerance value to measure the deviation of simplified lines from the original lines.
Alignment angle tolerance (Edge detector only) Indicates the angle tolerance for detecting vertical and horizontal lines in degrees.

Line options

Show as single lines (Edge detector only) Displays two parallel lines as single lines.
Show as double lines (Edge detector only) Displays two parallel lines as double lines.

Smoothness options

Smoothness distance tolerance (Contour detector only) Indicates the minimal allowed length to smooth in pixels.