Auto Trace Just Leveled Up

Auto Trace Just Leveled Up

4 min read

Hey Vectornators!

This one is special.

Our 4.6 update was released today, and there’s a very special feature waiting for you inside. It’s going to be a game-changer for streamlining your design workflow.

Download Vectornator to Get Started

Take your designs to the next level.

Auto Trace: Sketch Mode

In this update, our Auto Trace feature is leveling up.

Previously, our Auto Trace algorithm looked at the colors and shapes of an image, and created a kind of “vector painting” out of it. This mode is still going to exist, but it will be called “Photography Mode”.

We’ve added a new Auto Trace mode, called Sketch Mode, and we’re pretty excited about it!

This new mode uses an entirely new algorithm, specifically designed to trace sketches and solid-color illustrations.

So why should you be excited about this? Well, whether you’re an illustrator or a designer, you probably like to sketch out concepts on a physical piece of paper from time to time. Or you might have an image of some text that you’d like to use as a springboard for your next logo.

With this new Auto Trace Sketch Mode, you can turn your pen or pencil sketches into black and white vector shapes at the tap of a button. This saves an enormous amount of time for projects involving lettering or logo design.

Check out this video with our Design Director, Ralph Theodori, to see an overview of the changes!

If you’re already familiar with Auto Trace, nothing fundamental will change. The only difference is that you’ll have the option to choose which Auto Trace mode you want to use on your image before you trace it.

The Photography Mode will give you the same results you’re familiar with—colored vector shapes that mimic your image. However, the new Sketch Mode will always give you results in black and white.

You can still use it on images with color, but the algorithm will convert the colors to either white space or black vector shapes, depending on where you choose to set the Contrast threshold.

Auto Trace Parameters

Each Auto Trace mode uses different parameters.

In Sketch Mode, you’ll be able to adjust the complexity of your trace. Here, a lower value will group smaller areas together, creating a smoother outline. If you choose a higher value, your sketch will include more nodes and follow the outlines of the original image more precisely.

You can also adjust the contrast while using Sketch Mode, which affects the threshold that the algorithm uses to determine if a color is black or white.

In Photography Mode, you’ll find the Auto Trace controls you’re already used to, which allow you to adjust the Complexity of your trace, and the Minimum Path Size.

This new Sketch Mode uses a classification model based on machine learning, which also provides a number of other benefits. For instance, when you add an image to an Artboard and select Auto Trace, the machine learning algorithm will automatically pre-select the correct mode (Sketch or Photography), saving you a step in your workflow.

Auto Trace Results

Here are some examples of the new algorithm in action!

vectornator auto trace demonstration
Pixels into Vectors in just one tap!

Here, you can see how much better the Sketch Mode works on black and white sketches.

vectornator auto trace demonstration sunflower draw
Original | Photography Mode | Sketch Mode

For bold ink drawings, it's the perfect tool.

vectornator auto trace demonstration man portrait

And here, you can see how Sketch Mode can lend a “Silhouette” look to a photograph.

vectornator auto trace demonstration man protrait

In this example, you can see how Sketch Mode can be used to instantly create a black-and-white version of the tattoo flash illustrations.

vectornator auto trace tattoo art

For artists who draw with pen and ink, this update will revolutionize their workflows.

Joining Paths

This update also includes an improvement to the way the Join Paths feature works in Vectornator.
Previously, you could only use the Join Paths function to join the ends of two open shapes.
But now, you can join multiple paths together at the same time, and smooth and curved connective path segments will be drawn between the open paths, creating a cohesive shape.
Here’s an example of the new functionality in action:

Thanks for checking out this update, everyone!

Be sure to visit our Auto Trace feature page for an overview of how the new mode works, and swing by our Learning Hub (iPad/Mac) for all of the technical details.

You can learn more how to use Auto Trace on our Learning Hub, or take for example how to combine the Auto Trace with the Unsplash importer on Vectornator.

Don’t forget to download Vectornator (or update to the latest version) today and try out the new Sketch Mode yourself!

Download Vectornator to Get Started

Take your designs to the next level.

Until next time, Vectornators.

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