Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

enter image description here

This image (original SVG from Wikipedia, public domain) was created using the following procedure:

  1. Create a 3D model in Google sketchup
  2. Export as PDF
  3. Import in Inkscape
  4. Save as SVG

Is there a straightforward way to produce such a SVG with software that runs (natively) on Ubuntu? (Pantograph, a Blender plugin, has only broken download links; VRM, another Blender plugin works with Belnder 2.4x, but not with Blender 2.6x.)

share|improve this question
Well It's all a matter of Shadows and lights.. not difficutl to do, and Inkscape has a 3D tool only it's a rectangle. – Uri Herrera Jan 30 '12 at 12:03
It's a matter of light, shadows ann perspective. This is quite difficult to do in Inkscape unless all your objects are rectangular and aligned with the axes of Inkscape's isometric ("3D") grid. – Jan Jan 30 '12 at 19:59
up vote 5 down vote accepted

You have two options:

Option 1

The first requires a recent builds of Blender (available from Graphicall), which can now use the Freestyle rendering engine

Freestyle is a software for Non-Photorealistic Line Drawing rendering from 3D scenes.

Within Freestyle there exists a plugin, SVGWriter, that can write Blender scenes to SVGs. Instructions for usage are available on that page. Below is an example of its output:

Original Blender render: enter image description here

Freestyle SVG output: enter image description here

Freestyle is still in development and you can follow its progress on their blog.

The still image SVG writer in SVGWriter currently only renders one image i.e. you can't render each frame to an SVG. I've rewritten the script to do this, and the author has informed me that my modification will be integrated into the main download in a future update. Here is the modification

Option 2

The second option only allows you to render bezier curves. First, you must install svgwrite for Python 3. You can do this by going into the folder and running

sudo python3 install

You may need to copy the svgwrite folder into .blender/version_number/python/lib/python3.2/

You then need to download SVGwriter for Blender. Install Git and then run

git clone git://

Inside the downloaded folder you will need to copy the Python scripts (those ending in .py) and overwrite the ones located either in ./blender/[version_number]/scripts/addons/io_curve_svg/ or in /usr/lib/blender/scripts/addons/io_curve_svg/ .

Finally, in Blender, draw your bezier curve and then go to File > Export > SVG. Here's an example of the output

Original Blender curve enter image description here

SVG output. The line thickness was increased for clarity enter image description here

share|improve this answer

Don't know if I come too late. For simple 3D modeling + vector rendering there is swift3D (commercial software). Results are not bad and editable with illustrator (with of course complex pathes).

share|improve this answer
Swift3D does not even run under Linux. – Andrea Lazzarotto Jan 25 '15 at 22:06

There are many free plugins for Sketchup and one of those does just what you require,and you dont need to buy Sketchup pro. By the way it is able to export many types of 3D formats via free plugins also. Check your info before giving poor advice C.S Cameron

Here is the plugin page for reference

share|improve this answer
Good to know. What a pitty Google doesn't make a Linux version. Will try with VirtualBox. – Jan Feb 29 '12 at 17:34

LibreOffice Draw will open graphics in many formats and will export SVG.

You might require the extension for importing PDF files available in the software center.

Inkscape is also available at the download center.

Last time I tried Sketchup ran nearly perfect in Wine and Blender was available at the software center.

Am I missing an importent part of this question? are you looking for a 3D modeling program?

share|improve this answer
Yes, I'm looking for a simple 3D modeling application that exports to a flat SVG or PDF. Google Sketchup Pro (paid!) with VirtualBox or Wine may be an option, but I find it hard to tell how well this will work w/o buying Sketchup Pro. Blender 2.4x and the VRM plugin may be another option. I was hoping for a more lightweight solution. – Jan Jan 30 '12 at 20:02
SketchUp Pro has a demo mode that is good for 8 hours. SketchUp Free does just about everything Pro does except export 3D, it does export as BMP,JPG,PNG and TIF, all of which Inkscape will open. I agree Blender can be a bit overwelming. Have you tried FreeCAD? – C.S.Cameron 7 hours ago – C.S.Cameron Jan 31 '12 at 10:09

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.