Blender offers the ability to create objects of various types, ranging from your typical mesh object to curves, text, etc. Since Blender has so many object types, it also offers the ability to convert some of these objects to other forms.
To convert an image to a grease pencil object, select the image and then use the right mouse button to open the context menu. From here, choose the second option labeled ‘Trace Image To Grease Pencil.’ Define the settings you want, such as the scale, before pressing Ok to create your grease pencil object.
You can very quickly begin generating cool 2D designs by taking images and converting them into grease pencil objects. This also acts as a go-between if you want to convert your image to other object types as well.
Adding Your Reference Material
The first step to converting your image into a grease pencil object is to add the image to the 3D viewport. To add an image, use the hotkey Shift + A to open the add menu.
Go to the image option and select the background or reference options in the second menu. It does not matter which of these you use, we will be converting the object type regardless.
When you select an option, the file browser will open, allowing you to select the image you wish to import. Then click on the blue load button in the corner to import your image object.
Can I Use Any Image?
While Blender will attempt to convert any image into a grease pencil object on conversion, it uses ai techniques to track and trace the different levels of contrast in the image to construct the object.
Some images will be converted easily, while others, more complex images, will likely inherit issues.
The best images to use are those where you have a single object in the image surrounded by a single color background to create contrast.
Converting an actual photo, for example, is never going to yield a good outcome because it is so tricky for Blender to know what needs to be drawn and what doesn’t.
Another tip is to use black and white images, as the grease pencil conversion will use contrast to create a monochrome version of the image.
Color is fine, but you can get better accuracy if you use a greyscale image for the comversion.
Converting An Image To A Grease Pencil Object
Blender can convert objects to different types so long that these objects possess the properties that will allow for conversion.
Because we are working with a 2D image, we will not be able to convert an image into a mesh directly. We can sort of do this anyway with the import images as planes add-on, but that would import the image as a how and just map it to the plane as a texture.
A grease pencil, however, is an object created by drawing your lines and is primarily used for 2D animation. Hence, it has similar properties to an image that allow conversion to be possible.
The traditional means of converting an object is first to select it and then go to the object menu in the viewport.
Locate the conversion option, and you will have several options for what you want to convert the selected object to.
For whatever reason, though, none of these options seem to work with image objects, and that includes the grease pencil.
That does not mean that we can’t perform the conversion, as there is another method.
Select the image and then press the right mouse button, which will bring up the object context menu. There are several options here explicitly related to the current object type. The second option stands out and is labeled ‘Trace Image To Grease Pencil.’
An operator panel will pop up with a load of settings you can use to adjust the result. It is better to keep these as they are for now since you can access them in the operator after the conversion.
Click the OK button at the bottom of the panel, and you should see a new object made in the viewport based on your image.
What Do The Settings Do When Converting?
When you have completed your conversion, you will be able to adjust some of your conversion settings to get a better result.
In most cases, the default settings here will be the best settings to go with anyway, but we will run through what each setting is designed to do.
Target Object – You can decide if you want to designate it as a new or selected object. The selected object option should inherit the name of the image, but at the time of writing, this tool does not seem to work as intended.
Thickness – Think of this as the pixel density for each generated point. The higher the value, the more bloated an image will appear, so keep this at a low value.
Resolution – This represents the number of points generated for the grease pencil object. A higher value means greater accuracy but becomes more challenging to work with due to the density. Any value greater than two will create a decent result, but the recommended resolution is 5-7.
Scale – The overall size of the created object respective to the image size.
Samples – Similar to the resolution in that it is used to define the level of detail by generating strokes. The lower the value, the lower the distance between each generated point and the higher the detail.
Color Threshold – This represents the luminance threshold where the contrast of colors is determined to map out the object. A higher threshold value may result in more of the image being drawn regardless of contrast. A lower value can result in less of the image drawn.
Turn Policy – This menu of options determines HOW Blender creates paths where there are ambiguities. In other words, if there is a part of the image that Blender is not sure how to draw with, the turn policy will influence the result.
Mode – If you are using a single image, then set this to single to draw the image to the grease pencil. If you are using an image sequence as a plane, then choose sequence, and the grease pencil will create a drawing for each frame of that image sequence so that it can be immediately animated.
Thanks For Reading
We appreciate you taking the time to read through the article, and we hope you found the information you were looking for. If you are interested in learning more about the different object types used in Blender 3D, look at some of the articles we have listed below.
- How To Design A 3D Model Using An Image
- How To Edit Your Reference Images In The Viewport
- Importing Images Into Blender
- How To Add An Image Sequence As A Plane Object
- How To Apply An Image Texture To An Object