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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 the SVG commands 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, a limited set of commands is 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 for instance Adobe-Photoshop can output SVG format files, however, what Photoshop (and others) do is to embed a JPG or PNG pixel type file in an SVG wrapper. The core of those files remains a pixel file, that cannot be sketched with 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, the file itself may contain sketchable and non-sketchable elements, it is up to you whether or not to sketch the image. In 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. Make sure however when selecting a tool, that it will create “real” SVG images, i.e. with vector elements instead of embedded pixel images.
  • The MDA will scale the created image always to an A4, rotating the image so that maximum use is made of the sketchable area. Still, when creating a new drawing, start with an empty A4 template
  • On the A4 template, you can use the full A4, up to the extreme borders to create your image. The MDA will sketch a bit smaller image, leaving a blank border of approx. 2mm around the sketch
  • Although the MDA sketching software ignores line thicknesses, it is advised to give all elements a thickness of 3 pixels. Reason for this is that the previews of the images are much smaller than an A4, 1 pixel lines appear very faint in the preview, while 3 pixel lines are quite nice in the preview