Why does my svg file look different in different apps?
January 1, 2021 8:04 AM   Subscribe

I am trying to cut a file with my Cricut Maker but the svg I created doesn’t look right.

I am using my rudimentary skills to create a graphic to cut into a vinyl car decal. I used Inkscape to adapt an existing image and add my own details. I know it’s not perfect but I wanted to cut out a cardstock version as a preview. Here’s what it looks like in Inkscape on my computer and in Inkpad on my ipad. When I open it in Cricut Design Space on my ipad it looks like this. What do I need to do to make it look right?
posted by Biblio to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Are you saving it as an Inkscape SVG or a plain SVG?

It looks like the line widths are not being saved / interpreted correctly. I would try converting all these shapes to paths and eliminating all custom shapes (I'm not sure if that will do the correct thing with the widths automatically or if you'll need to redo them manually by following the existing lines).
posted by confluency at 8:37 AM on January 1, 2021

You could also try exporting or printing to PDF, and reimporting that file to make a new SVG.
posted by confluency at 8:38 AM on January 1, 2021

I haven't used a cricut but I use SVGs for laser cutting and there are similar issues. You probably want to create outlines - where the knife needs to go to cut, rather than solid filled objects. You made those + signs using 2 lines at an appropriate thickness, but instead you need to actually draw them out - in Inkscape I'd use 2 rectangles and then do a union to get rid of the overlap.

(for laser cutting you can fill in your outlines if you want, the laser software ignores them)
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:49 AM on January 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

It's been a while since I used Inkscape, but judging by the way the Cricut version looks, you need to create outlines. The skinny shield line and + signs in Inkscape have weight (thickness) that make them appear as rectangles. The Cricut just sees a 1 pt line.
posted by jraz at 9:04 AM on January 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: In Inkscape, you can convert a stroke (the thickness attribute of the line) to a path (an explictly defined shape), which Cricut will more easily work with. "Stroke to Path" is the command you're looking for.

If you created the + symbols as two lines, you may also need to use a boolean union operation on the two resulting paths ( the | and - ) to get a + that works the way you want.
posted by Alterscape at 9:15 AM on January 1, 2021 [3 favorites]

Assuming you do in fact want to cut out the shapes as they appear in Inkscape (rather than using the Cricut pens to draw the design), it sounds like Alterscape has the relevant Inkscape procedures. You will also need to use the "union" operation they mention to combine the shield outline (once it's been converted) and the large cross, otherwise your Cricut will interpret these as overlapping shapes to be cut separately.

Lastly, if you're cutting this out as a stencil or decal, and you want all the little crosses to stay in the places you've put them, you will need to select everything in Cricut Design Space and use "attach" to keep them all together. Otherwise, when you go to cut, Cricut will rearrange all the individual shapes in order to take up less space and save material.
posted by wreckingball at 10:08 AM on January 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

if you're cutting this out as a stencil or decal, and you want all the little crosses to stay in the places you've put them, you will need to select everything in Cricut Design Space and use "attach" to keep them all together.

I don't know about Cricut but I do hobby work with a CNC plasma cutter which is basically the same thing but with metal.

If you want this thing cut out correctly, you might need to make it all one path/shape -- otherwise they might get cut in an arbitrary order and Cricut might do things like cut the outside border before any of the inner shapes. For example, you probably want it to cut out the little crosses before anything else.

I personally use Illustrator where I accomplish this with the "Pathfinder" toolset, but apparently in Inkscape you want the Boolean Operations menu. You may need to convert everything to a path first. Of course this makes things not very editable so I keep my original shapes on a hidden layer.

This might not be strictly necessary -- again, I'm not familiar with Cricut -- but it's worth keeping in mind if you're not getting the results you want. It's possible the "attach" function automatically does something similar to what I'm describing.
posted by neckro23 at 11:05 AM on January 1, 2021

Best answer: Alterscape's "Stroke to Path" suggestion is what you need to do. I guess you made the major cross as two rectangles, but the others as paths? The large cross has thickness in the preview tool, but everything else doesn't.

One thing about Stroke to Path: it will appear to add any stroke width onto the path. So if you had a very thick line width, it'll look huge after Stroke to Path: change Stroke to None afterwards, though, and it should look okay.

Sometimes line caps and line joins can cause unexpected results after Stroke to Path. I'd recommend keeping the original document somewhere safe and making a copy that you work on for cutting, as other have recommended.
posted by scruss at 12:50 PM on January 1, 2021

Response by poster: I tried Stroke to Path and now I have a huuuuge outline but I know what to do to fix it! Thank you!
posted by Biblio at 6:26 AM on January 2, 2021

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