How to get the best results when vectorizing your pen and ink drawing

 

This post is a follow up for my previous post:

I think I did not do a good enough job to really represent Inkscape vectorization capabilities and made the results look bad. In my previous post as you can see the detail loss was major and the image distortion was quite bad too.

Previous post, before vectorization:

Previous post, after vectorization:

From the distance the print might look ok, but maybe we can do better? Now with this post I experimented with several artworks and their resolutions before importing them into Inscape to really get the best results possible.

 

So let’s begin.

 

1’st artwork – Tried 3 times with this artwork. The first attempt was 4000px 300dpi, waited for more than 15 minutes, but the software could not finish the job. Then I downsized the image again to 3000px 300dpi and waited again for like 15 minutes and nothing. Finally, when the original file was downsized to 2000px 300dpi after about 6 mins Inscape was able to vectorize it. And this is the result:

Before vectorization:

After vectorization:

Before vectorization:

After vectorization:

Conclusion – As we can see the image lost quite a bit of its details, but I would say is still quite usable and maybe would do even better when printed on a shirt, because of the less details and stronger shadows since the ink tends to bleed a bit.

 

2’nd artwork – Inkscape was able to vectorize it from the first attempt from 4000px 300 dpi source file in a little bit more than 1 minute.

Before vectorization:

After vectorization:

Before vectorization:

After vectorization:

Conclusion – The results are really quite nice, the detail loss is minimal compared to the previous artwork. We started with the twice as big image resolution so that’s because of that. The Inkscape was able to finish vectorization probably because the original artwork itself does not contain so many details.

 

3’rd artwork – First attempt success from 4000px 300dpi source file in a little bit over 3 minutes.

Before vectorization:

After vectorization:

Before vectorization:

After vectorization:

Conclusion – Results are quite good too, similar to the second artwork, the detail loss is minimal.

 

In summary, the results will depend on the amount of details that the original artwork has and how powerful your computer is. You have to experiment with the resolution of the file that you import into Inkscape. Sometimes the results are actually quite good, sometimes not as good, but the artwork might still usable in some applications, for example, large scale flag print for a scene decoration where no one is going to see much of the details anyway. It also depends on the customer preference, he might be perfectly ok with some detail loss.

Experimentation is a key there. I would not wait for more than a 15 minutes (really a waste of time if you wait more) for the vectorization to complete, if it does not finish the job just close the software, downsize the image more and try again. Now if you wanna go paid route, Adobe Illustrator might do a better job, but Inkscape is free, so you decide.

 

P.S. The tests were done using the same default Inkscape vectorization settings for each artwork.

 

Let me know what you think about the results and maybe share what software / ways you are using to do the job?

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