The program that I use as an editor for vector based images is able to export using the following standards:

  • Postscript 2 and 3 ( .ps )
  • PSTricks macro written in Latex ( .tex )
  • Eps ( .eps )
  • SVG ( .svg )

Now after using latex for some time I can't really say which one is better for a latex based workflow, but I have been able to write down some requirements, I need support for :

  • static images only ( no need for animations at this point, also my final goal is always a pdf anyway )
  • inclusion from external file ( I often use relative paths to organize everything in their own directories )
  • usable in styles .sty files
  • lightweight and easy to render in the final pdf ( sometimes latex creates some really hard-to-render images )
  • easy to avoid aliasing / not prone to poor rendering
  • text as path or text as text ( be able to incorporate the text from the image as "normal" text or viceversa )
  • a format that copes well with layouts properties like margins, the center of each element, scaling, etc etc .

Since I'm not new to the imaging world and to the graphics world in general, I see Postscript as the old ancestor of pretty much anything that fits in a pipeline for the production of documents and vector images, I don't wanna sound like I have a biased opinion but probably PS works better for pdf production ? I don't know, I'm just thinking out loud. Anyway I'm more interested in the points I gave, especially the quality of the final product is everything to me.

As a special note I would like to know if latex uses an internal representation of a given vector image and what language is used for that.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Christoph, ChrisS, egreg, Martin Schröder, Gonzalo Medina Mar 1 '14 at 23:51

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Interesting that the program can output SVG, but not PDF (which would make things easier, because then you could use pdflatex directly). – Jake Feb 13 '14 at 13:46
  • @Jake it can, in theory, but I'm not really happy with the quality of this workflow, the program is inkscape by the way. – user2485710 Feb 13 '14 at 13:48
  • @Jake I'm not really happy with using pdflatex directly too, I noticed that is somehow better to first compile the .tex with latex. – user2485710 Feb 13 '14 at 13:50
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    In a nutshell, PS is the compiled raw Postscript instructions, EPS is a self-containing micro PS environment, PSTricks file is the to-be-converted-to-PS instructions and SVG is an independent format. So they are mostly the same except SVG. However, PDF is another complication on top of it :) More here tex.stackexchange.com/questions/60778/… – percusse Feb 13 '14 at 14:02
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    ps and eps isn't really a choice. arbitrary postscript can do stuff that you would never want to happen in an image inclusion, it could make multiple pages, or reset the printer or change the font for the rest of the document, so ps is only usable if in fact it is "good" ps that doesn't do any of those things. "EPS" is essentially just a subset of ps that has structured comments asserting that it is safe for this usage. If using pdflatex then whether you use eps or svg effectively need to convert it to pdf to be merged into the document so if you can generate pdf that is likely to be better. – David Carlisle Feb 13 '14 at 15:00