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See-through layer?
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* December 21, 2009, 01:52:08 PM
I have a map that I made in TurboCAD. I'd now like to overlay it with a set of topographic contour lines that I can output as  a pdf from a mapping program. I can easily convert the pdf to a clipboard image (or to a jpg, etc.). However, if I place that on my TCAD drawing, it will blot everything out, because the white spaces between the lines will be opaque. What is a good way to convert that image (basically a line drawing) to a vector image or something that I can “see through” between the lines—so the lines show on the map, but the map also still shows?

THANKS!
Tom

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* December 21, 2009, 09:12:54 PM
#1
I have a map that I made in TurboCAD. I'd now like to overlay it with a set of topographic contour lines that I can output as  a pdf from a mapping program. I can easily convert the pdf to a clipboard image (or to a jpg, etc.). However, if I place that on my TCAD drawing, it will blot everything out, because the white spaces between the lines will be opaque. What is a good way to convert that image (basically a line drawing) to a vector image or something that I can “see through” between the lines—so the lines show on the map, but the map also still shows?

THANKS!
Tom


Edited...

I really hope there's a better way, but I just tested this and it seems to work...
Insert the image into TCad and convert the lines to vector objects. (I used Tools|Trace.) Save the vectorized lines from TCad in .EPS format and close the drawing. Open that .EPS file in a new drawing (which will probably open in Paperspace); select the linework and copy it (Ctrl+C). You can now paste (Ctrl+V) into either the Modelspace or the Paperspace of as a new drawing. You can insert, paste, or XRef it into any other open TCad drawing -- either an existing drawing or an empty new one. If you Group the new insertion, you'll be able to move, rotate, or rescale it like any conventional 2D object.

Henry H
« Last Edit: December 22, 2009, 09:01:31 AM by Henry Hubich »

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* December 22, 2009, 06:45:48 AM
#2
I have a map that I made in TurboCAD. I'd now like to overlay it with a set of topographic contour lines that I can output as  a pdf from a mapping program. I can easily convert the pdf to a clipboard image (or to a jpg, etc.). However, if I place that on my TCAD drawing, it will blot everything out, because the white spaces between the lines will be opaque. What is a good way to convert that image (basically a line drawing) to a vector image or something that I can “see through” between the lines—so the lines show on the map, but the map also still shows?


If your mapping program allows you to output the image as a gif file, do that and select white to be the transparent layer.  If the program does not allow this, then output it as a jpg and use an image editor such as IrfanView (freeware and very good) to do the conversion with white as the transparent color.  The selection of the color to be transparent is made as one of the options during the output process.

I have used this technique to import images with a transparent background into other programs but I haven't tried it yet on TC.

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* December 23, 2009, 05:07:04 AM
#3
Henry,

Thanks for the tip. However, I wasn't able to vectorize this particular image very well--possibly because of the faint colors and/or the close, curvy lines. Here it is in case you care to try.

Thanks again
Tom

[attachment deleted by admin]

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* December 23, 2009, 05:16:01 AM
#4
Thanks to you too, Frank, but no luck so far. My Photoshop Elements doesn't seem to be set up to create transparent colors, but my son used a program he had to do that. However, when I inserted it into TurboCAD as a picture, it came out opaque. Was that the correct way to do it? Could it be that TurboCAD doesn't support this feature of transparency?

Thanks again
Tom

(Here's the file my son made.)

[attachment deleted by admin]

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* December 23, 2009, 06:28:41 AM
#5
I think this may be of help.  I took the image you posted and in Photofiltre I was able to convent the varying tints of magenta to black using a "replace color" option.  Then I was able to trace the image fairly well in TurboCad.  Strangely, the trace depended very strongly on how closely you zoomed in on the image.  I found it necessary to start one corner of the trace selection rectangle, zoom in so that the entire image didn't fit on the screen, and then select the second corner.  I have no experience with the trace tool options and I am sure the result could be improved.  The modified .png and .tcw with the trace are attached.

Joem

[attachment deleted by admin]

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* December 23, 2009, 07:06:30 AM
#6
Many thanks for your efforts, JoeM. I may just end up using your image.

Actually, though, I kind of wanted to retain the colored shading. Since this will be overlaid on a map with a lot of other info on it, I want the contours to be there sort of in the background, without interfering too much.

However, this might turn out to be the best we can do--so thanks again!

-Tom

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* December 23, 2009, 07:53:05 AM
#7
Thanks to you too, Frank, but no luck so far. My Photoshop Elements doesn't seem to be set up to create transparent colors, but my son used a program he had to do that. However, when I inserted it into TurboCAD as a picture, it came out opaque. Was that the correct way to do it? Could it be that TurboCAD doesn't support this feature of transparency?

Thanks again
Tom

(Here's the file my son made.)

Tom,

I just tried importing a gif file with a transparent background into TC.  The background came in opaque and the image had a box around it which could not be removed.  As you surmised, TC apparently doesn't support this feature of transparency.  I hope this changes in some future release of TC.  I use this technique frequently when I have to create a signed document like a quote.  I create it in Word, import my signature as a gif file and plop it on the dotted line, save it as a pdf and out it goes.  I can see where this feature would also be useful in TC in situations like your own or where it is necessary to place a signature or a seal on a drawing that must be transmitted electronically. 

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* December 23, 2009, 08:14:54 AM
#8
Many thanks for your efforts, JoeM. I may just end up using your image.

Actually, though, I kind of wanted to retain the colored shading. Since this will be overlaid on a map with a lot of other info on it, I want the contours to be there sort of in the background, without interfering too much.

However, this might turn out to be the best we can do--so thanks again!

-Tom

Tom,

Once the object is converted to vector (which it is), you can easily change the colors back to the original ones.  It should only take you a few minutes.

JoeM

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December 23, 2009, 08:29:48 AM
#9
You can do an amazing job of this in Illustrator CS4. And as Joe said, once it is vectorized you can adjust the color and stroke of your lines as you like. Nice thing about Illustrator is you can save in the dwg format and then open this up in TurboCAD.

[attachment deleted by admin]
« Last Edit: December 23, 2009, 08:32:30 AM by Don Cheke »

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* December 23, 2009, 08:40:09 AM
#10
Here is the vector image with the color updated

[attachment deleted by admin]

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* December 23, 2009, 07:07:09 PM
#11
...so the lines show on the map, but the map also still shows?
Is there any reason why placing the contour lines behind your map will not work (i.e. overlay the map rather than the contour lines).

To do so, after you bring in your contour line image and with it selected, invoke Format > Send to Back.

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* December 24, 2009, 04:38:38 AM
#12
Thanks much JoeM.  Did you go through and select each line to change its color, or did you have another way of doing this?

Jhren--No, I have many solid colored areas on the map: blue lakes, green forest, etc.. Have to put the topo lines on top.

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* December 25, 2009, 07:21:52 AM
#13
Thanks much JoeM.  Did you go through and select each line to change its color, or did you have another way of doing this?

I selected all and changed to the lighter color, then used select by fence to select the areas for successively darker colors.  Took about 10 minutes.

JoeM

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December 29, 2009, 06:04:52 AM
#14
"My home version (Photoshop Elements 4.0) doesn't seem to support alpha channels at least in the way they were shown in the turorial. Elements has layers so I am hoping I can make this work to create 32 bit alpha channels with this program."

Yes, Elements has a way to make alpha channels nicely. Here is a link that should do the trick. If you cant get it to work for you let me know and I may be able to help.

http://www.elementsvillage.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15604

I just made several file types (png, gif, tga) that had valid alpha channels in them, and imported them all into TC, but none honored the alpha channel transparency.

cheers
« Last Edit: December 29, 2009, 06:23:28 AM by Bud Lovel »

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