Doodly allows users to import their own graphics and it accepts several different image formats. These formats are JPEG, PNG, SVG, and GIF files. In our previous blogs, we talked about how these image formats differ from each other. In today’s blog, we will focus on the use of a format that we don’t often use in our day-to-day photo uploads on social media. We’re talking about the SVG image format.

SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphic. Unlike other image formats, SVG files do not rely on unique pixels. Instead, they use vector data. Just how are SVG files different from other image formats? Well, we’re all familiar with JPEG and PNG files which are the most common image formats. These files are considered as raster-graphic formats which means they store image information in a grid of colored squares, also called a bitmap. They are pixel-based. On the other hand, SVG files are considered vector graphics. These formats store images as a set of points and lines between points.

Both PNG and SVG images are great formats to use in Doodly. Let’s try to compare these two formats to see if they have similarities or they are totally different from each other.

PNG versus SVG

PNG and SVG both support transparent backgrounds which make each asset easy to navigate. That being said, you can move your assets around, place them closer to other images without covering a portion of other assets. You won’t be bothered by the visible border or background of images which we often see on JPEG files. Despite being both user-friendly, each format has different attributes. These things can help you decide whether to use PNG or SVG files on your Doodly projects.

Let’s start with SVG files. SVG images are scalable. Meaning, we can resize it, scale it up or down without sacrificing the quality of an image. Yes, they can expand to any size without losing their resolution. With PNG, if you scale up the image too far, it becomes grainy and pixelated. If the image is too small, it can become indistinct. While PNGs can handle very high resolutions, they are not expandable.

When it comes to the file size, PNGs are often larger compared to SVGs because they can handle high resolutions. However, the larger file sizes can lead to slow processing when you are sharing, opening, or saving a PNG format. On the other hand, SVGs are much smaller in size. Meaning, it won’t interfere with your computer processor. However, too much detail set on an SVG image may still slow down the loading process of your images. We’re talking about having too many drawing paths in an SVG file which we will discuss as we move on.

Let’s take a look at an actual PNG and SVG image. To do that, we viewed an image from pixabay.com. We chose a simple image of a dachshund drawn with the use of black lines.

We selected the 46 kB PNG file and here’s what it looks like when image size is increased:

At first glance, you won’t notice any difference but the moment we increase the size of the image, you will see the jagged lines showing. You might think it’s probably because we chose the smallest size of PNG file from the options provided. Well actually even if we choose the 152 kB version of this image or the largest resolution from the options given which is 1920 x 1421, we still get the same result. The same output is observed when we try to manually scale it and increase the PNG file size in Doodly.

Now let’s have a look at the SVG format:

Compared to the PNG file, the image is much clearer even if we increased the file size to 500%. The same output is observed when we try to increase the size of the SVG image in Doodly.

SVG’s Drawing Paths

Apart from being expandable, another reason why you might want to use SVG on your Doodly projects is that SVG has “draw paths” in them. This is one advantage of an SVG file. While PNG formats do not have draw paths, Doodly allows us to add draw paths in them. Not just PNG but even with other supported image formats, we can add draw paths. With SVG, it’s just a little easier because they have it in them ready to be loaded right after you import it in Doodly.

Draw path is the key to an image’s animation. It helps provide the illusion that an image is being drawn by hand strokes. Well, we can always add the hand drawing animation to any imported image in Doodly but having draw paths set to the exact draw lines of an image gives a much more realistic take on the hand drawing gesture.

Let’s take a look at a draw path of an SVG image:

This will launch the Edit Asset screen. From here, you will see on the upper right side of your screen that your image is being scribbled diagonally. This is the default animation of an imported image in Doodly. As you can see, it’s not really a drawing motion. It’s just scribbling the image to reveal it.

To see the draw path of your imported SVG image, we scroll down to Reveal Paths at the bottom right side of your screen and click Load SVG Paths just right below it. You will only see this option when you’re working with an SVG file.

As we can see, there are a total of 17 layers created for this simple SVG file. Doodly automatically understands that each of these layers is a drawing path. But, having draw paths doesn’t mean that each path is concise enough to cover each draw line on the image. If we look at the image closely, there are gaps in between draw lines which resulted in fading or missing draw paths when the image is drawn.

To cover these gaps, we need to adjust the paths so we can have solid lines, full coverage when your image is being drawn by hand.

Here are 2 easy ways on how you can fix the imperfect lines:

a. Move the draw paths.

You can do this by using the Move point cursor within the Tools menu. Click the draw points that are near the gaps and drag them to cover the exposed draw lines.

b. Fatten the draw path size.

Another option to address the exposed lines is by increasing the size of your draw path. To do that, click the draw points that are near the gaps. From your right side, locate the Path size menu and drag it to the right to increase the size of your draw paths. You will notice from the live preview screen that after increasing the path size, your drawing lines are fuller and you have a solid coverage on your lines as the image is being drawn.

Adding Draw Paths Manually

Having a precise draw path is not really necessary for your Doodly images. While it can make your animation look neat and on point, let’s not forget that images are usually just drawn in less than 5 seconds. In fact, our default animation is only 3 seconds and sometimes, animation time needs to be less than that to give way to your scene’s texts or message. Ideally, a whiteboard animation should only last for 2 minutes. We don’t want to waste time just drawing a few images in our video. Of course, we want to maximize our 2 minutes by adding several great images that are being hand-drawn. So if you have other things to add to your video, you might want to focus on it too. Otherwise, you might lose some precious time just trying to perfect your draw paths.

However, not all preset draw path in an SVG file is accurate. There are times when a draw path of an SVG image is all over the place. Some have too many missing draw paths or paths are just scattered everywhere which makes the animation a little chaotic. If this is the case, then we really need to work on adding our own draw paths.

Take a look at this example:

The above sample is an actual SVG image downloaded from pixabay. You will see that the draw path is only added on the edges, the beak, some on the head, and other draw paths are found at the bottom. As a result, the animation doesn’t look good at all. If you encounter the same issue as above, it’s okay to fix the draw paths, or might as well start from scratch.

Here’s how you can add your own draw paths:

1. Remove the existing draw path.

In some cases, removing a few draw paths and adding your new path is good enough to fix the issue. However, with the given sample SVG file above, it is easier to just clear all the draw paths and add your own afterwards. To do that, we need to click Clear All, right after you load the SVG paths.

2. Maximize your image.

Before adding your own draw path, it is a best practice to always zoom-in your image. This gives you a clearer view of the drawn lines making it easier for you to add your draw paths.

3. Add your draw paths.

When you’re comfortable with your image size, you can start plotting your draw path. Your strategy on how you will add your draw path, where you will begin, which path needs to be thin or thick is totally up to you. As we have mentioned, the default animation is only 3 seconds so it’s okay not to be too precise but make sure your image is fully covered by draw paths. When working with colored images just like our sample image, you need to fill in the entire image with a draw path to produce the illusion of coloring the picture.

With the image above, we first placed a thin draw path following the black lines then added thick lines to reveal the duck’s body. If you don’t have the time to do all the draw paths, you can use thick draw paths all throughout the drawings for faster coverage of the image.

4. Lastly, don’t forget to save the changes made.

Complex SVG Draw Paths

Some SVG formats have complex details. These are the files that have too many draw paths in them. Can you imagine having 627 draw paths in an image? Actually, there are more images with greater, more accurate details than our sample image below and they have more draw paths in them. Can we use these images in Doodly?

Well, the maximum SVG file size that can be imported in Doodly is within 360kB, that’s the same file size as our example. While you can import these images in Doodly, they may not work seamlessly as compared to SVG files that are smaller in size. They lag, which makes our scene transition freeze. Given that, it is best to use simple, less complex SVG images. The smallest the size, the better.

If you really want to use images with more details, you might want to get rid of all the draw paths, make it fewer, or just set the reveal mode to Fade instead of Draw. That way, they can load faster compared to being drawn having 627 draw paths.

Converting PNG to SVG

If you have a PNG image and want to change its format to SVG, there is a way to convert it. You can use a software or a web-based program that allows PNG images to be converted as SVG files. By doing so, your image becomes scalable and a draw path is added to them which you can load in Doodly. As we have mentioned, some of these draw paths may not fully cover your image so you may need to redo them still in Doodly.

And that concludes our blog today. Should you use PNG or SVG? Well, it totally depends on how you will use it in your Doodly project but both are ideal to use in Doodly. Until next time. 🙂

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