Reproduce part from a photograph

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Forum topic by iminmyshop posted 11-28-2013 02:11 AM 1521 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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284 posts in 1991 days

11-28-2013 02:11 AM

Topic tags/keywords: reproduce reproduction copy copy from photograph reproduce from photo question

Sometimes I see a photograph of a part of furniture that I want to reproduce as part of another piece. This is most common for example when I see a particularly attractive curve or taper in a leg. What is the best and most accurate way to get a full size mock-up from a photograph?


10 replies so far

View Woodknack's profile


11619 posts in 2377 days

#1 posted 11-28-2013 03:21 AM

4 options off the top of my head.
1) Enlarge and print
2) Print onto a transparency and project onto a pad of paper using an overhead projector then trace
3) Overlay or draw a grid then redraw by hand
4) Use a pantograph

-- Rick M,

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3574 days

#2 posted 11-28-2013 03:27 AM

Looks like Rick has all the right answers.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View SuperCubber's profile


1026 posts in 2281 days

#3 posted 11-28-2013 01:57 PM

You could also import the photo to SketchUp and trace it to form a part, then print and enlarge, if necessary.

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View Ripthorn's profile


1458 posts in 2982 days

#4 posted 11-28-2013 02:17 PM

I usually go way old school. I put a 1/4” grid on the photo, then take a large piece of paper, draw a square grid scaling the photo to real life, then draw the outline through the boxes as shown in the photo.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View Loren's profile


10384 posts in 3645 days

#5 posted 11-28-2013 04:46 PM

There’s an old article from Fine Woodworking on how to do
it for reproduction work.

This is more or less how I would do it: enlarge the picture
and trace the photo until big enough to work with it and
distracting objects eliminated from the drawing. Then find
the perspective vanishing points (string and pins can help
because the points can run pretty far off your paper).
Then use that information to extrapolate elevation

View junebug's profile


101 posts in 2401 days

#6 posted 11-28-2013 05:08 PM

Matthias at has just thing you are looking for

I’ve used it and it works perfectly

View iminmyshop's profile


284 posts in 1991 days

#7 posted 11-28-2013 06:34 PM

Thank you all for some great suggestions.
I love this forum.


View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1247 posts in 1710 days

#8 posted 11-28-2013 07:40 PM

Unless the image is taken directly parralel to the line you wat to copy, tracing does not work. Loren’s model works if you are going analog. For a more accurate way import the image in a 3d drawing program and give the drawing depth etc. Can be done quite accurate if you know the approximate size of the object, the height of the camera and the type of lens used. It is a lot of work though.

Let us know how it goes!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View MrRon's profile


4764 posts in 3240 days

#9 posted 11-28-2013 09:25 PM

I do this all the time. I build large scale models of locomotives. The photograph has to be a straight-on view of the item; not skewed at an angle. Knowing at least one dimension, I make a proportional scale that I can then use to scale other features. This method could work for angular views, if you could approximate the angle and use trigonometry.

View iminmyshop's profile


284 posts in 1991 days

#10 posted 11-29-2013 12:07 PM

After looking up the various alternatives I went with the software:
The pantographs all had their user issues, I don’t have access to a projector, math and grids could work but…you have to do the math and make grids.

The software seemed fast, easy and accurate. It was.
It costs $22 and saved LOTS of time. Also, in Photoshop (which I DO have and enjoy using) there is a way to change the perspective of photos. This helps to get a more straight on view from the front or side. Ideally, it works best with square objects where you can put the guides on corners of a frame but it works pretty well without that too though it can take some experimenting to get it right. The photo can then be imported into the software and resized for whatever size you like. The software is clever, accurate and easy to use.


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