How To Turn A Photo Into a Black And White Vector Graphic In Inkscape

In this video we learn how to turn a photo into a black and white vector graphic.

  • First we want to get rid of the photo background by using Inkscape or better GIMP and then exporting the photo to a directory (a folder)
  • Then we import our photo (PNG) without the background from our folder into Inkscape.
  • Then we size it to the size we want.
    • For example, for a t-shirt we might want to put it into a 11 x 17 ledger size canvas
    • To scale it down to what we want to go ahead and hold down Control and the left mouse button as we drag one of the corners (this will keep the ratio of our photo unchanged.
  • Then we use our selection tool and click on our photo to select it.
  • Next we go to the Path Menu and click on it and select Trace Bitmap . . . and the Trace Bitmap box will come up.
  • We’ll click the grey circle. Set the number of paths we want (the more paths we select the more shades of gray we have to work with.
  • We click okay and it will calculate the paths.
  • Then we click okay again
  • Then we select our image and drag it off the full color image.
  • Then we delete our full color image.
  • Move our grey scale image back on the 11 x 17 canvas (if we’re making a t-shirt)
  • Then we click on (select) our image.
  • Now with our grey scale image selected, we go to the Object menu and click on Ungroup.
  • And then we can begin to drag apart our different images.
  • If we scanned the picture 8 times we will have eight different grey scale pictures.
  • We’ll choose and save the one that works best – usually the one with just the right amount of contrast.
  • You’ll want to save it as an .svg so you can work on it later. And you’ll want to save it as a png for your print product.

Now watch the video to see an example of how it is done.

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