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How to Import Vector Images (SVG/WMF to SWF) into Reallusion's Cartoon Animator without Adobe Flash

How to Import Vector Images into Reallusion's Cartoon Animator without Adobe Flash Video Tutorial.

Reallusion's Cartoon Animator 4 used to support vector images in a big way back when it was launched as CrazyTalk Animator 2. So much so that they built into the application a Render Styles system that made it simple to recolor vector images if you took the extra few steps to create vector color groupings for your G2 vector characters and props.

Unfortunately G2 Vector characters proved to be too difficult for the average user to make, and it also required access to Adobe Flash (now Animate CC) for which many users weren't willing to invest in a subscription. Things haven't been helped by Flash being phased out as a web standard format in December 2020 either.

While CrazyTalk Animator 3, and now Cartoon Animator 4, have surged ahead focusing more on high resolution bitmaps to create quality characters and props, the Render Styles system and support for vector images still remains. Except the only vector file supported is Adobe's SWF format.

Reallusion's Ignores Requests for SVG Support?

While I've been asking Reallusion to add support for the more universal vector SVG format (that pretty much every vector illustration app supports) for years, it doesn't seem like they're planning to add this any time soon. It's a shame because the Render Styles system is really great (and you can actually make G3 characters from vector images if you're willing to import sprites manually, one at a time, in the character composer).

As a result I've spent the last couple of weeks scouring the internet for a file converter that can convert an SVG file to an SWF file. As it turns out there are a few apps that claim to do this but their SWF output isn't compatible with CA4 - often creating an image that appears invisible when imported.

Finding That One App That Can Convert to SWF

Fortunately I found one fairly old app, that is now freeware, that can convert from WMF (Windows standard vector file format) to SWF like a charm (if you can get it working - more on that in a moment). While it's not SVG, most vector drawing apps (including the free app I use, Inkscape) can export illustrations as WMF files since it's a standard Windows format that has been around for years.

The application is called Kvec by KK Software. As mentioned it's freeware. The Windows version has both a graphical user interface (GUI) and a command line version. All other versions for Mac and Linux are command line only. I would highly recommend using the GUI Windows version, if you can get it running - even through an emulator on a Mac or Linux - as it is the simplest option for ease of use, and you'll be able to experiment with other things Kvec can do (like trace bitmaps and export them as vector images).

Not All Plain Sailing

The Windows GUI version worked brilliantly on my laptop however, when I came to install it on my desktop PC, while it installed fine, it would not open any images. Instead I'd get an exception error. At first I thought it might be because I don't have Adobe Flash installed on my desktop - my laptop has an old version of Flash installed to run some Flash based software I have. So I decided to try the command line version. This worked perfectly on my desktop PC... so I guess it's not the lack of Flash?

Using the command line version is not difficult, but it does require a bit more setup, and is not as elegant as just opening a file you want to convert, converting it, and then saving it out.

Video Tutorial: How to Import Vector Images and Add Render Styles

Anyhow to cut a long story short. Below I've created a free video tutorial that shows you how to save vector images from Inkscape as WMF files, convert them to SWF with Kvec using both the Windows GUI and Command line versions of the app. Then I show just how easy it is to make your vector images compatible with Cartoon Animator's Render Styles system - you're welcome!

The tutorial is also available from my Art Time Gumroad Store as a paid download in which you get the video below and all the image files I used in the tutorial, including my finished Render Style prop. I've also included all versions of Kvec for your convenience (also just in case the Kvec website disappears as it looks very unsupported due to it being an old app). You're not paying for Kvec. Download it free from their website if you'd prefer, and if don't want my image files and video.

I really love Cartoon Animator's Render Style system. Particularly how it makes recoloring vector props so much easier when you want to mix and match props from different scenes. In Cartoon Animator if you see a prop or character with 'RS' in the top corner of its icon in the Content Manager that stands for 'Render Style' compatible.

Imagine being able to create day and night versions of the same scene without having to export everything to Photoshop. Also imagine having perfectly sharp props that don't pixelate no matter how far you zoom in on them for a close up.

Learn Inkscape and Start Making Vector Images for Cartoon Animator

If you're new to vector drawing, or want to get started, I reviewed two excellent beginner courses on how to use Inkscape to create Cartoon Backgrounds and Characters here, no drawing skills required. I actually used these courses to learn Inkscape's vector drawing basics myself.

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