Computer Graphics Laboratory ETH Zurich


Topology-driven vectorization of clean line drawings

G. Noris, A. Hornung, R. W. Sumner, M. Simons, M. Gross

ACM Transactions on Graphics, ACM, vol. 32, no. 1, 2013, pp. 4:1-4:11
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Vectorization provides a link between raster scans of pencil-and-paper drawings and modern digital processing algorithms that require accurate vector representations. Even when input drawings are comprised of clean, crisp lines, inherent ambiguities near junctions make vectorization deceptively difficult. As a consequence, current vectorization approaches often fail to faithfully capture the junctions of drawn strokes. We propose a vectorization algorithm specialized for clean line drawings that analyzes the drawing's topology in order to overcome junction ambiguities. A gradient-based pixel clustering technique facilitates topology computation. This topological information is exploited during centerline extraction by a new "reverse drawing" procedure that reconstructs all possible drawing states prior to the creation of a junction and then selects the most likely stroke configuration. For cases where the automatic result does not match the artist's interpretation, our drawing analysis enables an efficient user interface to easily adjust the junction location. We demonstrate results on professional examples and evaluate the vectorization quality with quantitative comparison to hand-traced centerlines as well as the results of leading commercial algorithms.

author = {Noris, Gioacchino and Hornung, Alexander and Sumner, Robert W. and Simmons, Maryann and Gross, Markus},
title = {Topology-driven vectorization of clean line drawings},
journal = {ACM Trans. Graph.},
issue_date = {January 2013},
volume = {32},
number = {1},
month = feb,
year = {2013},
issn = {0730-0301},
pages = {4:1--4:11},
articleno = {4},
numpages = {11},
url = {},
doi = {10.1145/2421636.2421640},
acmid = {2421640},
publisher = {ACM},
address = {New York, NY, USA},
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