Making CAD Drawings Look Better on the Web (and Other GIMP Filter Uses)

If you’ve ever tried to put a mechanical drawing that you’ve saved as a .gif or other format on the internet, you’ve probably noticed that the lines don’t generally come out that well.  Depending on your CAD package there is probably some way to fix this with a line weight selection, however, I’m going to focus on how to darken your lines after the fact.

To accomplish this, I used the free GIMP photo editing package and it’s set of filters.  While experimenting with this in GIMP, I also discovered that the “filter” menu in the main window can do some really cool effects as well.

"COVER" mechanical drawing

Before filter

cover after applying "cartoon" filter

After "cartoon" filter











The images above are simple examples of how the “cartoon” filter in GIMP can enhance a mechanical drawing.  In some circumstances, this may be helpful.  If you want to try this yourself, download a copy of GIMP and go into: Filter – Artistic – Cartoon as shown below.  Set “Mask Radius” and “Percent Black” to the highest settings that you can.  This should give you a similar effect to what is shown here.

Another option would be simply to make your mechanical drawings larger on your blog, but that may not work for some situations.  I’ve also used GIMP to simply put dimensions directly on photos, or actually generated a crude mechanical drawing with this package.  I’ve got a few tutorials on how to do this if you are interested.

As mentioned earlier, GIMP offers some really neat filters for your work.  I highly recommend experimenting with these.  Here’s an image of some orange trees that I applied some of these filters to:

original orange trees photo

Original photo of orange trees

trees using cubed filter

Trees using the "cubism" filter

trees using the "clothify" filter

Trees using the "clothify" filter

Those are just a few examples, there are many more filters to try with GIMP (like the “Predator” filter for example).  So give it a try with your mechanical drawings or with whatever other photos that you want some crazy effects with.

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