Solidworks Autotrace feature tells it apart from other 3D modelling cad software since this feature enables one develop sketches from existing images having any format say PNG, jpg, jpeg or any other image format extension.
This is easily done by simply enabling the Autotrace Add-In present in the Solidworks Add-Ins folder.
Below is a step by step procedure of how to use Solidworks Autotrace to develop 2D sketches from images.
To begin you need to create a new sketch on any plane of your choosing.
Next, proceed to the tools menu on the tool bar, select sketch tools from this menu the click on sketch picture. You can then browse for the picture you would like to create the sketch from.
I chose this logo picture for my demonstration.
Click on the arrow to the left at the explorer. This gives you several options.
By clicking on begin trace an outline of the logo is automatically traced by the trace tool.
By removing visibility of the sketch picture you can now clearly examine the sketch and perform various modelling techniques such as extrusion on it. Upon modelling the logo I obtained a 3d model shown below.
The Autotrace feature may not however apply to detailed pictures having intricate design which in turn may force the designer to sketch over the picture in order to obtain the sketch.
For example the sketch for the shield shown below required quite a number of manipulations for completion.
The final render of the shield SLDRPT is as shown above and as can be seen the shape is quite complex to do a simple autotrace on.
Another example of a part done using autotrace is that of a shrimp. By using the sketch picture of the shrimp I was able to sketch over it and obtain the 2D sketch of the part.