5.7. Paths and SVG files

SVG, standing for Scalable Vector Graphics, is an increasingly popular file format for vector graphics, in which graphical elements are represented in a resolution-independent format, in contrast to raster graphics; in which graphical elements are represented as arrays of pixels. GIMP is mainly a raster graphics program, but paths are vector entities.

Fortunately, paths are represented in SVG files in almost exactly the same way they are represented in GIMP. This compatibility makes it possible to store GIMP paths as SVG files without losing any information. You can access this capability in the Paths dialog.

It also means that GIMP can create paths from SVG files saved in other programs, such as Inkscape, a popular open-source vector graphics application. This is nice because dedicated vector editing programs have much more powerful path-manipulation tools than GIMP does. You can import a path from an SVG file using the Paths dialog.

The SVG format handles many other graphical elements than just paths: among other things, it handles figures such as squares, rectangles, circles, ellipses, regular polygons, etc. GIMP cannot do anything with these entities, but it can load them as paths.

[Note] Note

Creating paths is not the only thing GIMP can do with SVG files. It can also open SVG files as GIMP images, in the usual way.