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9.01 SVG Files

The MDA can sketch images based on the SVG format.

SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphics and has an extensive set of commands to create images, with basic shapes like lines, rectangles, circles, etc. that can be assigned properties like solid, dashed, colours, filled shapes, etc., etc. As you might understand, for images to be sketched on the MDA, only a limited subset of these SVG properties can and will be used. Although the MDA software can read any type of SVG file and will show a full preview of this file in the interface, only a limited set of theseproperties can be processed and sketched on the MDA itself. Presently, the MDA supports the following SVG elements:

  • Line, Polyline and Polygon – only solid lines, all style data like thickness, endpoints, etc. will be ignored
  • Circle and Ellipse – only solid outlines, all style data will be ignored
  • Rectangle – only solid outlines, style data for rounded corners is supported, all other style data will be ignored
  • Path – only solid outlines

All other SVG elements and style data are not supported by the SVG interpreter of the MDA.

Note that tools like Adobe-Photoshop can output SVG format files, however, what Photoshop (and others) sometimes do is to embed a JPG or PNG pixel type file inside an SVG file. The core of those files remains a pixel file, which cannot be sketched by the MDA. If the MDA interfaces encounters files with embedded pixel files, it will display a text “non-sketchable elements” below the image preview. However, seeing that the file itself may contain both sketchable and non-sketchable elements, it is up to you whether or not to sketch the image. In the case of an SVG image with only pixel content, only the right-up marker will be sketched.

Instructions for drawing your own SVG images

  • There are many tools that can create SVG format images, a popular and free tool is Inkscape. However, make sure that the selected tool will create “real” SVG images, i.e. an image with vector elements instead of embedded pixel images.
  • The MDA will always scale the created image to A4 format, and rotate the image as needed so that the maximum amount of sketchable area is used. Even so, when creating a new drawing, start with an empty A4 template
  • On the A4 template, you can fully use the A4 area, up to the edges of the “paper” to create your image. However, keep in mind that the MDA has a margin of approximately 10mm from the edge of the A4, and will resize your drawing if part of your drawing lies within this margin. As such it is good practice to not draw within 10mm from the edge.
  • Although the MDA sketching software ignores line thicknesses, it is advised to give all elements a thickness of 3 pixels. The reason for this is that the previews of the images are much smaller than an A4, and as such a 1 pixel lines will be difficult to see in the preview image, while 3 pixel lines are easy to see in the preview image.