How to use multiple image traces to capture all details in an image

As requested on support…

Given an image with a multiple light/dark colours, it may not be possible to capture all of the regions defined by colour in a single scan:

The solution is to make multiple scans, but one must be careful not to introduce duplicate geometry.

Begin by making a suitable file and choosing the “Trace Image” command:

Select the image in the dialog:

try dragging the Threshold slider so as to capture the various regions:

click “Trace Image”



Nudge things around and adjust so that there is a bit of room to work:

As can be seen, some regions have merged w/ different coloured regions — this becomes clearer if we import the pixel image and place it on the background:

Set Background

Load Image

Adjust size and position:

The outer yellow border is missing, and the white and yellow have merged.

Both can be addressed w/ additional image tracing commands at different threshold levels:

(probably it would be better to mark the corners/ perimeter of the graphic so that positioning and size are invariant)

Adjust as necessary.

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Note that we now have doubled-up geometry for certain regions — the easiest way to deal with this is to create a new layer, move the second scan to it:

ungroup it:

then delete the geometry which was not traced as well:

(optional, one may clean up the scan at this point as well)

For the more complicated regions, it will be necessary to do a bit of node editing, duplication of geometry, and use the Trim Vectors tool to clean things up so that one has b/w geometry which may be used together, and the geometry which represents the yellow regions which would be used separately.

Note that since much of this is text, it could be just be reset if one identifies the fonts and the shadow effect is done using multiple copies of the text which speeds things up if one goes to edit things.

After a bit of Node Editing and clean-up:

Eventually one arrives at:


I got to the point of deleting extra geometries and I don’t really understand what I should be deleting. Anything I delete affects the text. Thank you very much for the help btw!
Southside.c2d (1.2 MB)

I sent you a file which has this fixed.


Southside_v7.c2d (1.1 MB)

True Confessions time. Fixing it got a bit tedious, and I was annoyed by the scan not quite being perfect due to the low resolution of the original image, so I re-drew it and fixed it in FreeHand.

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Thank you very much!

Gosh I wish I knew how you this. And so quick!

First job out of college was drawing 40 hours a week in Adobe Illustrator and/or Macromedia Freehand (not counting time spent fixing files from Quark Xpress or doing various file conversions or working up various techniques).

Please see:

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Wow! So you know what you’re doing is what you’re saying? Lol! That’s amazing to have that kind of experience!

The young should never envy their elders for their knowledge and experience
for they have paid for them by emptying a purse which can never be refilled.

What I’m saying is, you can learn this too, probably much easier/faster than I did.

The pages I wrote on Carbide Create should cover the basics, and see the documentation for other drawing programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Macromedia Freehand, or Inkscape.

When my daughter was going to R.I.T. for Illustration I bought her a copy of:

and there is:


Hi Will, the book you mentioned here is not available at the link above. Could you post the name? I’m interested in checking it out

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Thank you for the references. I will definitely check them out.

Hi Jake! The Goodreads link worked for me and the Bezier Game is a game you play on your device so the link is good :slightly_smiling_face:

The book in question is:

_ Vector Basic Training: A Systematic Creative Process for Building Precision Vector Artwork_ by Von Glitschka

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Please note that to gamify things, the The Bézier Game shows some wrong constructs.

General rules:

  • on-curve nodes should appear at extrema (top/bottom, north/south, right/left, east/west) and points of inflection (where a curve changes direction into another curve — think the curve of an S)
  • off-curve nodes should follow the “rule of 30” and be not quite one-third of the way (30 %) towards the matching on-curve node
  • in general, fewer nodes is better

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Another tool for this:

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