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I have a project I have been working on (an image) within GIMP and I would like to export it as an SVG. Is this possible, or am I going to have to stick with exporting multiple sizes of an image?

I know GIMP can read SVGs, but can it export them?

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up vote 44 down vote accepted

[There are two types of editing software in media production: vector editors and bitmap editors. GIMP is the latter type of editor and .svg is a file extension used for vector graphics.]

Inkscape Install inkscape can do even more. We can import the bitmaps we had already put so much work in to Inkscape and convert them with a few mouse clicks to nice vector graphics.

Here is how to do that:

  1. Open Inkscape.
  2. Choose "File - Import" to import a bitmap file.
  3. Choose to "embed" the image.
  4. Select the image with the select tool ().
  5. Select Path - Trace Bitmap... for settings (below shown for 2 colors = "Scans"):

    enter image description here

  6. Select "Update" for a preview until settings are fine.

  7. Start tracing with "OK".

Now a vectorized image of your original bitmap will be seen on top of the bitmap. We can resize or move this newly created object, delete the original image, or choose to "Object - Ungroup" in case we need to adapt shapes or colour of subobject created.

The advantage of a vector graphic can most rapidly be seen when we increase it's size. Shown below was zooming to 2500%. Top is the original bitmap, bottom is the vectorized object:

enter image description here
This image and object was created from your original from chat

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Thanks for the nice overview. You could improve your answer by giving an answer to the original question. Photoshop CC can supposedly export SVG images, so can Gimp do it? – daniels Nov 5 '15 at 9:56
@daniels: Gimp can be made to export a bitmap embedded in an SVG with a plugin but this (like PS btw) will not trace a bitmap to vector. For this you'd need Inkscape or an other tracer, e.g. autotrace. For the latter there is a Trace gimp plugin which I have not tested. – Takkat Nov 5 '15 at 10:08

GIMP is a raster graphics editor application. SVG is a form of vector graphics. If you want to edit SVG files, you should install the inkscape package and use Inkscape instead. Also, beware that SVG is not totally "scalable" in the sense that you will get a good image at every size you scale to, so depending on what you are creating with it, you may need to draw different sizes of the image, with different amounts of detail, so that the images will look good at those sizes. Icons for an application, for example, do need to be drawn at multiple sizes, whether they are drawn as raster or vector images.

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Even though Gimp is not a vector program, you can actually export single paths as SVG file with the Export Path menu item.

Here is a photo tutorial that expalins in detail how to do it.

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If you need to convert a raster image to a vector image autotrace is a command line tool which does exactly that.

It's available as a debian package on Debian and Ubuntu named autotrace

An example of using it is:

autotrace input.jpg --output-file output.svg --output-format svg

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I tried with two images and it gives Read Error and the other [7B]pT[F5]: invalid chunk type... they are valid png btw – Adrian Jul 5 '15 at 1:38
@Adrian, Shouldn't the command be autotrace input.png --output-file output.svg --output-format svg instead? – Iulian Onofrei Mar 28 at 10:46

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