Carbide Create - Image Tracing

We just posted CC 520 to:

520 includes a big new feature for us, Image Tracing.

You should be able to load a JPG or PNG and get a reasonable set of curves from it very quickly.

A few caveats:

  • Right now, it’s mono only so color images will be converted to black and white using the thresholds in the window.
  • We’re not optimizing for very small images so some will work well, others won’t. We’d recommend images larger than 500px on a side if possible
  • By default, the vectors are grouped to make it easier to move and scale them. Ungroup them if you don’t want this.
  • Winston is going to knock out a video soon to show it off.

A huge benefit to having this built into CC rather than using a third-party vector design application is that we treat the output as just a bunch of vectors. They’re not grouped into shapes or whatever other native objects used by the other application. (Speaking from experience, this was always a PITA for someone with an engineer-brain rather than a design-brain)


This is a BIG feature to add! Can’t wait to try it out!


For folks who want to experiment, here’s a test file:

which works perfectly:

(now pardon me while I go off and update all the images at: 2D Drawing - Design into 3D )


I’ll admit that we’ve been having fun geeking out on it. Trying a little 200x200px screenshot of your avatar, and ignoring my resolution advice, I got the image below. With a few minutes of vector editing it would be pretty close.

Let’s say you’re a Chargers fan: (Great- there are now two of us!)



Hats off to you ( pardon the glare)
This is a feature I would update for.


As usual I’m a day late and a dollar short :slight_smile:

I used a combination of Inkscape (thanks to Gerry on this forum) and then had a reason to purchase Vetric V-Carve Desktop to make my little jigsaw puzzles using their Image Tracing feature.

Will Adams went through an exhaustive process of doing this with the current version of Carbide Create so this will be a good feature.


I’m sure this isn’t the response you were expecting, but the tracing feature works far better than Inkscape. I use Inkscape and Fusion 360 regularly and I have never liked the tracing and svg conversion that Inkscape does. So I took a couple of jpg images I had from previous customer jobs and traced them in Carbide Create, exported them as svg files and imported those into Fusion 360. The tracing job CC did was remarkably better (even with color images) than Inkscape. I will probably shelve Inkscape in favor of CC for this task in the future. It is so much better.


That’s absolutely not what I was expecting but I’ll take it!

We actually tried to license Potrace, the library used in Inkscape, but the author valued it much much more than we did so we wrote our own.


Any time I used Inkscape/Potrace the results took a considerable amount of vector editing, sometimes hours. I’ll see if I can dig out my torture test file, a scanned pencil sketch one of my girls did in elementary school.


Agreed, this is a pain and I have to fiddle with it whenever I do this in Inkscape.

Awesome job @robgrz and C3D team! I’m looking forward to putting this feature to work when engraving some logos.


If I have the 1 year pro beta license will it upgrade will I have to purchase pro license is i upgrade?

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this is awesome!

food for thought for a step 2: Sometimes SVG files are a royal mess with overlapping geometry, weird other things etc etc (I’m sure your support folks have a looooong list). I have found that at times I get a better result by first converting the SVG to a high res bitmap, and then re-trace it in inkscape…
… if CC can do the tracing it self now, it is one very small step away from “Load this svg and simplify it” by internally going to a high res bitmap and then trace it…


The original is on a wall at the farm buried under several feet of snow but I found a decreased resolution jpg scan on the laptop. At first glance it does a decent job! Potrace leaves lots of unconnected short lines and random background zits, doesn’t seem to be much if any of that here. I was going to suggest short line limit (remove anything shorter) and adjacent line combination (connect two lines if less than a threshold apart), but at least in this lo-rez pic there’s no need.

I keep hoping that something someday will turn it into one vector per pencil line, but this scan isn’t good enough to expect that. One problem is that pencil on drawing paper seems to leave a lot of white space where the lead hits the high points on the not perfectly flat paper. This image was preprocessed for linuxcnc and image2gcode over 10 years ago. Lizzie must have been under 10 when she drew it 20+ years ago, and it still gets rolled eyes and an “Oh, Dad”.



I’m not sure what that means @robgrz, would you enlighten me, please?

I should know, because it sounds the same as my name! :rofl: :rofl:

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The CC screenshot was dropped, here it is:

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Pain in the butt, you can guess the nsfw (not suitable for work) equivalent

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If you download from the link above then it will automatically recognize your Pro license when you start it up.

When CC imports an SVG, we actually do a lot of checking to remove the overlapping, redundant vectors. We may not get all of them every time but importing an SVG as-is results in a nightmare of support problems. (This is what I eluded to above in tracing with third-party programs)

I’m better that would end up looking really nice using something like an Advaced VCarve toolpath.


Not many closed paths so I thought v carving wouldn’t work, here’s the result with a 90* v bit traced on center, 0.25mm deep. Too big an angle for the size (100x100) in retrospect, it was just the handiest bit in the drawer.

Simulating the toolpath showed almost no lines, but other than the lines being too wide (my fault…) it looks OK.


That is outstanding,I have been cutting acrylic at .5 and I will go down to your depth on the image,looks so good.

It depends on the bit, this one is pretty wide. Acrylic is cool stuff, light bounces between the two sides but a cut lets it out. Using a narrower bit and deeper cuts should make it brighter but I haven’t actually tried it on the same design.