Why Cricut Love SVG So Much?
What Is SVG?
Why We Need It For Cricut?
Hi creative queens!
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You might be new to Cricut world,
or maybe you’ve been using your machine at least every other day since 2006.
(believe it or not, first Cricut machine came out in 2006!)
Either or, let me ask you this question:
Do you know what SVG really is?
And why Cricut loves it so much?
If you answered Not really,
or you don’t much care and still think you can just “get image from google” and use it, then I recommend you keep on reading.
Oh, and if you are serious about starting SVG digital file business, then this is a foundation knowledge you’d have to have to build your SVG business empire on.
So say, what is SVG, really?
1. Scalable Vector Graphic
SVG stands for “Scalable Vector Graphic”.
As this name indicates, SVG files are scalable.
In another words, you can expand it or shrink it without losing its quality.
You know what type of graphics can’t do this?
The orthodox, PNG and JPG images.
While SVG is classified as “Vector Graphic”,
PNG & JPG images are classified as "Raster Graphics."
2. Vector Graphic vs Raster Graphic
So What is Vector and Raster?
It’s not that complicated, I promise.
You know the old Mario Brothers, or King-Kong, right?
Or pack-man? You get the idea.
These retro game characters looks like they are consisting of little dots.
THAT’S Raster Graphic. Well, in an extreme sense.
For more deeper understanding, let’s take this photo for example.
This is a JPG, raster graphic. What is really making this JPG image, well, JPG?
Tiny Dots. ●●●●●
Just few thousands dots lined up on a one, flat surface, but each dots have different colors in order to create shapes & details.
Because of its ability to create in-depth, color-rich & detailed art by combining tiny dots, raster graphics are best used for creating photos.
Hence, extensions such as JPG, PNG.
But because Raster images are made up of tiny pixels, it makes them resolution dependent.
Meaning, if you try to re-size (expand or shrink) raster image, you will lose its resolution due to this reason.
What is this mean for Cricut?
Cricut only recognize the line where a pixel ends.
So this is the reason why Raster image, JPG or PNG is suitable for sticker making.
While JPG can let your printer print a beautiful, complex graphic, you can only cut a line around the graphic.
But wait, what if we wanted to cut more complex shapes, or even layered shapes?
(like circle on circle, or even, text over heart shapes, etc?)
This is where vector graphic comes in.
Vector graphics are digital art that is rendered by a computer using a mathematical formula.
... sounds fancy, doesn't it?
Instead of creating a graphic with tiny dots, vector graphic creates its graphic with lines, shapes, and colors.
When these information is uploaded on Cricut, the software reads all of the necessary information, and determines lines and shapes for cut lines.
(even if there's few shapes overlapping each other.)
If there’s more than 1 color, it recognizes that variety as well and sort the pieces by colors; making it possible to cut each elements separately.
This is the reason why Cricut requires SVG files for the best cutting result.
Because vector is not resolution dependent, it is scalable.
Meaning, vector art can be re-sized (expanded or shrink) without losing it quality.
3. SVG is like a digital blue print
To give you more clear understanding, I encourage you to recognize vector graphic as a digital blue print.
Let's say, once you made a vector version of your logo, then all you have to do is to go back to it, scale it BIG, then save it under PNG.
Now, make it TINY, and again save as JPG.
You want to make t-shirt with the logo?
All you have to do is to hand the vectorized logo to the t-shirt shop.
Need to make poster?
Just submit the logo to your graphic designer, she or he will know what to do.
If your logo was still in raster form, you won't be able to do any of this.
Since it is resolution dependent, you’d have to edit the logo each time.
Also, you will lose its quality each time you edit it as well.
In any case, create vector version first, you will save so much time and your business will look more professional (since vector can deliver crisp image for various of different sizes!)
4. List of Vector (SVG) editing software
I won’t go much into details (I will do in-depth tutorial on this one later on), but here are 3 vector editing software choices.
1. Adobe Illustrator
Editing Ability ★★★★★
Beginner Friendliness ★★★★☆
When it comes to editing and creating vector graphics, you can’t beat the one and only Adobe Illustrator.
I have been using this software since the day 1, and I honestly don’t know what to do without it.
One of the many reasons why I strongly recommend this software is that if you need any answer to whatever you are trying to achieve, 99.9% you will find an answer from simply by Googling it, or from watching YouTube video.
If you are serious about starting SVG digital file business, then I strongly recommend you to start familiarizing yourself to this software.
Only downside is, it is a subscription based service,
and it is $20.99/month (1 year commitment), or $239.88 annually.
But, they offer 7-day free trial when you sign up.
You can take an advantage of this, try this software out, see if you like it and cancel before the trial ends if you don’t like it! No mass, No fuss!
Editing Ability ★★★★☆
Beginner Friendliness ★★★★☆
If Adobe Illustrator is the Barneys New York, Inkscape is like a Wal-Mart.
It’s cheap (I mean free..), have everything you need, gets the job done.
I mean, what more you need, right?
I personally use Adobe Illustrator, because I took few classes and had the software already running on my laptop.
But If I were starting up my career as graphic designer from scratch with no budget to spare, then I’d pick Inkscape to start with.
Inkscape is download-based software, you’d have to install it on your computer.
If you end up enjoying graphic design, then switch to Illustrator.
Once you understand the concept of vector and how to edit it, you will be able to make the transition from Inkscape to Adobe Illustrator without much practice.
Editing Ability ★★★☆☆
Beginner Friendliness ★★★☆☆
BoxySVG is a web browser-based vector editing software.
You won’t need to download any software on your computer,
and you can access it from any computer if you’d want.
It’s free to use, you can save your work under various extensions even to PNG, JPG and more.
BUT, it lacks a major tool that I can’t live without: Image Trace.
With Adobe Illustrator, there’s a tool called “Image Trace”.
What is does, is that software automatically trace my artwork and turn it into vector from raster image.
As a SVG designer, this feature is essential and can’t live without.
Unfortunately, BoxySVG lack of this feature.
It is a good software to learn about vector though- you can create shape, draw designs, and save it as SVG.
What did you think?
I hope you learned something new today!
Let me know if you have anything you’d want to learn from me!