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 Adding bitmaps to PCB
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John Baraclough

United Kingdom
129 Posts

Posted - 26 Nov 2013 :  00:46:14  Show Profile  Visit John Baraclough's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I have spent the last two frustrating hours trying to import a company logo to the top copper layer of a PCB layout as a bitmap file.

The first problem was that Easy PC doesn't recognise the .tif format produced by Paint Shop Pro although passing the file through Irfanview and resaving does work.

Now I can import a file and it can be seen on the PDF and printer outputs but doesn't appear in the Gerber files.

I have set the tif file to 1-bit black on white. Waht do I have to do to get it to be plotted on the Gerber output?

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Birthdays are good for you: the more you have, the longer you live ... and I've had lots of them so I should know!

Mike Warren

Australia
121 Posts

Posted - 26 Nov 2013 :  00:59:22  Show Profile  Visit Mike Warren's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I've never been able to get that to work, either, but I haven't put a great deal of time into it.


http://mike-warren.net
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edrees

United Kingdom
769 Posts

Posted - 26 Nov 2013 :  09:27:06  Show Profile  Visit edrees's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Bitmaps are not vector graphics and so are incompatible with PCB layout. However, Iain Wilkie has reported elsewhere on a method to create TrueType Fonts from bitmaps and these can be imported. Check out Iain's thread elsewhere on this Forum.

Found it here,-
http://www.numberone.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=596&SearchTerms=bitmap

Edited by - edrees on 26 Nov 2013 09:30:29
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Mike Warren

Australia
121 Posts

Posted - 26 Nov 2013 :  09:44:32  Show Profile  Visit Mike Warren's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the heads-up. Corel Draw has an export to TrueType function that I just tried and it works for me.

http://mike-warren.net
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John Baraclough

United Kingdom
129 Posts

Posted - 26 Nov 2013 :  10:16:36  Show Profile  Visit John Baraclough's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks edrees & Mike. I don't have Corel draw but it's possible that Paint Shop Pro will have a True-type font export feature, I'll have a look. If not I'll need to explore the freebie programs on the web.

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Birthdays are good for you: the more you have, the longer you live ... and I've had lots of them so I should know!
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John Baraclough

United Kingdom
129 Posts

Posted - 26 Nov 2013 :  11:03:31  Show Profile  Visit John Baraclough's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Well it looks as though Paint Shop Pro can't do this. A bit of Googling has turned up Gimp and Fontforge as a possible solution, so I'll have to look at that.

It does seem rather strange that Easy PC will import a bitmap to a copper layer but it can't be included in the Gerber files. Personally I feel that feature should either work or be removed. The current half-hearted implementation is a waste of everyone's time.

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Birthdays are good for you: the more you have, the longer you live ... and I've had lots of them so I should know!
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Mike Warren

Australia
121 Posts

Posted - 26 Nov 2013 :  13:22:15  Show Profile  Visit Mike Warren's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by John Baraclough

Well it looks as though Paint Shop Pro can't do this. A bit of Googling has turned up Gimp and Fontforge as a possible solution, so I'll have to look at that.



If you only need one or 2 done, I'm happy to convert them for you. Just email the bitmaps to me.

http://mike-warren.net
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John Baraclough

United Kingdom
129 Posts

Posted - 26 Nov 2013 :  14:28:12  Show Profile  Visit John Baraclough's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Mike,

Thanks for the offer, but there may be quite a few of these at intervals.

I've done a front panel layout for a public domain theatre comms system and I suspect that all of the companies who build this system will want their own logo on the panel once they know it's possible; so, I need to find a local solution.

So far I have found an online PNG to SVG converter at:

http://www.autotracer.org/

I've also downloaded Gimp, but it looks a bit like bloatware!

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Birthdays are good for you: the more you have, the longer you live ... and I've had lots of them so I should know!
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John Baraclough

United Kingdom
129 Posts

Posted - 27 Nov 2013 :  09:48:40  Show Profile  Visit John Baraclough's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Just to update this, I have found Inkscape and (although it's a bit flaky) it will create an SVG font file which, in turn, can be converted to a TrueType or OpenType font with one of several online converters. Once I can get Easy PC to find the font it appears to work OK.

I found this link very useful:

http://cleversomeday.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/inkscape-dingbats.pdf

especially the empty SVG font file which can be downloaded as a starting point. The hardest part is creating the SVG images from bitmaps as the Inkscape process doesn't always work and online converters fail too. If anyone knows of a good method of converting a bitmap file to an SVG file I would be pleased to hear about it.

It's a bit tedious and takes about half a day to produce one logo, however it does work whereas the "Add Bitmap" feature of Easy PC clearly doesn't.

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Birthdays are good for you: the more you have, the longer you live ... and I've had lots of them so I should know!

Edited by - John Baraclough on 27 Nov 2013 09:49:40
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edrees

United Kingdom
769 Posts

Posted - 27 Nov 2013 :  10:26:02  Show Profile  Visit edrees's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thank you John for sharing this with us. It never ceases to amaze me why we Engineers have to be expert at so many disciplines to get our job done. I'd never thought that the theory of tracing bimap objects into vector format would ever be of use to me, but there I stand corrected.

The problem of importing of Bitmaps into EPC has been known for so long now, and EPC have just dismissed it as "incompatible" formats. I believe it was introduced in ~ V12/13 as a "major new feature" but never actually worked effectively. OK for PDF/Windows "documentation"outputs but not for Gerbers.

Every year, EPC invite suggestions for product enhancements from us users, but they only seem to incorporate the "easy" ones. Just look at the relatively trivial "enhancements" we've been offered over the last few years. Although, some would argue that the Product is now "saturated", the facility to import Bitmaps properly without using half a dozen third party "freeware" programs, would be deemed a considerable enhancement to the Product. In this day and age, corporate logos are very important and it could even be argued that importing bitmaps would be an essential feature of any "professional" PC layout product. Come on EPC do the job properly please!
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Iain Wilkie

United Kingdom
1011 Posts

Posted - 27 Nov 2013 :  12:44:37  Show Profile  Visit Iain Wilkie's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I fully endorse Ed's comments.

Iain
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John Baraclough

United Kingdom
129 Posts

Posted - 29 Nov 2013 :  12:00:17  Show Profile  Visit John Baraclough's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I have now perfected the process of incorporating bit map images into a TrueType font to add bitmaps to a PCB layout file and thought you might like to know how it's done.

Inkscape can be used to edit an SVG font file and there are several online converters to create a TrueType or OpenType file from an SVG file. This document is a good starting point:

http://cleversomeday...pe-dingbats.pdf

... but has one important step missing! However, the blank SVG font file referred to in the first paragraph is a really good starting point.

Here's a quick rundown of the process which worked for me:

1. Make a copy of "fontstarter.svg" file with the filename you want use.

2. Start Inkscape and open the new file.

3. Click on the "Text>SVG Font Editor" tab.

4. Import any graphic into the image window and resize to give the best fit. (A width of around 1000 pixels works best for the default 1024 setting).

5. Click on the "Path>Trace Bitmap" tab.

6. Press F2 or click the second button on the left-hand task bar ("Edit paths by nodes"). Move your mouse over the image until you see the outlines highlighted in red then left-click to highlight them. This is the step missing from the instructions above.

7. Select the "Glyphs" tab on the SVG editor palette.

8. Select the glyph you want to use for this character.

9. Click the "Get curves from selection" button.

10. Type the character you have just updated into the preview bar and you should see your new image appear above it.

11. Delete the image and the vector trace from the image window and repeat steps 4 to 10 above until you have all the required images.

12. Repeat steps 4 to 10 again, choosing the image you would like to fill all the empty characters, but this time use the "Missing Glyph: From Selection" button.

13. Follow steps 11 to 13 in the above document to edit the internal name of the font and any other XML parameters.

14. Save the file and exit Inkscape.

15. Go to "http://www.freefontconverter.com/", upload your SVG file, save the resultant "ttf" file and install your font.

Job done.

CAVEAT: Please be aware that this simplified process doesn't do anything about kerning or character spacing, so you are advised that using more than a single character from the new font may lead to problems in documents. It works fine for using a single character in Easy PC!

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Birthdays are good for you: the more you have, the longer you live ... and I've had lots of them so I should know!
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Iain Wilkie

United Kingdom
1011 Posts

Posted - 04 Mar 2014 :  16:43:58  Show Profile  Visit Iain Wilkie's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Just revisited all this as I had to get a logo onto a board. This time what I did was convert the supplied bitmap into a DXF file using FAB3000 ... there will be other free convertors out there that can do this I am sure. Then I imported the DXF with the scaling I needed on to the silk screen layer. In my particular case the dxf was made up of tiny little boxes so I just selected the whole thing and on the properties clicked the filled box and all good.
Generated gerbers and the logo is there !
Quick and effective solution.

Iain
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edrees

United Kingdom
769 Posts

Posted - 04 Dec 2021 :  14:12:58  Show Profile  Visit edrees's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Number One has been somewhat reluctant to provide a bitmap to vector conversion facility, but I've just come across KICAD (which is a free comprehensive PCB/Schematic CAD package) "Bitmap to Component Convertor" feature.

Come on Number One, -its about time you provided us with a similar feature!

TIA
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Peter Johnson

United Kingdom
493 Posts

Posted - 14 Jun 2022 :  11:42:23  Show Profile  Visit Peter Johnson's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Having imported your DXF, select both the inner and outer shapes of any hollow letters, etc using <Shift+Click> on the first and <Shift +Ctrl+Click> on the second. With both selected, right click and select [Make Cutout] which will make the inner shape a cutout of the outer. Now when you set the filled flag, the inner shape will remain clear.
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