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Vectex: SVG Vector Texture Plugin for Blender

43

Blender user Marcelo de Gomensoro Malheiros have just released the first version of his vector texture plugin: Vectex.Vectex

Not sure of what this is good for? Imagine that you have a bitmap logo applied to, say, that cool wine bottle you just finished. But now you had this great idea of making an animation where the camera zooms out from a particular detail of the logo until the whole bottle is framed.

Well... if you haven't made an insanely huge bitmap for the logo, the results on that zooming won't be as good as you though of. This is where this plugin could be very handy.

From the author:

Its main goal is to be a robust texture plugin for rendering text, signs and
any other type of vector art, without the need for an explicit conversion to a
bitmap image. Correctly used it can both give a better quality and use less
memory than a bitmap.

To have a clearer idea of how cool this can be, watch this little video on YouTube.

The main features of this plugin are:

  • SVG support for paths and basic shapes, using solid colors.
  • Makes possible to render an arbitrarily detailed texture, calculating only the needed parts of it (called tiles) in the best resolution for the final Blender output.
  • Uses the Anti-Grain Geometry (AGG) library for very fast and accurate rendering.
  • Tiles are cached and kept in memory as long as they are needed or the memory limit is reached. It is also possible to see how much memory it is using.
  • Tiles which are of solid color are stored efficiently as a single RGB, both reducing memory usage and increasing the performance.
  • Implements trilinear texturing (mipmapping and bilinear texture interpolation).
  • Can apply a color code to the texture for the identification of different detail levels.
  • It is possible to define the base color (paper color) as where the SVG illustrations is drawn onto.
  • Has a simple text entry for specifying the SVG file.
  • Multiple instances of the plugin can be run independently in parallel, with different textures and settings.

For more info you can read the BlenderArtists.org thread.

Thanks, Marcelo, for this very useful plugin!

About Author

Virgilio Vasconcelos

Brazilian animator who uses Blender since 2003. Professor of 3D (with Blender, of course) and Digital 2D animation at UFMG (Federal University, Minas Gerais' state), Brazil. Writer of Blender 2.5 Character Animation Cookbook, from Packt Publishing. Has a MFA degree with a research involving tools for free character deformation in 3D and is now performing a PhD research on distributed creation of media and animation.

43 Comments

  1. This would be very useful for road markings, signs, building text, logos, and other stuff that is either scalable or made using a vector graphics program like Inkscape. It will at least save time in exporting vector drawings to bmp.

  2. I've always wanted to see the near-death of textures in 3d...

    I love geometry. It just looks so... sharp and spiffy...

  3. Cool plugin, thanks.

    Stou, it won't save time to export a vector drawing to bmp, every vector based application can do this better than Blender.

  4. this is great I asked for such plugin some time ago.
    it might also be handy too make textures that control were hair comes and for displacement mapping etc. (if it is compatible with these systems?)

  5. Wow, a very cool plugin!

    I just thought of something and I have no idea if it's possible but:

    Wouldn't it be cool if based on the z-depth of layers in an SVG, we could have the option of seeing paralax in the texture?

  6. Wow, this is pretty sweet.
    Now we're one step closer my dream come true!
    Eventually, I would love to be able to place a vector texture placed on a model(like this plugin can do) that can be rendered out as a vector image(like what VRM[looks like it's down at the moment. Hmm...] can do) without a pixel based translation step in between. I think that THAT would ROCK.

  7. Wow, this is really cool. Perhaps it can be bundled with Blender? (maybe even integrated!?). Too bad I didn't have this a couple months ago when I was making an animation that involved a lot of zoom.

  8. I have been wanting this feature for ages. Once the new UI is in place I'd love to see the whole of Inkscape working as a plugin. I love Inkscape but I don't like the windowing system. All the buttons are too big and the tools disappear every time you click on the page. If the same could be done for gimp that would be cool too. Imagine GIMP running in a single window. Apricot look like they have some dream along these lines.

  9. Hasn't this feature been around for quite some time? I've used AI files (Adobe Illustrator) before and had infinite resolution when I used a logo for something I made.

    Though I agree SVGs would be better since they are more open.

  10. Angel Echavarria on

    Thats an amazing tool, and if you need to make an svg fast from another image, this web utility can be VERY usefull ^^
    vectormagic.com

  11. Question:
    Does this plugin work in the game engine?
    Could this be the death of (UGGH) bitmap text in the BGE?

    So many uses for this plugin!

  12. Wow. Great plugin. I can't wait to use it.

    @Phil Holden - the upcoming release of Inkscape gets rid of the window disappearing problem. They now are accessible as tabs on the right side of the screen. I also hated how the windows would always disappear. And I agree, the buttons are too big. They take up too much of the screen.

  13. Richard MacIntyre on

    http://sourceforge.net/forum/message.php?msg_id=4812615

    Marc wrote:
    > I think Richard asked about this some time ago - using an SVG file as a texture for 3D objects. The video
    > makes the advantage pretty clear.
    > Of course, then there's the issue of the built-in SVG renderer, what kind of support for SVG effects it supports,
    > etc. But I thought it was cool to watch:
    > http://my.opera.com/area42/blog/vectex-a-svg-texture-plugin-for-blender

    Good call, Marc.
    Coincidentally, I just got online and just before heading here, checked Blender News, and caught that as well.
    What the article, or softare, seems to miss, however, and what I think could be as useful and important, if not more so, would be the ability to take/extract those 3D-mapped 2D-curves (the beziers that form the textures) and subsequently export them back (with options to Separate them from, or keep them Together with the curves of the 3D objects that they were initially mapped to) via, say, the Vector Renderer, to a 2D Vector program, like Inkscape, for further work; and/or keep and use them as modeling elements in their own right within AoI, or whatever.

    Perhaps someone suitably-motivated could apply and extend the technology to AoI. ;)

    Rich

  14. This is a great plugin!!! I remember some months ago some guys were discussing the idea of making a SVG plugin for blender... Seems someone had the guts and inspiration to do it. Great job Marcelo.

    It's a but unstable and slow for my taste... On my XP Pro SP 2 Windows the first time I tried to render something Blender froze. I restarted the application and tried to render with the same SVG and everything went fine... odd huh? Well... guess that it is not "a bug" until I can reproduce it.

    NielsBlender, you can import .so files even if you're using Windows.

  15. Absolutely some of the best news I've read here in a while... I've wanted this functionality since... well forever.

    Richard MacIntyre: exporting a vector from blender relative to the camera for instance is a real pain, mostly because bezier handles don't act nicely with camera matrixes. So you'd have to sample at lots of points and redo all the handles. It's interesting, but a very very big job... really big.

  16. Richard MacIntyre on

    @macouno:
    > Richard MacIntyre: exporting a vector from blender relative to the camera for instance is a real pain, mostly
    > because bezier handles don't act nicely with camera matrixes. So you'd have to sample at lots of points and redo
    > all the handles. It's interesting, but a very very big job… really big.

    Fair enough, and thanks.
    FWIW, Art of Illusion, and I imagine, Blender, has a "vector renderer" that already exports to SVG its wireframe and/or control-curves, so I wonder if an easier, interim solution might be to convert the mapped bezier into a different kind of curve that might then be manageable. If it's SVG, the curves, if less than perfect, could then be re-edited/refashioned in an SVG program like Inkscape.

    Rich

  17. Fair enough, and thanks.
    FWIW, Art of Illusion, and I imagine, Blender, has a “vector renderer” that already exports to SVG its wireframe and/or control-curves, so I wonder if an easier, interim solution might be to convert the mapped bezier into a different kind of curve that might then be manageable. If it’s SVG, the curves, if less than perfect, could then be re-edited/refashioned in an SVG program like Inkscape.

  18. This is one with the very best blogs Ive ever study. Youve got some mad skill right here, man. I just hope that you dont lose your fashion because youre certainly one with the coolest bloggers out there.

  19. How? Who? Where? When? Why?
    It does not work, unfortunately.
    Files .so are useless.
    Is there a .py or .txt file that you can share?

    Pretty please...?

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