Scalable vector graphics

“SVG” to its friends

December 23, 2019 — December 12, 2023

The SVG format is the Grand Central Station of vector graphics, with branch lines to PDF or and the other compatible formats like as Adobe Illustrator, EPS and xfig.

Figure 1

1 pdf2svg

pdf2svg is handy in conjunction with (almost) any of the other programs to convert between vector formats.

2 AI vectorizing

Currently free, Vectorizer.AI produces high quality results.

3 potrace

The classic Potrace converts bitmap images to SVG. Apparently it is integrated into inkscape.

4 Inkscape

Open source Inkscape can do everything, although I find its Adobe Illustrator pretensions (perhaps unfairly) grating. Aimed firstly at general vector graphic design, which means the functions I want for sciency stuff are not front-and-center, but it can be done.

5 Boxy

A fresh option leveraging web technology is Jarosław Foksa’s Boxy, a web app with pseudo-desktop apps for various platforms. I think it is free, but closed source?

6 Algorithmically generating

Javascript is very good at SVG wrangling. Over at javascript graphics I have a list of libraries for generating SVGs, including Two.js, snap etc.

7 Generative art

8 Libraries of line art

See the free content page.

9 Minimizing size of

Figure 2

Victor Zhou shows how to minimize bloaty SVGs using svgo:

npm install -g svgo
$ svgo test.svg -o - | gzip -cfq9 > test.svgz

10 References

Carlier, Danelljan, Alahi, et al. 2020. DeepSVG: A Hierarchical Generative Network for Vector Graphics Animation.” In.