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Archive for the ‘clker.com’ Category

Updated svg edit – much better performance

Monday, February 7th, 2011

I just updated the svg edit with a more recent version. Actually, after a lot of testing I found that the current trunk version has fewer bugs and way better performance than v2.5 . As far as clker’s application is concerned, we are much happier with the trunk.

An example is editing auto traced images. There is a significant improvement in the selection performance, a very notable one. You will find a grid control as well and the main menu changed a little bit. The older bug that forced the icons to smaller was fixed as well. IE9 now works without chrome frame plugin. Right click context menu shows copy/paste functions as well.

Things that I hope svg edit will add:

1. Run external plugins: If svg edit gets hosted let’s say at google, and another website loads it just like jquery, there should be a means for loading plugins without resorting to editing the code of svg edit. This can be accomplished by ajax call that adds a <script> tag.

2. Using the default web fonts instead of serif and sans. So I hope that the Arial, courier new and the other set of web fonts are the standard in svg edit instead of sans and serif.

Professional graphics designers: Now you can show it on your profile

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

We just released a new feature that allows professional graphics designers to show two things:

1. It allows you to indicate on your profile that you are a professional graphics designer. The work “PRO” will then appear beside your name every where on clker, including the community activity on the homepage and on all your uploaded clipart pages.

2. If you are a professional, you may now select another option on your profile that indicates whether or not you may accept projects from other clker users (for a fee). Clker will not involved in any agreements and does not plan to to nor will be compensated. If you get a big project it’s yours – we’re happy for you.

The opposite is true. Now if you need help designing your website or your fliers, look for those blue buttons beside clker user. See their uploaded images and talk with them.

The reason we released this feature is the numerous emails and requests from people who have projects and are looking for a professional designer. Unfortunately, I don’t do that.

Look soon for another feature that will even help professional graphics designers and seekers more :) .

Image editor now works on Internet Explorer

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Just solved some problems with the editor and internet explorer, now it works without problems as long as the chrome frame is installed. So now, every one can edit SVG.

Draw edit the SVG images online

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Now you can draw new SVGs online on clker.com, thanks to svg-edit. This tool can edit the existing SVGs or be used to create a new SVG image from scratch. I disabled editing using IE due to buggy behavior, but the edit functionality works almost fine in chrome, safari, firefox and opera.

Now, you can upload a raster image to be vectorized then edit it and remove unwanted regions all online on clker.com ! .

Happy designing and editing :)

Where to find good old public domain images?

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

In case you wanted to test the automatic vectorization feature on clker, one possible way is to capture your own images using your digital camera and that’s a very easy process. However, a quick and easier solution would be to use a readily available public domain image. Images that are on the internet by default are copyright protected so you can’t grab an image from anywhere and “think” that it is public domain just because its owner did not say it is copyright protected. Some good sources of public domain images are:

1. My best source is wikimedia.org. They have around 47000 images that are public domain in the US in this category ( http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:PD_US ). Most of those images comply with the upload policy of clker.com , some don’t.

2. The library of congress ( http://www.loc.gov/library/libarch-digital.html ). You have to be careful with that one and read the rights of every collection. Many images are dated before 1923, and most of those are public domain as long as they were actually published before 1923 ( you need to read the date on the description as well ).

3. US Government websites:

a. National cancer institue ( http://visualsonline.cancer.gov/ ): Some images here are in public domain, others are not so you need to read the rights under every image carefully.

b. US military websites: http://www.armymedicine.army.mil/news/photos/photos-new.cfm http://search.ahp.us.army.mil/search/images/?search= http://www.carlisle.army.mil/AHEC/mediagallery/photoGalleryList.cfm and lots of others. On google search for “site:.mil photo gallery” and you will get a lot of hits.

Generally for all gov and mil websites, if the picture is taken by a government photographer it is in public domain. However, if the image contains people currently alive, those people can request that their image be deleted. If the picture contains living or dead actors, then either them or their heirs can do the same. So if you are testing, keep your choices confined to photos of things and animals, and actually there are tons of those.

I also recommend renaming the files before uploading them with a more relevant title. Images with names SDC002123.jpg gives clker no clues about what the image contains, and does not help us to automatically classify the image. However, if the image is named giraffe_in_zoo.jpg that will actually help clker more to categorize the image.

Have fun vectorizing on clker.

Developing clip arts using old public domain images

Friday, May 28th, 2010

TAt clker.com, we have been adding newer tools that help artists as well as non-artist develop vector illustrations. The most recent tool that we added is a fully automated vectorization tool that vectorizes any high definition photo the user uploads. In our experiments, this automated vectorization tool produced the best results on images of objects with white background, or illustration images with few colors.

We will show a complete example of how to use the output of this tool together with inkscape (from inkscape.org) to produce an illustration image ( clip art ).

(a) Original

(b) Vectorized

(c) Clip art

Figure 1

The original image that was vectorized is an image of a japanese woman sewing. The image was obtained from the library of congress (http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/jpd.02680). In Figure 1, picture (a) is the original picture. The original picture needs to be at least 0.7 mega pixel and the recommended size is 1 Mega pixel. If the picture resolution is higher than 1 Mega pixel, clker will reduce the size just during vectorization, and that helps with noise reduction.

Picture (b) is the automatically vectorized version. You will notice that when you click the SVG link the picture actually gets rendered in chrome/firefox/opera as SVG.

The third picture, which is the clip art illustration was obtained from (b) using inkscape. The picture was edited and the background was deleted. The Fluorescent color filter was applied to enhance the colors a little bit and the result was uploaded to clker. Producing (c) from (b) is a manual process because a human being is needed, who understands the picture.

(a) Original

(b) Vectorized

(c) Clip art, cleaned with inkscape

Figure (2)

Other examples include the “Lady talking in the phone” in Figure 2. The same exact process was applied. Picture (a) was uploaded with a resolution higher than 1 Mega pixel. After a little bit clker.com vectorized it and (b) was there. The SVG version of (b) was downloaded locally on my computer and edited with inkscape. All the objects around the lady were deleted and left the lady and the phone.

In both those examples the original picture was an illustration and the success rate when dealing with an illustration is higher than photographic images.

An example of a clip art that was generated from photographic image is shown in Figure 3.

(a) Original

(b) Vectorized

(c) Clipart cleaned with inkscape

The same procedure was applied. However, one has to keep in mind that in photographic images there are lots of gradients, and so the edges of the vectorized version will not be crisp clear and the images might need more work to clean up compared to vectorized illustrations.

Automatic vectorization is up and working

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Automatic vectorization is up and working. Upload an image of at least 0.5 megapixel and after a little while you should see a vectorized version in your profile.

I got best results with images larger than 1 megapixel. The website service will automatically resize it in case it was larger than 1MP down to 1MP. Try to edit the picture before uploading and add any effects you want like an oval or heart shaped crop.

Soon, I will add another interface by which users can request custom trace or to retrace an image that has been already vectorized before.

It already started generating some pictures, and I already see some errors esp. with alpha channel png files, so stick with full color ones for now :) . I’ll go to sleep now, and tomorrow I will write a detailed post.

Send feedback whenever possible.

Integrating the tracer

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

SI had some delays due to unscheduled projects that were done in my home. I’m just starting to gain control of my time again, together with the schedule of contractors. That pushed my two weeks off. Now, the tracer can produce outlines. They are not amazing, but some times they enhance the traced image. An example is this hot dog sandwich:

This is one example that I think edges produced good results. The thickness of the edge will vary with its position and my objective was to make it appear as brush strokes, which are thin at the start, and tapers off at the end of the line. Other examples which I think that it did not produce good results is the Hillary Clinton image.

So it seems that with simple images, the outline will produce better results, while with complicated images it will not. I will start integrating the tracer with clker form today, and will default its operation to trace without producing outlines. We will also allow every user to change their default behavior for the tracer. Watch for another blog post withing the next couple of days.

Automatic vectorization, coming soon to clker.com

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

Automatic tracing of uploaded photos is one important feature coming to clker.com . I will describe briefly how far we reached, and what I hope to accomplish within the next few days until it is released.

First off, let me outline the benefits and draw backs of auto tracing. The obvious biggest benefit is no human work is put into the segmentation and vectorization process. However, it has been proven in lots of domains that when two humans segment the same picture their result will have approx. 80-85% common areas. This means that humans will disagree about the segmentation of the same image in about 15% of the image itself. That’s because the way our brain interprets an image depends on every persons own understanding and knowledge of the contents image, and that can vary a lot. Even when the human segmentation results are in a very specific context like brain segmentation, and done by radiologists the comparison between the similarity between their results was between 83-87% using a similarity measure similar to the Jaccard index. So the disadvantage of automatic segmentation is that if we were able to reach the perfect algorithm to segment an image, the user will always have around 15-20% disagreement with its result.

The results that I will show here are based on this helicopter image (also shown on the top). There are several parameters used as the inputs to the segmentation program. Most of those will either be selected by us to provide good results in average, or passed through clker’s interface in a more humanly understandable fashion. The image was reduced in size to approximately 1 mega pixel before processing.

Those two images are direct output of the vectorizing program without any modifications. The difference between them is the number of regions in each. In the image on the right, we attempted to reduce the number of resulting segments, which can help greatly especially if the user plans on editing the image after.

To see how hard it is to produce a clip art out of this segmentation, I tried to edit the image on the left (the one with larger number of segments) and delete all the sky regions. It took me around a minute to do so, just select and delete and the result is below:

However, some people will not perceive this image as a clip art. One reason is the lack of hard outlines around the object when compared to an image like the deck officer here . The other reason is the number of regions is way smaller. I will be spending the next couple of days trying to get some borders up and hopefully we’ll get some good results.

I imagine now two ways to have this feature up. The first one once you upload a raster image, clker will work on vectorizing it then you will get an email with a link to the vectorized version. The other way (which will come later in time) will be requesting a custom segmentation with the ability to adjust some of the parameters like for example requesting smaller number of regions, or different types of color enhancement including equalization, white balance correction ..etc.

Hopefully this will be running on clker by Monday next week.

Updated clker interface

Friday, February 19th, 2010

We released a new clker interface on Wed. The new interface has white as it’s main background less colors with blue being the main focus. Some of the elements & buttons are currently being worked on to follow the same theme. The new interface is not colorish like the old one, as we learned from users that too many colors become distracting and interfere with the images that are already colored.

We redesigned the home page and reduced tons of clutter. An improved version will be released soon that will give larger space for the community updates.

I would like to thank both sciweavers.org & Florian with Das Elektronik Lexikon for valuable insights and reviews during the process.

Keep your eyes on clker for new features released within the next couple of weeks. Those are definitely worth watching (I’m not going to say what they are now ;) ).

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