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Making SVG Images Draw Well (2015 update)


 QUESTION: What is the best way to make SVG images that draw properly in VideoScribe?

ANSWER:  I believe the tips below will help you get the best results with the fewest problems (such as improperly drawn images, visual glitches, interface and timeline problems, slow downs, freezing, crashing or failure to save, load, or render). Most of these tips are for Adobe Illustrator but may work similarly in inkscape or other programs

1) USE THE PEN OR PENCIL TOOL (or the paintbrush with a trick):

The pen and pencil tools create stroked paths and that is what videoscribe "draws" by default. The paintbrush tool makes lines that videoscribe considers to be fills instead of paths, so it tends to "outline" them if it can't find any actual stroked paths in the SVG.

If you want to use the paintbrush tool for your lines, you can make videoscribe appear to draw the paintbrush lines the same as stroked paths by drawing a stroked path OVER (covering) the paintbrush line and then making the stroked path transparent. In fact, in most cases, you can just select and DUPLICATE your paintbrush path(s), convert the duplicate path to a regular basic stroked path and then set the opacity of it to zero.

The  transparent stroke method is described in this (old) official video (starting at 2:00 into the video): VideoScribe tutorial -- Creating your own SVGs

Related official support post: "Create your own images" <-see "method 2" in that post

Somwhat related official support post: "Fill an image with color using the hand"

2) SIMPLER IS BETTER (if you are having any problems):  The simplest, most bug-free SVGs will generally be well under 100KB and contain only stroked paths and/or filled paths. It may be best to avoid problematic data like embedded images, masking or clipping paths, or glows or other effects which may contribute to freezes or crashes. A hand drawn SVG will generally "draw" better than an jpg that has been "auto traced" to become vector art. If you auto trace, try to adjust the settings to provide smoother lines instead of hundred and hundreds of nodes (also called anchor points).

3) DRAWING ORDER and color fills: In general, videoscribe will draw lines (stroked paths) in the same order that they were drawn when the SVG was made. If you use auto trace to convert an image to stroked paths then the drawing order may seem somewhat arbitrary and the drawing hand may jump all around the image while drawing. Using groups or any type of subfolders in your adobe illustrator SVG may affect the drawing order. filled areas appear last by default. You can use the zero opacity trick mentioned in tip #1 to make videoscribe "draw" the filled colors. another related link is at the bottom of this list.

4) GROUPS, SUBFOLDERS, NESTED LAYERS etc: It may be best to just to avoid them because they may affect the drawing order in unexpected ways (related thread: Layers Not Drawn In Order ). Drag all paths out of subfolders/sub layers/groups into the root folder/layer. If you are a more advanced user, you can use subfolders to do a few tricks but for beginners they will probably just be a headache.

5) DELETE ALL HIDDEN LAYERS:  from SVGs before you save them. (hidden layers increase file size. larger file sizes require more memory to process.) If you import a huge image and then trace it and hide it... just delete it before saving to reduce file size.  Also there are are some youtube tutorials (not official videoscribe tutorials) that mention leaving embedded JPGs or pngs or other images in your SVG files. If you do that, be sure to optimize your images (to reduce image size and file size to appropriate levels) before importing them. Otherwise, they may contribute to freezing and crashing.

6) FIX WIDE IMAGES: if your (SVG, JPG, png or GIF) image is approximately as wide as it is high. If it is about twice as wide as it is high, it will probably import at a good size. If it is REALLY wide and not very high (like a horizontal line or a single long line of text), it will import HUGE because of the way videoscribe scales imported images.  For really wide images, it can be helpful to add a transparent circle (use the ellipse tool with a zero-opacity fill and no stroke) around you wide image.


NOTE: starting in about 2013, with ADOBE CREATIVE CLOUD, (and the corresponding versions of Inkscape I think,) the programs include some data in SVGs that can cause a variety of undesirable effects in videoscribe (black blobs or black fill colors, artifacts where lines intersect, SVGs that cause various bugs in the videoscribe user interface...).  For inkscape, I'd probably recommend that you simply install the older version (0.48 I believe) on their downloads page. For whatever version of Illustrator you use, here are the recommended SVG save settings :

 Regarding Embed or Link: If you happen to have a jpg or png or other images included in your SVG, selecting "Embed" will include them in the saved SVG, which can be a useful, simple way to incorporate a photo or shaded illustration with your own vector line art. (However, be aware that embedding images increases file size and might possibly contribute to slowdowns or freezes, so you may want to use them sparingly or at least only embed images with smaller file sizes. ) Selecting "Link" instead of "embed" will essentially kick out any inserted images and save them as separate files which will make your SVG smaller, but videoscribe will NOT display the linked images. 

According to a previous thread, Presentation Attributes" can also be set to "Style Attributes"

Hope that helps,

Mike (VideoScribe user)

1 person has this question
Please read tip #7 in the original post.

If you still have problems, attach your SVG so someone can look at it.

-Mike (videoscribe user)

Hi Mike, the save settings have changed – I can't select the settings as I did before (and as shown in #7). 

I attach a screenshot of the new dialogue box and my SVG.


Correction! By doing a "save as" instead of "export", I can get that same dialogue box... but even when I save with your suggested settings, I'm still having the same problem (thin lines until the draw is finished). :-(


Good catch. That's correct. Illustrator CC also has an EXPORT option to save SVGs optimized for web. Videoscribe has not been updated to handle the formatting used in those optimized SVGs in some cases. Please be sure to use Save as> SVG instead of EXPORT>SVG.

1) The SVG you attached was saved using EXPORT for web which may contain formatting or data  (or lack of data) that displays imperfectly in videoscribe. that's why, when the drawing is complete, you get the lines that are much wider than the 3 pt stroke you specified. (tip #7)  The line width you see during the drawing process is the correct stroke size of 3 pt. If you want a wider stroke, increase the stroke value.

2) opening the web optimized SVG and then resaving it with the correct save settings probably will not fix an SVG that has already been saved using EXPORT for web

3) you made those shapes with the line tool and the ellipse tool instead of the pen or pencil too, so your results may not be optimal Note the artifacts on the circle as it draws (see tip #1)

4) unrelated problem: really wide images  import too large and must be scaled down in videoscribe which sometimes has unwanted results. (see tip #6)

If you discard the bad SVG and make a new drawing with the correct save settings, it should draw correctly.

-Mike (videoscribe user)


Thanks Mike. Here's another one. In VS it just shows as a black silhouette nor does it draw well. I basically told this illustrator to do what you said to do and this is what I got.  


We seem to be doing this :

1) your illustrator makes an SVG without knowing how the file needs to be made for videoscribe
2) you test an SVG and find out that it doesn't work right
3) you attach the SVG here and ask for help
4) I identify problems that have already been described in this thread.
5) you relay that information back to your illustrator
6) the whole process repeats

As we have now reached our fourth SVG, let's break the cycle. Please link your illustrator directly to this thread so your illustrator can fix or avoid the problems. Ideally the illustrator will have a videoscribe account to test the SVGs before sending them to you.

Bear in mind that if the illustrator follows TIP1 (use the pen or pencil tool with no added styles or effects)  and TIP7 (use the best save options), no other tips are required.

I hope to make a new version of this thread soon to provide the tips in a clearer format with a "short and simple" list of tips followed by a more complete version covering advanced topics and troubleshooting.

-Mike (videoscribe user)


UPDATE to the image "pop" at the end of each drawing:

 After lots and lots and lots of experimenting, I think I have identified the little bit of code that can cause or fix the visual pop at the end of SVG drawings in videoscribe.  Example video with and without pop:

the code i edited is this:

I still have more testing to do... Instead of editing the SVG in a text editor as I did, this can probably be accomplished with settings in illustrator or inkscape.

Important bits may be:
1) whole numbers and no decimals in the highlighted area of the code,
2) possibly specifically 0,0 for the coordinates of the reference point as shown in the highlighted part
3) "responsive" setting when you save the SVG (I think that eliminates the height and width tags).  I don't have that setting in my version of illlustrator.

-Mike (videoscribe user)  


Hi dear VS users. I've read it all but maybe missed something.

I drew my scetch in AI with no fill, just outlines. I need it to be drawn in VS with chalk, so my outlines are white.


But for some reason when I import it to VS it becomes this


Black outlines and black fill from nowhere.

Could someone help and tell what do I miss?

Thank a lot.


Thank you for attaching the screenshot.

Please refer to tip number 7, at the beginning of this thread, which discusses unwanted black blobs, black color fills and other glitches that occur will adobe illustrator if you do not use the recommended save options. The CSS attributes option is probably the one you need to change when saving your SVG.

If that does not solve your problem, please attach the SVG.

A newer version of this thread can be found here:

Making SVG Images Draw Well (2017 update)

I hope that helps,

Mike(videoscribe user)

You're my hero! It works! and sorry I didn't pay attaention to the tip 7.

Thanks for posting your results!

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