SVG looks set to be the future of web graphics — the distant future, perhaps, as it’s not yet supported by IE without a plugin. Opera’s Chief Web Opener, David Storey, announced on his blog recently that future builds of Opera will support SVG on the CSS
background-image declaration. This is very good news, and the potential for scalable layouts is exciting.
The best tool for creating SVG files that I know of is the free, open source, Inkscape, which has just released version 0.45. Inkscape is similar to Illustrator or Freehand; it’s not as polished as these commercial releases but is still very powerful and capable of producing stunning effects. And — crucially — its native format is SVG.
There are a plenty of tutorials available on the web, and the latest Linux Format magazine has an archive of tutorials (in PDF) on the included DVD. A good opportunity to start practising your skills in preparation for its full implementation.
Gecko, Webkit and Opera-based browsers currently support SVG natively, while IE requires a plugin — no definitive news yet on whether it will be implemented at a later date, but the signs are hopeful.
Update: Just realised that Safari doesn’t support SVG as native, but it does come with an integrated Adobe plugin to view.