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SVGator - Cloud Based Vector Graphics Animation Creation Tool

SVGator is capable of some very advanced vector Animations. Spaceman Image.
SVGator is capable of very advanced 
vector images and animations.
Vector graphics are becoming increasingly more popular as more and more artists and designers become aware of their resolution independence. That is, you can scale a vector image to any size and it will retain its sharpness, never pixelate, and retain its file size.

SVG (scalable vector graphic) is a cross platform, standard vector file format that most modern web browsers are capable of displaying. If you want to get started in SVG graphics the free vector drawing app, Inkscape, saves images in this format natively (i.e. by default).

However, if you've wanted to create animated vector graphics with user interactivity (or even just animated only) for the web, the go to tool was Adobe Flash (which is now Animate CC), and not much else.

SVGator is changing all that with their cloud based, vector animation studio. Initially launched in 2017, SVGator evolved to version 2.0 in 2019 with a complete overhaul that is very impressive for just how easy it is to learn. Particularly if you're used to other animation software. 

You may be able to dive right in and figure all the basics out very quickly (as of writing this review I've literally only used SVGator for an afternoon and I was able to complete my logo animation without looking at a single tutorial).

SVGator's Animation Studio should be very familiar to anyone using other animation apps.
SVGator's Animation Studio should be very familiar to
anyone who has used other animation software.

SVGator has three plans, Free, Lite, and Pro. The free plan is free forever, and is what this review is based upon. While it is very limited compared to the paid options, you can still do quite a lot of cool motion graphics with the features available. Animations can be up to 10 seconds, download up to three animated projects every month, and download unlimited static vector images. Nothing is watermarked.

Also cool with the free plan is that you can import your own SVG images up to 7MB in size. Which is what I did once I'd finished playing around, learning the interface and what everything does.

As an illustration/graphic design tool I'd say SVGator's studio is fairly well featured, with most of the essential tools you'd need for creating web graphics. It's never going to compete with the likes of Adobe Illustrator but it doesn't need to, because its primary focus is web graphics, rather than being all purpose.

Transition Curves (Ease) which can be applied to key frames.
Transition Curves (Ease in/out) which
can be applied to key frames.
Where it really shines is with its animation tools, even on the free account, where you're limited to more basic animation of images such as, position/paths, scaling, rotation, opacity, and a few others. 

All of these things are easily key framed, on their own track, for each object in the timeline. As well you can apply transition curves (ease in/out)  to your key frames for smoother, more natural movement. 

When you're ready to export, animations can be saved in two SVG formats, CSS only, or Javascript.

Javascript is necessary if you want your animations to have interactivity such as playing when the mouse pointer is over them etc.

The only problem I encountered was the fact that places like Blogger, and various image libraries, won't let you upload SVG files at all (if anyone knows of an image hosting site that will let you upload and  embed SVG images on third party sites please let me know). I had to convert my Art Time Logo animation to a gif image so you could see it in action here (below). Which means SVGator is more useful for people hosting their own websites where they have full control over the file types they can upload and link to.

Art Time Productions Logo Animation.
Originally created with SVGator but converted to a GIF
in order to display it on Blogger.

My logo animation uses most of the animator options available to a free account and makes for a fairly cool, looping logo sting.

Interestingly, after I exported my animation I was able to open it in Inkscape and add the shaded rectangle background (you see above), save my work, and the file still retained all the Javascript animation.

Though be careful if you try this. Inkscape only displays the first frame of your animation with no way to step through to other frames. My logo animation, on the first frame, has all the opacity set to zero. When I opened it in Inkscape it, initially, looked like a blank file. However all the objects were still there, and the only way to see them on the first frame was to switch to 'Outline' display mode (see image below).

Exported animation reopened in Inkscape, display mode 'outline'.
Exported animation reopened in Inkscape, display mode set to 'outline'
because the opacity of all my objects is set to zero on the first frame.

I really enjoyed using SVGator because it was so easy for me to pick up and use. However, if you're new to this kind of tool, or just want some guidance, there are plenty of short video tutorials on the site that covers all the key features. It's even worth looking at the tutorial titles if you want a quick run down of just how powerful an animation tool SVGator is.

For example, if you've ever wanted to create Whiteboard Style animation, SVGator has option to animate strokes so that objects are drawn onto the screen.

I would like to see the option to export animations as GIF files, which I know would not work for animations with interactive elements, but it would open SVGator up to a wider range of uses (and would save me doing a lot of screen capture and file conversion just to put my animation here on Blogger). 

You could also export animations to GIF at any resolution, making it possible to simply make one animation and then export it at every size needed.

I do understand that GIF support kind of goes against SVGator's goal of encouraging the use of SVG files online but we're not there yet, and this is such a good animation tool, it may even become a 'go to' for GIF Animators.

Overall I'd definitely recommend SVGator. It's great that they have a free forever plan but the paid options are very affordable, and you'll no doubt want some of the features (and the download limits) they offer.

Comments

  1. Interesting. By coincidence, I came across what might be a competing (complimentary?) format just a few hours ago. I was looking over the new features in TechSmith's Camtasia 2021 upgrade and saw that they now support importing "Lottie" animation files.
    "What's this then?" asked the voices in my head. I've only spent a little time looking over their site, but I will return when I have a bit more time. Lottie certainly appears to be playing in the same basic arena as SVGator.

    https://lottiefiles.com

    - Gary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing Gary. I feel like I've bumped into Lottiefiles before but never really looked into it. Does look like they're doing a similar thing to SVGator but they also have a marketplace with opportunities for creators to sell their animated graphics - which is interesting. Might even write a post about it.

      I think I prefer SVGator's concept of using SVG files since that is a cross platform file format already and the image still displays even if the animation javascript code doesn't run.

      Lottie appears to have its own file format (based around JSON code) which is now supported across various platforms (the Lottie format that is, I know JSON is widely supported) but it took a while to get there and support could be dropped in the future. SVG is a standard that has survived decades and is natively supported by most browsers.

      Delete

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