Vector Artwork

Circuit Playground Characters

Download the SVG files for using with cutting machines and other tools. Adabot, Blinka, Minerva and Crickit are ready to go designs that can be scaled to any size. Use vector editing software like Inkscape to modify, convert or resize graphics. The files are hosted on Adafruit GitHub Repo.

CAD

Software like Inkscape, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop are generally used to create objects using vector graphics. Each piece of software features different UI so we won't be cover those specially here. Instead, we'll look at some examples to get an idea how create multi-colored objects and characters.

Importing Vector Artwork

The SVG file format is the most common type for vector images. Raster images like JPG and PNG will need to be converted. Software for cutting machines like Cricut will automatically convert these files for you (search google for your make & model).

For exporting sketches from 3D modeling software like Autodesk Fusion 360, I suggest exporting as a DXF (Drawing Exchange Format) and then converting into an SVG. Be sure to set your desired units of measurements (inches/mm) in the file export menu. This way you get precise dimensions and avoid scaling issues. 

Layering Color Cardstock

Full color characters like Blinka can be made by layering solid colored shapes together. If we break down the image into just colored shapes, we can separate each piece as an independent object. Then we can cut out each shape in a different colors and reassemble them by layering them. Building the image by placing one shape on top of each another.

Color Masking Technique

For some characters, certain features can be "masked out" in the form of a cutout that "reveals" a different colored layer underneath. Crickit's mouth and eyes are a great example of this masking technique. These details can be a little tricky to align back onto the head once it's been cut out. So these facial features can be cutouts that reveal a solid purple layer in the background. Another example, Minerva has a purple wave patterns across her body. Instead of cutting out each individual wave shape, we can redraw it as a self-contained stencil and cut it away from the top dark blue layer and reveal a purple color layer underneath. Last example, Adabot's limbs feature thin lines to represent individual segments. By merging and combining shapes to form thin slits we can containing them as a stencil and reveal a darker shade of blue.

Optimize for Cutting

Converting existing artwork for cutting is a process that requires some planning. Let's use Blinka as an example again. Originally the black stroke around her is drawn as an outline and not a solid shape. Although we could cut this piece out as is, the paper cutout would be fragile and difficult to assemble. So we can easily fix this by removing the paths that subtract from our shape. Having this piece as a solid shape creates a thicker backing.

Separation for Articulation

For objects and characters with appendages like arms and legs, we can separate these elements as independent layers. This gives us the freedom to add articulation to certain body parts. For example, we separated Blinka into two main pieces so her head moves independently from her body. The desired effect might need redrawing of paths to make separate objects. Originally Blinka's head and neck wasn't drawn as a separate object so her coiled body had to be redrawn independently. This allows us to pivot her head back and forth with her neck in front of her body.

This guide was first published on Jun 06, 2018. It was last updated on Jun 06, 2018. This page (Vector Artwork) was last updated on Sep 23, 2019.