What is SVG mode?

Pandimaniacs has a special feature which we call SVG mode. In SVG mode, the comics are no longer displayed in the PNG format, which specifies an image pixel by pixel, but in the SVG format. SVG images are not made up out of pixels, but are built out of lines, curves and regions. SVG is a so called vector image format.

What are the advantages of SVG?

Two advantages of SVG images are:

  • Scalability:
    SVG images can be scaled without degrading. A common problem with web images (including comics) is that they look very grainy when scaled to fill a large display, or when printed. This is because the resolution of a printer is much higher than that of a computer monitor. What looks like a single "dot" on a monitor will look like a square on paper, giving the image a mosaic-like look. With SVG, the printer can draw the curves at a lot higher resolution, giving a much better image. The same principle works with high-resolution computer displays as well.
  • Text selection
    That's right, you can select and copy text right out of an SVG! The SVG does not store the text and letters as shapes, but by their "meaning". Given a good SVG viewer or SVG-capable browser, you can select and copy text as you would in a normal document. Note that this will not work with all SVGs: Since the exact font (the "looks") of a text is often important, and not everyone has every font installed, some SVG artists convert the letters into shapes. This keeps their appearance, but loses the "meaning", so a viewer no longer knows what letters the shapes represent. Normally, you can't extract text from such images. Fortunately, at Pandimaniacs, we use a method that lets the SVG image use the correct font while keeping text selectable.

What do I need for SVG mode?

You need to be able to display SVG images. This can be through a plugin for your browser, or a browser that supports SVG images automatically. Or in a pinch, you can save the image through our direct link (under the image) and view it in an external program.

Since the SVG image format is still not very wide-spread, there are only a few such plugins and programs available, with varying degrees of SVG support or stability. One of the most well-known is the Adobe SVG Viewer Plugin, available for several operating systems (but please read the last paragraph as well).

Installation of the Adobe Plugin is easy if you're using the Microsoft Internet Explorer as your Browser. For others under Microsoft Windows operating systems, such as Netscape, Mozilla, or Opera, you may have to manually copy the file "NPSVG3.dll" (for Version 3.0 of the viewer), which can typically be found in locations such as "C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe" into your Browser's "plugin" directory. You should search the web for "NPSVG3.dll" for more detailed installation instructions, until Adobe themselves offer more information or improve the installation process. Under other operating systems, you may have to perform similar file copying, but we have not tried this yet.

For a general list of SVG supporting programs, try the official SVG Implementations site from the World Wide Web Consortium.

How do I switch to SVG mode in Pandimaniacs?

On the navigation bar, on the right side of the page, there is a little button marked "SVG". Simply click that button, and you'll view the site in SVG mode. Return to the main page or browse the comic archive to see the effect. Of course, you can also switch back to normal mode (or "PNG mode") at any time.

Does Pandimaniacs remeber my mode settings?

Yes and no. The settings remain effective as long as you follow links on this page after you have selected your mode. If you return later, for example through an external link, or with a bookmark of the main page, your settings will be lost. However if you switch modes, and then bookmark the page, that mode will be "stored" in the bookmark, as part of the address. You can also copy the adress for an external link after mode changes, and that mode will be used for anyone who follows that link.

Incidently, this works for the language selection as well.

Where can I learn more about the SVG format?

Try the official SVG site, as well as a web search for SVG.

The Adobe SVG Viewer plugin won't let me scroll, or zoom.

Ah. Try clicking the right mouse button on the SVG image to bring up the Viewer's context menu. Choose "Help" (near the bottom of the menu) and read the instructions. It is possible to zoom and scroll, but the methods are not really obvious.

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