Basic information on tracing in SCAL 2.0

Another new feature in SCAL 2.0 is the autotrace.  You can import images (bmp, jpg, gif, png, etc) directly into SCAL and trace them there.  With SCAL 2.0 open, either click on the “Trace Image” button at the top of the SCAL window, or from the menu select File/Trace Image.

SCAL trace 01

The autotrace dialog box appears.  Click on the “Browse” button to select the image you want to trace.  There are five settings you can either adjust or select to optimize your trace.

SCAL trace 02

  1. Brightness
    This adjusts what the trace will include and what it will ignore.
  2. Corner
    This adjusts how the corners are treated.
  3. Despeckle
    Use this setting if you have an image with stray dots and specks.  The larger the number the larger the spots it will remove.
  4. Optimize
    I believe this is like “Smoothing” in Inkscape.  If checked it gives smoother lines with less nodes.
  5. Break Apart Outlines
    Check this if  you would like to do some basic editing after you trace.  It will put each separate shape or line into  its own layer in the trace folder.  The layers can be moved, deleted, or hidden just like a layered svg.

You can use the Preview button to see the effect of any changes you made to the settings.  Click OK when you like the results.

Click here for a more in-depth look into the Brightness settings.


11 Responses to Basic information on tracing in SCAL 2.0

  1. I have Windows 10 on my PC and I have SCAL2 and Inkscape downloaded. I have hooked up my Cricut Expression 2 with the USB cable and I can’t get it to cut. It updated from the Cricut website fine and I can use it with Cricut Craftroom but I have things I want to cut that I designed myself. I would like to cut out other things that are not Cricut designs. Any suggestions??? Thanks in advance!

    • HeatherM says:

      Hi Mary Beth,
      Unfortunately the Expression 2 will only work with Provo Craft products and not any other programs like SCAL/MTC. Also, if you purchased your copy of SCAL2 after May 2011 it isn’t a legal copy and you should ask for your money back.

  2. dawnmercedes says:

    When I trace, my print layer and cut layer are two different sizes. What can I do to correct this?

    • imagesbyheatherm says:

      What program are you tracing in? If you are tracing in Inkscape, the best fix is to place a box around your trace that is the same size as the image without moving the trace or the image (use a fill and no stroke for correct sizing). Use the alignment tools in Inkscape to align the box with the original image. When you import the svg and place the image in SCAL make them both the same size and align them, then delete or hide the extra box that was used for alignment.

      Unfortunately there is no easy fix for tracing in the current versions of SCAL3/eCAL if there is white space around your image. You can make a black border around your image in an image program before tracing so that you have a size reference. Otherwise the only other option that I know of is to eyeball the size and placement of the image and trace.

      • dawnmercedes says:

        thanks for replying. I had also contacted CraftEdge and apparently there is a glitch in the software (eCAL) which they are working on. I will give your suggest a go!

  3. Alysia says:

    Once upon a time I subscribed to
    I downloaded several pdf files she created for paper piecing. I thought it would be very cool to cut these using SCAL 2. I opened the pdf and saved as a jpg. I used SCAL 2 to trace it. When the image appeared in SCAL, all of the pieces had an outline around them. I had to go to each piece and individually erase the outlines. Did I do something wrong? Does this make sense?

    • imagesbyheatherm says:

      Hi Alysia,

      The sample file at their website is a vector PDF with closed shapes. I opened it in Inkscape and saved as SVG and it imported into SCAL2 just as it was. If you want to separate it by color, you can do that either in Inkscape or SCAL2. See this post for more on working with PDF files in Inkscape.

      When you trace a line (either in SCAL2 or Inkscape), both sides of the line are traced.

      • Alysia says:

        Thank you Heather. You are always so helpful and I love your tutorials. They really do help a technologically challenged person like myself find my way around software.

  4. Jan says:

    Thank you for this info. I just learned how to make a svg from a template.
    Your the best teacher

  5. Sarah Wunderlich says:

    I can get everything traced beautifully, and have selected break apart outlines before hitting OK…but how do I separate the layers? Everything I do does nothing. Any help is greatly appreciated!

    • imagesbyheatherm says:

      If you just want to hide or delete pieces, first make sure that the layers window is visible. If it isn’t, from the menu select Window/Workspace/Advanced. When the layers window is visible, look for a triangle next to the file name in the layers window. Click on the triangle to show the layers. You can hide pieces by closing the eyes.

      If you want to delete or move pieces, the easiest way is to select the trace, then from the menu select Object/Ungroup. This will allow you to select individual pieces on the virtual mat to move them or delete them.

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