Time to add a Ladybug to the Ladybug Shield. The files discussed can be found at this Github location.
Creating The Logo
There are several steps to get to the Ladybug Logo finding its way onto the PCB layout:
- Start with a sketch of what I wanted the graphic to be and iterate the image with someone who “gets” art and design. In my case, I am lucky to have a family member who is a great artist and willing to help me. The graphic was drawn in an SVG file so that it could be easily modified and scaled. The graphic above is what we ended up with after about three iterations.
- Use an SVG art tool to put on final touches. I use a Mac and did not have a vector drawing package. I ended up getting a copy of iDraw. I found iDraw to be very easy to use given my limited background with the Acorn bitmap editor. I found the two complimentary in using layers and figuring out how to do something in iDraw.
- Once the graphic is “good enough”, figure out how big it should be by measuring the relative coordinates in Kicad’s PCBNew app.
Creating The Footprint and Add to Layout
- I liked the fancier described in this post. I followed the steps to create one Ladybug logo (.mod file) footprint out of two files – one for copper and one for the mask layer. Instead of Gimp, I used iDraw and made the mask layer 1% larger than the copper layer.
- Unfortunately, Kicad’s bitmap2component app leaves artifacts within the .mod file that need to be deleted. This post describes the artifacts and how to get rid of them. I found removing the artifacts BEFORE combining the .mod files to work best.
- run the shell script which will combine the two .mod files.
- add the .mod file created by the shell script to the footprint library in PCBNew
- add the footprint to layout…and ta da!
nice work here.
The artifacts are indeed a vectorization error in bitmap2component.
The easiest way to get rid of them is to add a black 1-pixel frame around the image (to make sure the actual artwork does not touch the border) and not use the negative operation in bitmap2component, but rather prepare the input file as white artwork on black background.
At least that’s what works best for me in kicad-20130518.
Keep up the good work
Your post on PCB artwork in kicad was nicely done and very useful. It showed me the way to make the logo I wanted and got me interested in the other layers of a PCB – which I only had a vague feeling for. Thank you for the guidance on artifacts. I will keep it in mind as I continue my practice. Please have a wonderful New Year.