File conversions....

Discussion in 'Graphics Issues' started by MikeSparks, 5/21/14.

  1. MikeSparks

    MikeSparks member

    ok, who has what software for converting .AI, .EPS, and/or .JPGS files over to .DXF or .DWG formats? what is working out there? and free would be prefect!!
     
  2. SignTorch

    SignTorch Artist

    Roles:
    • Vinyl CuttingVinyl Cutting, CNC RouterCNC Router, Designer / ArtistDesigner / Artist, Hobby / PersonalHobby / Personal
    Brands:
    • Corel DrawCorel Draw, Adobe PhotoshopAdobe Photoshop, V-Carve ProV-Carve Pro
    Location:
    Vidor, TX
    that's actually a very complicated question, and there is no easy answer....

    JPEG to DXF is a raster to vector conversion, requires clean source images and extensive vector editing/clean-up (before and) afterwards

    AI/EPS to DXF is a vector to vector conversion, output is (sort of) equivalent to input

    Inkscape is free and will do both conversions

    Corel draw is not free and will do both

    I'm not sure about inkscape, but corel's DXF is either segmented (curves are lots of short line segments) or splines (which only work right in some CAM software sometimes)

    Ideally, for CNC, you want DXF with arcs (not splines or segments), and the arcs should be tangent continuous (smooth). CAD software uses arcs, vector graphics software does not use arcs, which is why DXF curves come out as either segments or splines.

    Some machines work better with arcs because they run smoother. Some, like Mach3 machines, have constant velocity settings to make segmented curves work ok. Some machines, like old moving bed platforms can't handle segmented curves because they cause colossal machine vibration. And machines with low acceleration can't follow segments as smooth as they can follow arcs.

    Ultimately DXF with (tangent) arcs is the best, and arcs work the same on all machines.

    The question is, how to get from vectors to arcs.

    In corel, you can use DXF TOOLS to export DXF with arcs (not sure but may not always produce tangent continuous arcs)

    I use corel and v-carve pro to convert from EPS to DXF with nice tangent continuous arcs. That costs a lot but v-carve pro is a nice program for cnc, more-so if you have a router. That's the most perfect solution because v-carve pro does things to help detect and eliminate potential problems like duplicates, fragments, and excursions that might not cut as expected.

    But now, sheetcam has features to convert from segments and splines to arcs, and export DXF (or gcode) with arcs. Sheetcam will not import AI/EPS but it will import SVG and DXF with splines, so it will work with corel or inkscape to indirectly convert AI/EPS/SVG/DXF to DXF with arcs.

    also, adobe illustrator has an inexpensive plugin available called exdxf to export dxf with arcs.

    so there are a number of ways to go, from free to uber expensive, with or without arcs,

    since I use corel and v-carve pro, I haven't fully studied sheetcam's arc fitting capability, but a program with quality arc fitting for under $200 is hard to beat

    on the design side, I like corel draw, but it's image tracing engine is messy, while inkscape uses open source tracing engines (POTRACE and AUTOTRACE I think), and autotrace is what I use, but how well that works is debatable and depends on the source image, you cannot just convert any old image to vectors with ease with any software. And corel does more than inkscape, so free is usually far from "perfect".

    I'd start with inkscape for free design (and tracing), and then get sheetcam for the arc fitting, and then work toward getting corel draw in the future.

    that's the free-est and perfect-est solution that I can think of at the moment....

    I'm planning to eventually get some tutorials going to explain all that better....
     
    Briteiz likes this.
  3. SeanP

    SeanP member

    Roles:
    • Plasma CuttingPlasma Cutting
    Brands:
    • Corel DrawCorel Draw, HyperThermHyperTherm, Adobe IllustratorAdobe Illustrator, Mach3Mach3, Adobe PhotoshopAdobe Photoshop, SheetCAMSheetCAM
    Location:
    Co Kerry, Ireland
    Some interesting stuff there Gary.

    I am still relatively new to all this, after a good while trying all the different dxf versions that corel produces into sheetcam many times I seem to have the odd stray line or a little corner nicked off, I first thought tweaking the drawing import options was the answer.
    But recently I started using the SVG format, I haven't had one bit of trouble using that format so far, arcs seem to load smooth as well.
    Is there any disadvantages you know of using SVG?

    Thanks
    Sean
     
  4. SignTorch

    SignTorch Artist

    Roles:
    • Vinyl CuttingVinyl Cutting, CNC RouterCNC Router, Designer / ArtistDesigner / Artist, Hobby / PersonalHobby / Personal
    Brands:
    • Corel DrawCorel Draw, Adobe PhotoshopAdobe Photoshop, V-Carve ProV-Carve Pro
    Location:
    Vidor, TX
    I've also noticed little odd conversion problems in sheetcam sometimes, which I think mainly happens when importing DXF with splines.

    SVG is great. It is equivalent to corel CMX/AI/EPS vector formats, which are roughly equivalent to splines. There's no disadvantage.

    The same goes for importing vectors into corel, CMX/AI/EPS/SVG and DXF with splines are true vector formats like corel is designed for. A DXF with segments is not smooth, and a DXF with arcs is not the same as the same curve in a true vector format, such that importing a standard DXF is a step backwards if the same image is available in CMX/AI/EPS/SVG or DXF with splines.

    Arcs are different than vectors because arcs curve at a constant rate (radius) and cannot change turn direction, so it can take a lot of small arcs to make an arbitrary curve, while vectors can flow from sharp to gentle curvature and change direction, so they can represent smoother flowing curves with much fewer curve segments.

    In the end, arcs are directly compatible with CNC gcode, vectors are not, so vectors are best for drawing and design, and arcs are only desirable for cnc when it comes time to cut. At which time, not only do you have to fit arcs to curves, but also apply kerf compensation and lead-ins and other cnc specific pre-processing, all of which vector graphics programs don't do, that's what CAM software does. So half of it is vector graphics, the other half is CAD/CAM/DXF issues, and mixing the two can lead to lots and lots of confusion and problems.

    A lot of people think they have to have or should be using DXF when they'd really be better off to avoid DXF altogether, with corel and sheetcam you don't ever actually need DXF, and CMX/AI/EPS/SVG are superior formats (for CNC art). So it tickles me how DXF has become so popular and so messed up at the same time....

    I love SVG because it is an open source text format (like DXF), and modern browsers can even display SVG files. Since inkscape (and corel) works with SVG, and sheetcam supports SVG, and my files come with SVG format, DXF is somewhat obsolete and over-rated. SVG can even have scripting, animation, user interactions, transparent colors and gradients, etc... DXF is good, but not that good...
     
    SeanP likes this.
  5. SeanP

    SeanP member

    Roles:
    • Plasma CuttingPlasma Cutting
    Brands:
    • Corel DrawCorel Draw, HyperThermHyperTherm, Adobe IllustratorAdobe Illustrator, Mach3Mach3, Adobe PhotoshopAdobe Photoshop, SheetCAMSheetCAM
    Location:
    Co Kerry, Ireland
    Sorry not to have any answers for Mike there but I'm sure you will have found Gary's info very useful there, I certainly did,,,,cheers again Gary.
     
  6. Dawgonhawg

    Dawgonhawg member

    Roles:
    • Plasma CuttingPlasma Cutting
    Brands:
    • Corel DrawCorel Draw, DynaTorchDynaTorch, HyperThermHyperTherm
    Location:
    Texas
    Gary do you use Corel with your drawing tablet? If so did you have to do ant setup with Corel? I can not get my function keys to work with x5.

    Dawg
     
  7. SignTorch

    SignTorch Artist

    Roles:
    • Vinyl CuttingVinyl Cutting, CNC RouterCNC Router, Designer / ArtistDesigner / Artist, Hobby / PersonalHobby / Personal
    Brands:
    • Corel DrawCorel Draw, Adobe PhotoshopAdobe Photoshop, V-Carve ProV-Carve Pro
    Location:
    Vidor, TX
    I did forget about your previous post of this question, but I won't forget this time, I just need to catch a break to check it out....
     
  8. Dawgonhawg

    Dawgonhawg member

    Roles:
    • Plasma CuttingPlasma Cutting
    Brands:
    • Corel DrawCorel Draw, DynaTorchDynaTorch, HyperThermHyperTherm
    Location:
    Texas
    No problem Gary. I appreciate all the help you have give me.

    Dawg
     
  9. SignTorch

    SignTorch Artist

    Roles:
    • Vinyl CuttingVinyl Cutting, CNC RouterCNC Router, Designer / ArtistDesigner / Artist, Hobby / PersonalHobby / Personal
    Brands:
    • Corel DrawCorel Draw, Adobe PhotoshopAdobe Photoshop, V-Carve ProV-Carve Pro
    Location:
    Vidor, TX
    -edit-

    In corel, sometimes, it might help to select all, then select all nodes, then right click on a node and hit break-apart, then export a dxf (with splines) for sheetcam

    however, sheetcam apparently will always misinterpret some dxf files with splines, so dxf with splines don't always work right in sheetcam....
     
  10. Dawgonhawg

    Dawgonhawg member

    Roles:
    • Plasma CuttingPlasma Cutting
    Brands:
    • Corel DrawCorel Draw, DynaTorchDynaTorch, HyperThermHyperTherm
    Location:
    Texas
    No hurry here Gary. I enjoy all your info and help you provide.

    Dawg
     
  11. SeanP

    SeanP member

    Roles:
    • Plasma CuttingPlasma Cutting
    Brands:
    • Corel DrawCorel Draw, HyperThermHyperTherm, Adobe IllustratorAdobe Illustrator, Mach3Mach3, Adobe PhotoshopAdobe Photoshop, SheetCAMSheetCAM
    Location:
    Co Kerry, Ireland
    That reads a bit clearer this morning Gary, I took a quick look last night retuning from a few beers..........oh gee :woot:

    It sounds interesting all right, I will give that method a try, good work and thanks for sharing.
     
  12. MikeSparks

    MikeSparks member

    ok so I've been using inkscape to try that file conversion. It gets it pretty close but it really is a friggen mess.... TOO many tiny vectors. Any one got an idea on how i can do some type of line/arc reduction. I got to get this one file into some clean Geo. It's for my "old man" and i wanted to have it done my fathers day but time is up on that.
     
  13. SignTorch

    SignTorch Artist

    Roles:
    • Vinyl CuttingVinyl Cutting, CNC RouterCNC Router, Designer / ArtistDesigner / Artist, Hobby / PersonalHobby / Personal
    Brands:
    • Corel DrawCorel Draw, Adobe PhotoshopAdobe Photoshop, V-Carve ProV-Carve Pro
    Location:
    Vidor, TX
    air_force_comm_badge~.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. SignTorch

    SignTorch Artist

    Roles:
    • Vinyl CuttingVinyl Cutting, CNC RouterCNC Router, Designer / ArtistDesigner / Artist, Hobby / PersonalHobby / Personal
    Brands:
    • Corel DrawCorel Draw, Adobe PhotoshopAdobe Photoshop, V-Carve ProV-Carve Pro
    Location:
    Vidor, TX
    Here's a video how I did that from start to finish, it's not so much what software I used, but how to use a combination of drawing, converting, and vector software to get from point A to point B with the least amount of time and trouble. It's not how to convert an image to vectors, it's how to convert an image to an image that is suitable for conversion to vectors. Easier said than done....

     
    MikeSparks and SeanP like this.
  15. MikeSparks

    MikeSparks member

    here we go, finished product. looks great i think.
    IMAG1769.
     
    SignTorch likes this.
  16. SignTorch

    SignTorch Artist

    Roles:
    • Vinyl CuttingVinyl Cutting, CNC RouterCNC Router, Designer / ArtistDesigner / Artist, Hobby / PersonalHobby / Personal
    Brands:
    • Corel DrawCorel Draw, Adobe PhotoshopAdobe Photoshop, V-Carve ProV-Carve Pro
    Location:
    Vidor, TX
    now that's interesting... it sure does look nice...
     
    MikeSparks likes this.

Share This Page