November 6, 2007

Do you use SVG?

People will often ask me about SVG, but I sometimes wonder how many Illustrator users really use SVG.

For those who don't know, SVG -- or Scalable Vector Graphics -- is a file format that is used mainly on the web and in mobile devices. SVG is an open standard and is a text-based format, making it easy to modify at any time. In fact, SVG is pretty much a mashup of JavaScript and XML.

Illustrator has robust support for SVG. You can open and save SVG files -- and you can even apply SVG Filter Effects (runtime effects that are applied when SVG files are played back in the Adobe SVG Viewer). Illustrator also has an SVG Interactivity panel to assist in adding JavaSript events to artwork.

I'm thinking about writing up some more content around the use of SVG with Illustrator, but wonder if Illustrator users really use SVG enough to warrant that. So if there are any Illustrator users out there who use SVG, I'd love to hear about it -- post comments here, or drop me an email. Thanks!

23 comments:

Paul Burney said...

I only use SVG from/to Illustrator when I'm sharing files with my Linux/Inkscape using colleagues.

Kyle Barrow said...

I was a fan of SVG when SVG Tiny had momentum as a mobile format but since Adobe bought Macromedia, I don't see it having much future in the mobile space - at least in Japan.

mikew said...

I'm another Inkscape to AI user of SVG. I find Inkscape's basic path tools superior to Illustrator's, so I like to start out drawings with IS and then finish off the art using AI's more advanced features.

It would be fantastic to have native SVG support in all web browsers. Adobe seems to have lost interest since they've bought Macromedia.

Anonymous said...

I have no expierence of working with SVG. I would be interested to learn more, but does if have a future as a format on the web?

Kevin Spear said...

A client had an SVG file for me to use but I haven't purposely saved something as an SVG file.

I have shied away from it because I was concerned non-graphic people wouldn't be able to read it when they came to my web site.

Also, I have cartoons on my site. Many people swipe them when they are jpegs and gifs. I was afraid they would have even more incentive if they knew how to use a high res, vector SVG file.

I may prefer an Acrobat file because I can at least put security features into the file.

Brandon Whitesell said...

I don't use the svg format because i don't really know what it is - I know the definition of it; but anything more than that is foggy.
Is it only for web?
will it ruin my site's accessibilty (i work for the governemnt and it's a strict guidline)?
what are the advantages over flash content (if it's accessibility, i'm sold!)

will svg hold my spot color definitions for color accuracy with different creators?

It seems like with the (impending/rumored) rise of resolution independence, either flash or svg would be perfect in arenas where a png won't cut it (i'm thinking User Interfaces, etc).

If you've got time, i'll read posts about svg.

JG said...

I only use SVG when I have to export a path for import into Blender, since Illustrator's eps files don't seem to work very well for some reason.

monika gause said...

What makes me want to play with SVG is this nice web application: http://www.bundeswahlleiter.de/bundestagswahl2005/onlineatlas/atlas.svgz

Let's go learn some JavaScript...

khiltd said...

I'd love to use it if the browsers which (claim to) support it could stop crashing.

dblatner said...

I wrote about SVG back in 1999 in Adobe Magazine, and surprisingly little has changed since then. If you want to read the article, you can find it in PDF format at this archive..

Back then, Microsoft and Adobe were both very pro-SVG, but then MS backed off (later to come out with WPF/Silverlight, which is similar to SVG in some ways), and as others have pointed out here, Adobe has lost interest, too, due to Flash.

SVG has a lot going for it... just not the stuff it needs to survive.

Alexandre Giesbrecht said...

All the times I tried to export as SVG in Illustrator (for Wikipedia), it was a mess, probably, more my fault than the programs. After the first few tries, I decided to use Inkscape when drawing for Wikipedia, which fortunately is not very frequent.

BeauW said...

I wanted to learn to use SVG, but now I'm wondering- does it have any use that I can't get from SWF?

Geosphere said...

Adobe dropped their support for the SVG viewer...
So the mashup of javascript and SVG, I believe greatly depends on the viewer being able to parse the combination of JS and SVG. Pur SVG can be viewed ok in FireFox (not sure about IE). The SVG xml synthax is quite well and could be useful for data binding (e.g. SVG - to Flash).

Geosphere said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I mainly work in print and have never used SVG.

Hendrik said...

I'm a contributor to fotolia.com and they recently introduced svg as a format for contributors and buyers.
So far, I've created a bunch of artwork in svg but buyers seem to be still interested in jpg files only, even though there is a svg version of the same file available. Considering that istock is selling artwork as *.ai files with great success - I got no idea why fotolia chose not to. The same goes for animations, fotolia prefers svg over flash as well..weird.

Johnny Automatic said...

As a major contributor to the Open Clip Art Library (openclipart.org) I use it all the time. It is the standard format there. Illustrator is a lot more advanced than Inkscape but Illustrator doesn't support full SVG standards yet and has trouble opening some files. It also can make bloated files if one isn't careful with their work path. But I depend on Adobe for bloat.

Document Geek said...

I've neer had a use for SVG. The only reason I have ever looked into learning it is because it's on the Illustrator ACE exam.

Anonymous said...

I've only started using SVG lately as I still see it as the best Vector format for webdevelopment and design. Proprietary is dead! Okay, God ain't dead either despite the bold claim by Nietze, but open standards will be a lot more important in the EU at least and India and China will have a lot more fun using non-licenced formats as well. This apart from the archival adavntages of SVG as XML language.

SVG is a strong concept, but lacks a good interpreter. It's growing in scope though and getting serious following from the avant garde. But let's face it, graphics designers in general are a tad conservative. Just look at the amount of Apple centered saps you'll find in the field. Like driving an oldtimer for it's classy style.

Anonymous said...

We're starting to use SVG extensively because we're creating technical graphics for our data sheets that need to be viewed on both the Web (in our CMS) and rendered to high-fidelity PDF via our XSL:FO rendering engine. It works quite well, but we've hit a snag with Symbols. Illustrator saves glyphs in the Symbol font to "SymbolMT" in the actual XML code. SymbolMT isn't recognized by the rendering engine, so it doesn't render certain mathematical symbols. The workaround is to manually replace the symbols in the XML file with XML entities, but we'd rather have Illustrator save to the normal Symbol font. Any suggestions?

digimom said...

I bet lots of Illustrator users would use SVG more if they knew more about it - so I think you should tell us more!

dblatner said...

I thought SVG was pretty much dead, and now I see that Microsoft (of all people! What happened to silverlight?!) wants to join up again? http://bit.ly/5JmcUi
The world is all topsy turvy!

Leon said...

I believe SVG should be better supported by browsers as it has potential to be the EPS/ AI of the web. No more flash workarounds when all you want is a scalable graphic.
I wonder why it never caught on but hey, CSS took a while also.....

I would definitely like to learn more about it. And shame on Adobe to drop support.