Say I want to automate making extruded-text or a 3d logo from an image.

An answer that uses extruding a monochrome image of the ubuntu logo to an arbitrary number of units with a python script taking only the number of units and the monochrome image as a starting point will receive extra this was awesome re-posts from me.

This could be useful for lots of things.

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    $\begingroup$ This question and title should be worded less confusingly, by the sounds of it you want to trace an image into an extruded shape, Thats a very common task for spinning logo's, but i had to read through your question twice to figure this is what you wanted. $\endgroup$ – ideasman42 Jul 3 '13 at 4:32
  • $\begingroup$ @ideasman42 - does that title edit make it instantly obvious? feel free to suggest an edit. if it sounds like english and doesn't change the meaning, i'll happily accept it. $\endgroup$ – RobotHumans Jul 3 '13 at 12:04
  • $\begingroup$ I accidentally voted to close this. never mind that vote $\endgroup$ – zeffii Jul 3 '13 at 18:04

Blender doesn't have image tracing built-in, and without some tracing algorithm that outlines the shape, you're unlikely to get very nice results. so suggest...

  • Open the image in a vector image editor (such as Inkscape)
  • trace the image (most vector editors have auto-trace)
  • save the vector as an SVG
  • import the SVG into Blender
  • use the curve bevel setting, or convert the curve to a mesh and extrude that.

If you want to automate this, you would have to automate converting the image into a vector outside blender, using something like Potrace, once you have an SVG you can automate loading and extruding it.

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    $\begingroup$ Inkscape can also automatically trace a raster image, with varying results - it's worth investigating. $\endgroup$ – zeffii Jul 3 '13 at 10:33
  • $\begingroup$ @zeffii, yep - infact I meant to say auto-trace. tracing by hand is fine but you can also do that in blender. $\endgroup$ – ideasman42 Jul 3 '13 at 11:12
  • $\begingroup$ This approach seems imminently scriptable in python given platform lock. Thinking about turning it in to a plug-in for blender. I just didn't want to re-create work that was already done. $\endgroup$ – RobotHumans Jul 5 '13 at 2:11

I haven't seen any automated raster to curve tools for Blender specifically. If it comes, it will probably be an addon.

From experience the result of automated tracing on logos, or exact shapes with transitions between curve and corners, is rarely acceptable to closer scrutiny. Invariably they need to be corrected (and optimized). People provide on-line services where you send them a raster image and they send a vector version back.

Blender has OK curve/spline tools to do tracing by hand, I've done this plenty of times. Staying in Blender has the added bonus that keyboard short-cuts are familiar. Filling the spline is also easy and so is extruding. Here's an interesting thread on BlenderArtists where VickyM72 practised on various logos to get a better appreciation of the curve tools.

Many prominent logos are already available as vector (svg, ps, etc..) if you fill their name into a search engine.

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enter image description hereA while I wanted to make models and quickly learned about Manually Tracing (Via Background Images, X-Ray Objects in Properties > Object > Display & Add Cube then Grab Vertics to where Image's Edges bends & Change Camera to do Front & Side).

Today @ 5:39a, I was making a Mod Request of the Saint's Angel for SR4 and discovered a bit of a faster & simpler way to do it. I want to insert the Fleur De Lis at the end of a Tail

  1. In Object MOde Imported the .PNG as "Image as Plane"
  2. Press K for Knife and click on each point
    1. Once done I can L for island Select the Outer Part & Delete > A for Select all > Use E to Extrude along an XYZ Axis or Shift XYZ for 2 Axis ----Con: Knife Tools's Dots get in the way & this is on 2D
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