Centre for Fine Print Research University of the West of England Centre for Fine Print Research
  The British Channel Seen from the Dorsetshire Cliffs (detail) 1871

How to create Auto-Segmented and Vectorised output

Download the AutoSegmentation How to guide Part One PDF

Download the AutoSegmentation How to guide Part Two

Download the AutoSegmentation How to guide Part Three


Auto-segmentation software converts pixels in a picture/photograph (bmp, jpeg, gif, png, tiff file formats) into vector paths that can be used to drive a bespoke printing machine. The printing machine utilises an implement, such as a paintbrush, to automatically make marks on a page using inks or paints. Although the software automatically segments an image into print layers and predetermines stroke marks, the user can adjust many different settings to refine the printed output.

The auto-segmentation method analyses and converts pixels into vectors. The algorithm automatically separates the image into coloured layers. The layers are determined by visual properties, specifically edge strength, texture direction, x/y pixel adjacency, and hue/saturation/ brightness. The auto segmentation method has been developed using Processing 2, an open source programming language and development environment. *You will require Processing version 2 to run our program.

A free download can be found at: https://processing.org/download. *Be sure to download version 2, as version 3 is current and not compatible. .

**The auto-segmentation program has been developed very quickly and represents cutting edge research. The software is therefore not provided in an ‘end-user’ level of readiness, and you may well find faults and a lack of explanatory comments in the source code!

Hardware Requirements

This documentation is written assuming you have access to printing machine hardware. The software communicates using the GCode standard protocol for CNC machine operation. To replicate our printing machine, you need to adapt a CNC wood router to hold a paintbrush. Our paintbrush holder was 3D printed, and the model files are also available online to 3D print.

Therefore hardware should be relatively simple to replicate. The software allows you to set all the important and relative coordinates necessary.
CNC wood routers are available as kits, for example: