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Exporting from Affinity Designer to Form Z


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I move vectors from Affinity Designer to FZ by using a 3rd Party application.  The app that has worked for me, available from the Apple App Store is "The Vector Converter".

I simply export my vector design from Affinity Designer using SVG file format.

After opening The Vector Converter I drop the exported SVG file into The Vector Converter and then I select dxf file format for the conversion.  The conversion takes place online so you have to be linked to the internet.  Once the file is converted it will be downloaded onto your system.

Once the converted file is downloaded I import it into my FZ model, Draft or Layout window.



Screen Shot 2020-05-13 at 12.23.19 PM.png

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Hi Hugo,

I was in the process of setting up a proper tutorial showing this method and to my horror have discovered that in one of the updates between the tree apps, this system no longer works.  

The vector lines from Affinity are now turned into what look like small rectangles - depending on the line weight used.  SVG standards can vary depending on who is using it.  I suspect that the conversion process is no longer doing a simple conversion.

Last year, I was using this system without any problems.  Will need to look for another converter as the only vector export capability from Affinity is SVG.

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I have struggled with a solution to this for years. Illustrator has always been a good way to go as long as you can save back to v8, because formZ cant use a native format more recent than that. It also really depends on the quality of the vector lines and clipping paths in an illustrator outline such as a clients logo. I used a similar process with Affinity and a online converter, but it was not always reliable. I have to pay the Adobe ransom for illustrator, because they not only open files that clients send that are native ai or eps files, but they seem to update their DWG translator which is very reliable with formZ. I have petitioned Affinity to include a DWG export in their development and they told me it its on the list. SVG import in FormZ would be awesome, but we still need a solution to open those Adobe native files. Running free CS2 on Windows is another strategy I've used.

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  • 1 year later...

AFdesigner SVG as splines to Postscript Level 2 EPS conversion via Inkscape renamed as AI.

Beneath the QCAD approach (nice hint) you can use the free Inkscape vector Illustration program as missing link

On 5/14/2020 at 12:03 AM, vva said:

... have a try with "QCAD" (Open Source) ... reads SVG files and writes DXF or DWG files

I am not a lover of the GUI for creative work, but it allows to be run for file conversion via commandline as well (like QCAD).

  1. Install Inkscape from https://inkscape.org for your platform (Mac, Win)
  2. Export from afdesigner das SVG
  3. Open SVG in Inkscape (currently 1.1.1)
  4. Export (save) as Postscript Level 2 EPS and rename the resulting file suffix from .eps to .ai
  5. FormZ 9.2 will import it as splines!
  6. IMPORTANT: The import has a different orientation than expected from AI.

Not tested that much with all kinds of primitives and other intermediate formats (DXF is not working well).

Note: The Postscript Level 2 EPS Export of AFDesigner does not work with the FormZ AI 8 import filter.

Benefits of an Inkscape install:

  • Commandline automation by using the inkscape command
    • Conversion can be triggered from FormZ Python (not testet yet)
    • Conversion of the vector export of FormZ as .emf files. Suggested to import FormZ 2D vector data in Microsoft Office Apps (Powerpoint works fine to present CAD Details for others without pixels this way)
  • Path modification features
    • Rich Plugin ecosystem, because you can write your own extensions in Python or modify others yourself
    • look for the Plugins installed and online : https://inkscape.org/gallery/=extension/
    • Examples (useful in Export Automation)
      • Adding Knots for older CAM Systems: Menu: Extensions -> Modify Path -> Add Knots (default Extension), could be done in FormZ, but nicer as postproduction.
      • Tools for creating gearwheel shapes, boxes etc (to go directly to 3D try OpenSCAD https://openscad.org/

Maybe people at AutoDesSys can reuse their OpenSource Code (SVG is the native file format of Inkscape) to add SVG Import to FormZ.

Missing in AFDesigner EPS or SVG Export:

  • No Layers from AFDesigner can be preserved (Generally supported via AI Import) because Layers are lost during AFDesigner SVG Export.
  • Use a top Level Group inside of every AFDesigner Layer to seperate in FormZ later (Inkscape preserves gouping)
    • IMPORTANT: 2D illustration programms think of layers different than CAD.  In AI and AF layers are  actually top level groups with special  flags. This is due to the importance of 2D object stacking to keep proper hierarchical display of objects. Groups cannot span multiple layers like in most CAD applications 
  • You can use Advanced SVG Export in Inkscape to cluster elements by attributes! and start from there. 
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