[pdftex] SVG Graphics

John Culleton john at wexfordpress.com
Sat Jun 11 23:13:02 CEST 2011

On Saturday, June 11, 2011 01:17:37 pm Robin Fairbairns wrote:
> John Culleton <john at wexfordpress.com> wrote:
> > Getting back to the original topic, we can already insert graphics in a
> > variety of formats. But two of the most useful formats, svg (vector) and
> > TIFF (bitmap) are not included. Is it more difficult to handle these than
> > to handle eps and jpg?
> pdftex handles pdf inclusions, and png and jpg.  jpg is obviously a
> start with the myriad formats that tiff encapsulates, but (last i
> looked) png isn't.  basically, tiff _could_ include any bitmap format,
> so allowing it (unrestricted) is inevitably a heavy load.  (note that
> gif was a common format when the pdftex project first started, but it
> was rejected on the grounds that (a) it's an inferior format, and (b) at
> the time a licence was required before you could generate gif.)
> original (pre-)pdftex claimed it was able to read tiff graphics.  the
> ability was withdrawn after complaints about its many failures.  i'm
> involved with the project, but i assumed the complaints were about tiffs
> with weird formats embedded.
> i don't know anything about svg, beyond the fact that it's a vector
> graphics format.  i presume there's a library to convert it to pdf, as
> would be needed if pdftex is going to include it.  so apart from the
> fact that pdftex is frozen...
> > Color and hyperlinks have been available in pdftex for many years. Their
> > inclusion is not IMO a weakness but a necessary modernization.
> colour use is a big deal, but as you rightly say it has been there since
> the beginning.
> hyperlinks are a comparably big deal, and covering all possible cases
> has led to a frighteningly huge bunch of macros.
> there _is_ a school of thought that claims that anything beyond what
> knuth provided is anathema.  some of your remarks lead one to imagine
> that you're in that camp, so perhaps that suggestion was in the light of
> a mistaken perception.
> rovin

The nice thing about sticking close to Father Knuth is that the code is proven 
correct or nearly so. But obviously we have to keep up with the times. 

PNG definitely works with pdftex. My e-book listed below uses both JPG and PNG 
images. That e-book was written in pdftex to keep the PDF file size within 
reason. SVG is well defined by a standard. So perhaps SVG should be attacked 
first by the TeX troops. 

The current SVG standard is RGB-only. The specification lists 147 RGB colors 
by name but there is a table of CMYK equivalents. The usual Open Source 
producer of SVG images, Inkscape, is also resricted to CMYK. But changes may 
occur in the color model arena. 

Tiff is bitmapped and apparently can encapsulate all kinds of formats. However 
Scribus can handle a CMYK TIFF created by Krita. I just tried it out. Scribus 
can also handle color items from Gimp (including Tiff) and Inkscape including 
SVG. So I have hopes that the same range of formats can be imported into TeX 
some day. 

Scribus does however make a distinction between bitmap and vector. A bitmapped 
item is inserted into a graphics frame, but vector (including SVG) is best 
imported from the file menu. It seems that vector images have an inherent 

The pdftex \pdfximage statement can handle both vector and bitmapped items, 
but a limited subset of each.

John Culleton

"Death Wore Black" Police procedural: http://www.deathworeblack.com/

"Create Book Covers with Scribus"
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://tug.org/pipermail/pdftex/attachments/20110611/2527237a/attachment-0001.html>

More information about the pdftex mailing list