What - you think paying $7000 once plus $2000 yearly for THE premium circuit board layout software on the market would mean it would be no big deal to stick a logo or graphics on your PCB? Or at least that your money was enough to pay them for a nice step-by-step tutorial? HA. Think again. It's such a painful process that I finally had to make myself a cheat sheet, which I continuously add to as I figure out new tricks. And then last week I spent way too much time on the heart design above and was like - fuck it. I'm sharing this with the world because it's just ridiculous that importing graphics is this much of a pain in the ass. So if you've banged your head against the wall importing a logo into Altium Designer, here's a How To guide with 2 different ways, using a bitmap, png, jpg, and dxf. Got another method? Got improvements on the below? Tell me in the comments! For the Love of Bob, no one should have to go through hours of misery trying to figure this out.
Also - kudos to the KiCad designers and whoever made their import tool. While it could be better, it puts Altium to shame.
Method 1 - PNG to DXF
I think this is the best method I've been able string together. It's best for an image with very clear edges, in which a clean outline can be created from the image or image components. For anything that has pixelated or rough edges (think a wood-carved ink stamp), this method creates a dxf (and therefore final image polygon) with waaaaaay to many vertices. Altium has a hard time handling this and you’ll bog the entire program down and cause crashes. For something a little “rougher” - hand-drawn, or a graphic from a photo - proceed to Method 2.
The "# 1 ! " were all imported from the DXF according to this process. The "1" and "!" were converted to Regions instead of Polygons, since they didn't need cutouts. Curious about the rough heart outline? That was imported according to Method 2 - Bitmaps to Copy/Paste from Word. The smooth heart board outline was drawn by hand in Altium, outlining the rough heart by using the Arc (Any Angle) tool and a couple of straight lines. I had tried to use an imported dxf for the board outline, and everything seemed fine. I saved my work, shut down Altium properly, then when I opened it the next day, I was greeted with the following vision of pink puke:
WTF, Altium? Pro tip: at this point I closed the PCB file and went into the History folder in my project, and started unzipping previous saves until I found one that was normal. Fortunately, it just seemed to have barfed when I created the board outline. So I decided to play it safe and draw a low-vertex-count one by hand. That one has been fine.