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Inkscape capture tutorial

See also: captured chips

General tips:

  • Check source images for stitch artifacts before beginning capture
    • Gross stitch errors: image misalignment, excessive translation, etc
    • Rotation: make sure power buses going around entire chip stay vertical / horizontal
  • Consider focusing on a specific area of the chip (IP block)
    • Will give you a usable deliverable if you don't finish
    • Gives a better sense how everything fits together
    • Better sense of time involved
  • Consider exploring multiple tools: inkscape, gimp, photoshop
    • Especially if you are pretty good with one tool already


  • Find a tool / workflow to morph two separately stitched images into aligned layers
  • Crowd source polygon capture

Specialty capture tools

Note: ROM specific tools are covered on a separate page

The general consensus is that planarized chips can be semi-automatically reverse engineered using high contrast images (confocal and/or SEM). However, no-one in the open community has produced a tool that accelerates capturing non-planarized chips. Although metal has proven difficult, I suspect that it would be relatively easy to make a tool to capture the active area of a delayered IC.


By Olivier Thomas / Texplained


Related training

TODO: youtube presentation Link


Proprietary internal tool. Some screenshots have been released

As of 2016, I've heard rumors that its analysis capabilities are not very good and its mostly a glorified image viewer with some doodling capabilities. Since I've never used the tool I can't really say

Above: some pictures from



The highest profile FOSS tool. Tutorials and other stuff available.

Users have noted significant stability issues. I (JM) tried tool again in 2016 and noted considerable stability improvements, but still had it crash on me before I was able to get any results. Still, it might not take that much work to stabilize the tool and unite the community behind it.


Known to primarily use photoshop. Focus is on tracing specific (security) circuits rather than trying to capture an entire design


An experimental semi-automated polygon capture tool for chips using lambda rules (grid layout)


TODO: add links to github project

Visual 6502

Internal python tool to help draw polygons. Not publicly released

They also explored automation

capture.txt · Last modified: 2016/09/14 00:49 by mcmaster