Adobe Streamline 4

[Corel DRAW X3] >>
[DrawPlus 8]
[Xara Xtreme]
[Canvas X] >>
[Corel Designer 12] >>
[Illustrator CS2] >>

[Canvas X] >>
[Corel Designer 12] >>
[Corel DRAW X3] >>
[DrawPlus 8]
[Expression 3]
[FreeHand MX] >>
[Illustrator CS2] >>
[Real Draw Pro 3]
[SketchUp 4]
[Vector Studio 2]
[Xara Xtreme]

[Adobe-Macromedia]
[Live Trace / Paint]
[Creative Roundup]
[3D to 2D]
[Corel or Not?]
[2D to 3D]
[Creative Suite]
[Illustrator Plug-ins]
[Data-Driven Design]
[Apps Round Up]
[Bitmap Vectors]
[SVG Format]
[Vector Brushes]
[Bug Hunting]
[Vector Transparency]
[Understanding EPS]
[CorelDraw Tutorial]

 


[Home / What's New]
[DTP / Publishing]
[Vector Drawing]
[Bitmap / Photo Editing]
[Web Design]
[3D Software]
[All Reviews]
[All Articles / Tutorials]
[Book Search / Shop]
[Site Map / Search]
[Contact]
 

you can help support the site with a direct donation or by shopping via the following links:

[Amazon.com]
[Amazon.co.uk]
[Amazon.ca]

Thank you!

 

 

A dedicated but simple tracing program that helps the user throughout the conversion process.

Adobe Streamline 4

Streamline is a tracing program for converting scanned bitmaps into vector artwork. Most similar programs, such as Corel Trace, tend to be bundled as an extra utility within a full drawing suite but Streamline is promoted as a standalone. So what does it offer that makes it stand out? The real difference is that it takes a dedicated approach from start to finish. With the utility programs, tracing tends to be a hit-and-run affair - it either works or it doesn't. Streamline recognises that successful tracing is built up through a three-stage process of preparation, conversion and tidying up.

The reason that most tracing jobs fail is the quality of the original bitmap. The software doesn't have human intelligence so every pixel is treated equally. If there are scratches or dirt on the image, or lines are broken that are meant to be continuous, that's exactly what you'll get in the vector representation. Likewise with colour. While it might be obvious to you that all the slightly different shades of a particular colour should be treated as one solid area, the program can't know this and so will produce multiple separate objects.

Streamline offers a range of bitmap editing tools to solve these problems. The pencil and eraser tools allow noise to be removed and lines to be filled in, while the lasso and marquee selection tools allow marked areas of the image to be given a uniform fill. More significantly, the magic wand tool allows all the pixels that fall within a customisable colour tolerance to be selected either locally or throughout the whole image so that they can then be filled. Another nice feature is the ability to restrict the conversion process to named custom colours and tints that you define.

When the bitmap has been prepared, it is ready for converting. There are a whole host of secondary settings such as line weight and line tolerance that can be fine-tuned to each particular image, but there are just three main conversion options: outline, centreline and line recognition. Outline is the most common method and is used on images like logos and photographs that contain filled areas. Centreline is used on images like architectural blue prints that are built up of uniform lines, and line recognition is a variation on the theme that is useful for forms and charts as it only picks up vertical and horizontal lines.

What makes Streamline special is that the different methods can be used together. If multiple check boxes are selected, Streamline makes multiple passes first looking for straight lines, then uniform lines and then shapes. This combined approach can be ideal, but often different areas of an image would benefit from different settings. Streamline deals with cases like these, such as a regular form with an irregular logo in the corner, by allowing the user to select separate sections for processing and then automatically combining the results.

The success of Streamline's conversion process is clear if it is set to trace a full colour photograph. Each colour is processed separately then intelligently combined with all paths matched to each other to produce as continuous and realistic an image as possible. Even with such an engine, however, the results are often not quite what you want, particularly with more regular artwork like converted logos. For these cases, Streamline offers various post-processing options. Whole paths can be automatically smoothed or converted to regular shapes while individual nodes can be added, deleted or edited with the various anchor point tools.

Streamline is by no means perfect. The single bitmap and vector window is a severe limitation, there are no options for rotating artwork and there are none of the OCR and conversion effects that other tracing utilities offer. However, in its dedicated concentration on the job in hand, Streamline really does stand alone.

Ease of Use

5

Features

5

Value for Money

4

Overall

5

ratings out of 6

Tom Arah

July 1998


Hopefully you've found the information you were looking for. For further information please click here.

For free trials and special offers please click the following recommended links:

For further information on the following design applications and subjects please click on the links below:

[3D], [3ds max], [Adobe], [Acrobat], [Cinema 4D], [Corel], [CorelDRAW], [Creative Suite], [Digital Image], [Dreamweaver], [Director], [Fireworks], [Flash], [FreeHand], [FrameMaker], [FrontPage], [GoLive], [Graphic Design], [HTML/CSS], [Illustrator], [InDesign], [Macromedia], [Macromedia Studio], [Microsoft], [NetObjects Fusion], [PageMaker], [Paint Shop Pro], [Painter], [Photo Editing], [PhotoImpact], [Photoshop], [Photoshop Elements], [Publisher], [QuarkXPress], [Web Design]

To continue your search on the designer-info.com site and beyond please use the Google and Amazon search boxes below:

Google
Web designer-info.com

       
designer-info.com: independent, informed, intelligent, incisive, in-depth...
 


All the work on the site (over 250 reviews, over 100 articles and tutorials) has been written by me, Tom Arah It's also me who maintains the site, answers your emails etc. The site is very popular and from your feedback I know it's a useful resource - but it takes a lot to keep it up.

You can help keep the site running, independent and free by Bookmarking the site (if you don't you might never find it again), telling others about it and by coming back (new content is added every month). Even better you can make a donation eg $5 the typical cost of just one issue of a print magazine or buy anything via Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk (now or next time you feel like shopping) using these links or the designer-info.com shop - it's a great way of quickly finding the best buys, it costs you nothing and I gain a small but much-appreciated commission.

Thanks very much, Tom Arah


 
[DTP/Publishing] [Vector Drawing] [Bitmap/Photo] [Web] [3D]
[Articles/Tutorials]
[Reviews/Archive] [Shop]  [Home/What's New]

Copyright 1995-2005, Tom Arah, Designer-Info.com. Please get in contact to let me know what you think about a particular piece or the site in general.