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How do I trace the outline of photo png with a path?

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Last Modified: 2017-03-18
I have a number of pngs of detailed photos such as the one attached with transparent backgrounds. I need to outline each one with a line around the perimeter of the photo that is a PATH. I can add a stroke effect to the PNG in Photoshop that looks correct, but because it is an effect it does not seem that I can convert that stroke to a path (I need the path for laser cutting). I have available to me and a working knowledge of Photoshop, Illustrator, and Inkscape. The best solution would be in Inkscape if feasible since I hope to share the process with others who may not have access to Adobe software, but any (hopefully relatively straightforward) solution would do at this point.

I'm driving myself a bit nuts trying to do something that I think should be simple. Help! Please. Thanks so so much.
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Retired
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Commented:
here is a video for Inkscape: How to Trace Bitmap: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-xxhphybnE
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Commented:
Since you have Illustrator I assume that you are familiar with drawing vector shapes (which is what paths are in Photoshop)

What part of drawing the outline is driving you nuts?

Or do you have the hang of it now?

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Commented:
Paul, thank you! This got me closer (and is a great video guide). I had been trying to use the trace bitmap tool, but this prompted me to go through every single setting. For those interested, in case someone wanders into this thread, use the trace bitmap tool and set the Brightness Cutoff Threshold to .999, then execute the trace, then go to the fill/stroke options and remove the fill (which will be all black) and add a stroke (which will be your outline).

Author

Commented:
David, what was driving me nuts was that I could get an outline on the png, but the only relatively straightforward way I could find was through using an effect via adobe products. It LOOKED correct, but it wasn't actually a path and I couldn't convert it to a path - so I had something that looked like an outline, but wasn't actually a vector path and therefore wasn't able to be used as a cutting guide for our laser cutter.

The video Paul referred me to got me closer and I twiddled to get to an easy solution. Happy now!
RartemassLife Coach
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Commented:
In Photoshop CS6 (unsure on the version you have access to) I'd use the Quick Select tool to select the image as desired. Then select the Make Work Path option in the Paths context menu (right click).
Set a tolerance of between 1 and 2. Select the work path in the Paths panel, name it and save it.
Paul SauvéRetired
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Commented:
author stated that my solution enabled him to trace the outline of his image...