A Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file is a vector file used by cutting machines to guide the blade and produce a 3D object.
While other kinds of vector files can be used with cutting machines and 3D printers, SVG is the most common. Every machine produced by Cricut uses Scalable Vector Graphics files.
But how do you create these files to use them with Cricut systems? The following article will break down all you need to know about SVG files, including all the simplest ways to make Scalable Vector Graphics files.
What’s The Difference Between SVG Files And PNG Or JPG Files?
The majority of the digital images you come into contact with are bitmap images, which are made up of pixels. These images are recorded within the file using the information on all of the pixels.
This allows standard printers to process the required information for printing an image; it knows which pixel needs which color.
For a machine like a Cricut machine, though, extra information is required- namely directional information, or vector information.
This will tell the machine which path the blade should be taking to cut the user’s desired shape.
Scalable Vector Graphics files are still image files. They just contain extra information.
How To Create SVG Files (Adobe Illustrator)
You can use Cricut’s own Design Space to create SVG files, but a program like Adobe Illustrator tends to be the preferred choice, mainly because it’s the program that people already know.
There also aren’t any benefits from using Design Space rather than something like Illustrator, so if you already have access to the Adobe Suite, you probably won’t need to bother with Cricut Design Space.
It should be noted that for SVG files as simple as mere text, you don’t even really need paid software like Illustrator.
Canva is completely free and can be used to save both text and simple graphics as Scalable Vector Graphics files.
The first step to creating an SVG file is, naturally, creating a new document. The size should be 12 inches by 12 inches, which matches the exact size of the cutting mat used by the Cricut.
For this example, we’ll show you how to make the simplest kind of SVG file: text.
To create a document, click on File, then click New. It’s at this stage you’ll be able to pick the right dimensions. Once you’ve inputted the right numbers, remember to make sure that the units of measurement are inches.
The next step is to type in the text you want the file to display. To do this, click on Type, which you’ll find in the panel on the left-hand side of the user interface.
If you’re dealing with more than one word, it tends to be easier if you use a different text box for each. This means you’ll be able to move each word around freely, rather than having to rely on things like line spacing.
If you’d like to change the font of your text, simply click Type, then Font, and then your desired new font.
If the spacing of each word doesn’t look quite right, you’ll be able to easily move them around if you typed them all in their text boxes.
You’ll now be outlining the fonts you’ve used, which is essentially the process that changes the fonts to shapes.
If you skip this step, neither Silhouette Studio nor Cricut Design Space will be capable of actually reading them- you’ll receive an error message instead.
Click on Type, then Create Outlines. One thing worth noting at this stage is that, for your Cricut machine, the simpler the font the better.
So, if the font you’ve chosen has too many ‘nodes’, the final product may not turn out as well as a more mathematically simple design. You’ll be able to check a font’s nodes once you’ve outlined it.
Every time the blade of the Cricut comes to a new node, it changes directions.
While the machine is built to handle more complicated designs, it’s worth remembering that the chances of the blade struggling will increase with every extra node in your design.
You’ll next want to make it so the letters in the font are their shape. Click Window, then click Pathfinder. One of the Shape Modes options will be a tool called Unite.
Select your entire text, and then select Unite. This will remove the tails from your letters, and they’ll all be in the same shape.
To save yourself a little time when it comes to Design Space, turn your text into a Compound Path while you’re still using Illustrator.
You can do this by clicking Object, then clicking Compound Path, and finally selecting Make.
The final step to successfully creating your SVG file should be preceded by saving the Illustrator file as an ‘.ai’ file first. Next, you can save it as an SVG.
Click File, click Save As, and then choose SVG. Save the file, and now your file will be stored as an SVG file, which can be opened in either Design Space or if you’re using the Silhouette, Studio Designer.
Learning all of the relevant keyboard shortcuts will also help to trim down the time it takes you to create SVG files, so that’s worth bearing in mind as well.
Once you’ve saved the document as an SVG file and opened it in Design Space, you can begin the process of actually cutting the design into a tangible object.
Benefits Of Learning How To Create SVG Files
There are several reasons learning how to create SVG files might be worthwhile for you. Firstly, there’s good money to be made in SVG.
There is a wide range of different places where users would happily buy certain SVG files, such as Creative Market, Etsy, Design Bundles, and Mighty Deals.
You could also set up your eCommerce website, and sell your SVG files from there.
Once you’ve learned how to create SVG files on Adobe Photoshop or your preferred alternative, you can turn those files into tangible objects with your Cricut machine.
The benefit to using vector files to create physical objects is that, unlike with PNG or JPG files that work exclusively in pixels, you can resize an SVG file to however large or however small you want, and the quality will remain the same.
This makes for a whole host of opportunities when it comes to the kinds of products you want to sell.
There are several different programs you can use to make SVG files for your Cricut machine. For simpler designs (like text), you’ll often get away with using free software like Canva.
But for more complex graphics, it’s best to either go with Cricut’s own Design Space or a program like Adobe Illustrator.
Be careful not to include too many nodes in your design, though. The more complicated the SVG file, the more the Cricut is going to struggle. But, for the most part, it’s capable of working with quite intricate files.
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