Walkthrough Tutorial: Image Trace

Let's say you find an image online that you want to turn into a carving, or maybe you want to add a picture to one of your existing projects. With Easel's Image Trace, you can upload an image and Easel will help you generate the correct toolpaths for your machine. 

Image Trace works best for high-contrast images, like two-tone or black-and-white images. The image uploader will convert your file into a black/white vector for carving. That said, your image doesn't need to be perfect: once you've uploaded the image, you can make adjustments such as cut depth, 

First, locate an image that you want to add to your project. We suggest using Google's image search. Try to use keywords like "vector" or "black and white" when searching, to get a good image for uploading. The Image Trace tool can only accept JPG, SVG, and PNG file types. When you find an image you'd like to use, save the file to your computer. Make sure you know where the photo is located on your computer so you can find it easily when uploading it into Easel. 

In the "Import" tab, navigate to "Image Trace." Click the blue button that says "Upload Image" to locate your image. 

You can either drag your image into the uploader screen, or you can navigate to the image on your computer to upload it to the server. Or, if your image lives on Google Drive, Facebook, or Instagram, you can link your account to filestack and access your photos directly. Once you select the image, it will automatically upload to Easel. 

Once your image is uploaded, you can adjust some settings to make your image easier to carve. 

"Threshold" allows you to change the contrast qualities of an image. It's easy to determine threshold levels on images with high contrast. An image with many different colors or with varying shades will be difficult to parse out into "black" and "white" ("carved" and "not carved"). By adjusting the threshold, you can dictate which parts are carved and which parts are not carved. 

"Smoothing" reduces sharp edges and angles in your image so it is easier to carve. An image with a lot of points or steep angles will take longer to carve: your machine needs to make more adjustments to its course and not utilize its full speed. Additionally, finer details will require you to use a smaller bit.

Ideally, your design should not contain any corners or radii that are tighter than the diameter of your bit. A large circular bit won't successfully carve into a small point because the bit is not narrow enough to reach the tightest part of the angle. Smoothing out edges minimizes detailed elements and helps you complete your carves faster.

Image Trace also lets you invert your image. This is useful if you want to make a stamp or quickly switch the parts that are carved and not carved. 

Selecting "Trace Outlines" only keeps the edges of your image, which is useful if you want to cut out a shape from the stock material. 

Once you've set up your image to upload the way you want, click "Import" to add the image into Easel. Now that your image is in Easel, you can make adjustments to the project like any other project. You can also continuing adding elements to the project.

(To learn more about editing points on an object, check out this article.)

If you're having trouble uploading an image, you may have better luck uploading it as an SVG file. You can review this forum post for one way to convert your file to an SVG, or download a free program like Inkscape. Once you have an SVG file, you can use the SVG Import feature in Easel. 

Vectorizing Failed Error Message

If you encounter this message, it is more than likely that the computer's internal clock may be set incorrectly.  This should be corrected through your computer's Date/Time preferences.

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