Potrace is a utility for tracing a bitmap, which means that the pixel image is converted into a smooth, scalable image. The original image can be of the formats PBM, PGM, PPM or BMP format, output format, default is EPS (Encapsulated PostScript), with additional options you can specify another format (PDF, SVG, DXF, PGM, PostScript, GeoJSON, Gimppath and XFig).
Without special programs of drawing, you can do the following: take a raster editor like GIMP, resize the image using the best smoothing method and then add a selective blur. Most often it does not give satisfactory results.
The renderer (trace) like potrace accept the input bitmap and creating an image in SVG format. potrace even supports output to PDF.
Example command line:
potrace -s image.bmp
Potrace gives very good results for many images. If the input image has sharp elements, potrace passes them, while the expensive proprietary software gives poor results, smoothing the edges; it took a lot of manual editing.
Potrace advantages relative to other programs:
- very good results
- works pretty quickly
- easily run from the command line you can call from the free vector graphics package Inkscape (by menu command "Path / Trace Bitmap" or Shift+Alt+B).
- produces only monochrome images
Installation into Linux Mint:
sudo apt-get install potrace
Remove from Linux Mint:
sudo apt-get remove potrace