Edge Detection with Inkscape

Inkscape is a great open source drawing tool that can be thought of as an opens source alternative to Adobe Illustrator. It is perfect for making drawings, models, flyers, and pretty much any other type of graphic design. A pretty neat feature is the edge detection algorithm that it uses in order to draw lines around an image which allows you to modify different parts of the image without having to manually trace it. I wanted to color in a map of the United States to see all of the states that I have been in. This is a pretty simple task, but if I had to trace each individual state it would have been a nightmare. This short tutorial will show you how to take advantage of this powerful feature. Before we get started make sure you have Inkscape installed. If you are using a mac like me, be sure to have XQuartz installed before you try to install Inkscape.

  1. Fire up Inkscape and open the image that you want to edit. If you want to color in the map of US with me, you can use this picture.
  2. Make sure that the image is selected and go to Path –> Trace Bitmap 
  3. Your image is now traced and you can color in whatever parts you like without having to worry about the colors bleeding over.
This handy and easy to use function of Inkscape makes it easy to work with images and color them in without having to worry about tracing them manually.
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