How to Batch-export layers of Inkscape-generated SVG-file to Bitmap for sprites?


Batch -export means that I may need to add certain transformations such as anti-alias, contrast-fixes and resizing. SVG here means I am using Inkscape. One layer here is a sprite. I currently export each layer individually to bitmap, File > Export Bitmap -- but it is time-consuming.

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  1. Is there some way to programmatically batch-export layers from SVG-file?

  2. Or does there exist some batch-export-button in Inkscape?

  3. I specially need the same custom area for each sprite, the same as clicking many times the menus but it is stupid -- perhaps some macro for this?

7/12/2012 1:18:00 AM

Accepted Answer

Thanks to Freenode's #inkscape channel, the user su_.* and verbalsh.*. su_.* provided most of the below ideas. Please, notice that exporting to raster means an information loss. Besides, Inkscape has odd features such as anti-alias-always-on-in-exportation -feature and odd no-control-with-contrast-in-exportation -feature, meaning an extra information -loss. su_.* mentioned in this context: "always antialiased, same renderer as on-canvas".

According to su_*, "an earlier answer by the author of JessyInk to a related question" is here where you export each layer together with a common background -layer (which defines bg color or maybe export size).

Related feature requests

  • "Optionally disable anti-aliasing for bitmap export" -thread here or the newer "Kill anti-aliasing for bitmap export" -thread here

  • Granular PNG Export Options here

  • 'Feature Request - Export Layers to PNG sequence…' (GUI, mostly) here

  • 'Selectively Export layers from Command Line Interface' - already doable AFAIU with '--export-id' here

Solution candidates

  • JessyInk: "extension bundled with Inkscape to create a layers-based presentation, which includes an output format (via 'Save') called 'JessInk zipped pdf or png putput (.zip)"*. It "can create a zip archive optionally with a PDF or PNG per layer". More here.

  • "[E]xport by id from the command line" but there are some problems such as extra-work in hiding the other layers "if the sprites are all on top of each other". A sample shell script to export each layer to png here.

  • "[D]efine the export areas on the command line", more here.

  • [Novel idea] "another external extension (designed to create animations) also can batch export each layer to bitmap", more here.


  1. Inkscape manual about exportation here.

  2. Command line -usage instructions with $ inkscape --usage.

8/4/2012 1:19:00 AM

You can use the commandline to export all layers. First, so see how many or which layers we have, with --query-all or -S:

$ inkscape --query-all presentation.svg | grep layer | awk -F, '{print $1}'

With the id (exakt name) of the layer, you can now export it with --export-id=ID or -i and -j, --export-id-only

$ inkscape presentation.svg -i layer1 -j -C --export-png=layer1.png

-C, --export-area-page defines the exported area (full page, as defined in document properties). You can also use --export-ps, --export-pdf, --export-eps and some other.

To automate it, you can generate a command list:

$ for id in `seq 1 15`; do echo "presentation.svg -jC -i layer$id -e layer$id.png"; done
presentation.svg -jC -i layer1 -e layer1.png
presentation.svg -jC -i layer2 -e layer2.png
presentation.svg -jC -i layer3 -e layer3.png

When you save this in a file (here commands.txt), you can invoke inkscape like this:

$ inkscape --shell < commands.txt

do execute all listed commands.