While intuitive software solutions and drawing tablets have made it much easier to create art digitally, many artists still find traditional mediums a better way to express their craft. There’s just something about the feel of pen-and-paper that makes drawing feel so much more natural. As such, many artists still prefer to do their drawing traditionally before digitizing them. If you create a lot of vector art, the Shaper Trace offers a fast and simple way to turn your physical sketches into SVG format.
Designed to make converting from sketch to vector as easy as possible, the mobile app can automatically save any physical drawing into SVG format by simply requiring you take a photo. That’s it. No need to cut an image or run a tracing app of any sort – just launch the app, take a pic, and you’ve got yourself a vector file you can send to any fabrication tool or import into a graphic design software.
The Shaper Trace actually comes with a physical component called the Trace Frame, which is a rectangular frame with dot markings on it. Before taking a photo of a physical drawing, you have to place the frame on top of the sketch, basically framing it. Do note, you will need to include the frame in the photo, as the app uses it to flatten the image, remove any perspective distortion, and reproduce the exact scale of the original drawing in the resulting vector output.
That’s right, you don’t have to take a perfect picture to get a perfect vector image, as the frame provides the necessary reference for the app. This means, you can take a photo of the sketch from an awkward angle and the app will still be able to recreate it when converting to vector format.
The Shaper Trace doesn’t just capture the outline of drawings like many trace tools out there, it can also create a vector of the centerline. That way, you get a lot more flexibility with the resulting vector image, allowing you to alter it in and integrate it into your digital projects in more creative ways. The app comes with editing tools that let you adjust a number of elements on the vector image, so you can make any desired changes before saving. This could really be useful if you’re sending the SVG file straight to a desktop CNC machine, as it spares you from having to edit it using another software. Conversions are done in a matter of seconds, by the way, so you can digitize an entire sketchbook in short order.
Seriously, this sounds like one of the best vector conversion options out there. We do wish the included frame is collapsible, so you can fold it into a small pile for taking along on the go. As it is, the frame is fixed and measures 13.3 x 9.8 x 0.2 inches, so you’ll have to slip it in your bag any time you want to bring it anywhere.
A Kickstarter campaign is currently running for Shaper Trace. You can reserve a unit for pledges starting at $99.