Monday, December 26, 2011

Free File for Silhouette Users

I've been doing quite a few files for my classes and for my own personal use and decided I would see if I could share one of them. This is a snowman card that hinges at the top. The inside message is printed on the snowman card itself and can easily be changed to whatever you want. The pieces can be used as a print and cut or could be separated and cut from different colors of card stock. Hope you enjoy! Hoping to post a Zing/MTC version in the next day or so. This file is a Silhouette Studio file. The snowman card on the right is the size of the file and the one on the left I just reduced all the parts to make it fit in a 3" square envelope.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Silhouette Studio Designer Edition Knife Tools

My friend, Sharry, just upgraded her Silhouette Studio to the Designer Edition and asked me about how the knife tool worked. The Designer Edition has a lot of options and is one of the things I use quite a bit. Some of the tools work just the same in the regular edition so this is relevant to how it works even if you don't have all the oddball cutting path options. Hope you learn something...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Adding Decorative Elements to a Border

Had another person on the Silhouette Yahoo Group with a new Cameo that needed some help in making borders for a tile. Decided it was video time again. I ended up making two videos because I talked too long. The "screenr" program I use is limited to five minutes and I had more to say so made a Part 2 video about adding things to borders. To do successful things with borders it is really important to grasp the concept of compound paths. My YouTube Video, Silhouette Studio SD 19, has a detailed explanation of how compound paths work. In the case of welding the decorative elements and/or dividers or lines to a border you have to be sure that all of the elements you are working with are compound paths. Anyway, here are two videos where I go on and on about it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

New Cutter...Zing Joins my Cutter Family

Just got my Zing a few days ago and since this is  card class week I haven't had a chance to do much of anything but hook it up. Could be some Zing videos in my future but I am much more familiar with Silhouette Studio so don't hold your breath. There are so many Make-The-Cut experts that I would hesitate to offer much advice but you never know.

Several people asked why I didn't buy the new Silhouette Cameo with the wider cutting area instead of buying the Zing. Well, the Silhouette does remarkably well at PNC (Print And Cut) and I can't imagine needing to print and cut anything larger than the Silhouette SD does. I am primarily a card maker but I do dabble with other things, especially vinyl, and have occasional had just "cut" files that were too large for the Silhouette SD. The Zing has a 14" wide cutting area and a LOT more cutting force. I will be able to cut fabric, felt, stencils, chipboard, etc. I'm looking forward to having more choices and options.

The other thing is that I can use Silhouette Studio on my Mac and Make-the-Cut, the software for the Zing, is not Mac-compatible. I would always prefer working on my Mac. I might install Parallels so I can run Windows on my Mac but haven't decided yet. First I need to get more memory for the Mac and my pocketbook is empty at the moment since I just had to buy a new Mac, the Zing and the new Kindle Fire.

More reports on the Zing in the future and possibly more Silhouette videos to come.

Fixing Awkward or Weird Joins When Welding Letters

Know I haven't posted in a while but been busy and no one had a question I could answer. Today someone posted on the Silhouette Yahoo Group about fixing some bad spots when welding some letters. It was specifically about welding Edwardian Script letters. The way to fix them is usually using node editing. The thought of the words "node editing" scares people off. You don't have to know tons about it to do these simple fixes to letter joins. A video will show how easy it can be. Video see it bigger watch directly on YouTube.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Borders, Replicating and the Pesky X and Y Axis Questions

Yesterday someone on the Silhouette group posted a question about making a border from a graphic. I posted a rather simplistic answer saying to replicate and weld.  A very knowledgeable and talented lady, Meadelie, posted a much more detailed answer referencing replicating using the x and y axis tools to control the objects. I got two emails from people saying they didn't understand that and wanted me to make a video explaining that is what I did this morning. Oh and I also removed the Cricut "Expression" as one of the things represented on my blog header and replaced it with the word "Zing" which is a new cutter I hope to get soon.

Anyway, here is a short video on how to replicate and control it using the x and y axis choices. A quick way to get a border from almost anything (in this case it is a pumpkin from Lettering Delights).

Friday, October 14, 2011

Welding Purchased Graphic Files

Yes, more on welding. I had tried to explain this in a Yahoo group post but it is so hard to explain things and SO much easier to just show them. This is how you incorporate purchased graphic files into your own print and cut projects quickly and easily.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Welding and Compound Path Issues

Another very quick and very basic video on welding to address some problems people encountered that are on our Silhouette Yahoo Group. Hope this helps. If not, let me know and I'll see if I can figure out what you are having a problem with...or maybe I can't. As always, I am absolutely no expert at this and there are much more knowledgeable people on the Yahoo group but I just look for a quick way to do what I need to do.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bleed Zones

Sounds like a good subject right before Halloween. Had a request to show how to make a bleed zone around a traced image. This is so you have a "halo" of color or whatever (called a bleed) around your object so that if your cutter is not cutting exactly on the can get a nice cut without the white showing. I hope this is what someone wanted to see...if not, email me and let me know what I missed and I'll try again.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Making Letters Fatter in Silhouette Studio

Hi everyone...another day, another video. This one is for someone on the Yahoo group that wanted more information about making letters fatter in Silhouette Studio. As always, this is the way I do it. It doesn't mean there aren't better or easier ways to do it. I'm certainly no expert but I do dink around a lot and figure out how to do what I want to do. It's fun to change the look of your letters and sometimes you need something bolder so here's one way to do that.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tiling and Saving to a PDF file from Silhouette Studio

Yes, time for another video. There is no actual "tiling" command in Silhouette Studio but you can easily take an image and split it into parts, enlarge the parts, and then print and cut the pieces to put together a large image. Also I had posted on the Silhouette Yahoo Group that I was saving my files in Silhouette Studio as a PDF. That way I can open them in Illustrator (and maybe in Inkscape although I didn't try it) and then export/save them as any format I want that is supported by Illustrator. That way I can cut my .studio images with another cutter.

Not a fabulous video...but a quick one to show how to do something that several people were interested in doing.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

More on Tracing Graphics Directly in Silhouette Studio

One of the Silhouette Yahoo group members asked me for a video on how to make a 3D graphic usable. One look at the graphic told me it would be pretty much impossible to trace directly in Silhouette Studio because it had primarily light areas on the edges. You can, of course, take a graphic into Photoshop and make a blackout of it and other things but I realize most people do not have the program and/or don't know how to do this.

The only real option is to learn to trace directly in Silhouette Studio. It really is not hard to do. It does take time though and you have to have some patience...but it opens up the opportunity to use a lot of files available on the internet for free and for a very reasonable cost. I have personally used a lot I have purchased from CraftsUPrint which has fabulous files for the 3D layered look on cards. To the right is a card I did a few days ago from a graphic purchased from them. It is sort of hard to see the layers but the cross and message are raised on popdots and then the butterflies and the bow on the message are raised another layer.

Anyway the graphics are opened in Silhouette Studio and the first thing you need to do is to cut the multiple images apart using the knife tool. You can also trim off the excess "white" space at this time. Then you just have to start tracing around an object. I usually go in VERY close to do this and just start clicking and placing nodes. I am not really all that careful when I do it. One reason I'm not that careful is that I know I can't do a great job as my hand shakes sometimes and I know I'm going to have to go clear around it and adjust the nodes when I I might as well just click around quickly and then spend the time adjusting the nodes up to the edges of the graphic.

This is a case of "how badly do I want to use this graphic." If you want to use it then you have to spend the time to make it work. The detail the Silhouette is able to cut makes it oh so least to me.

Below is the video showing how to get started on a project. Be sure to watch it on YouTube if you want to see it on a larger screen.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

If You Have Make-the-Cut...Wow!

Watching a video on the newest features in the updated Make-the-Cut program something came up that, at first, I didn't see a need for. You can now export files as a raster image. Andy (the fabulous program developer) said it was not for print and cut but if you wanted to print the file. I was thinking...why would you want to do that. Then it occurred to me why I would want to export it as a raster file. Andy has programmed the ability to change the resolution and add a drop shadow, not just a drop shadow around the whole outside, but to add a drop shadow to the individual pieces of an SVG file and then export it as a PNG file. I own a zillion SVG files from Lettering Delights and My Scrap Chick (and other places) and I don't think of using them much since I am totally obsessed with the Silhouette and it's print and cut ability.

What came to me is that if I could export the files with drop shadows...I could then import them into Silhouette Studio and trace them quickly and have a single (adorable) file to print and cut rather than using the SVG for cutting all the elements separately out of different colors. I quickly switched to my PC (since MTC does not work on my Mac) and checked it out. It worked absolutely fabulously. I couldn't stand it. I called my friend Sharry and asked if she had time to learn to do it and we worked over the phone and I walked her through the process. Now I want everyone to try it out if you happen to be lucky enough to own Make-the-Cut and have a Silhouette. This is the best discovery I've made and I am SO grateful to Andy for this addition to an already great program.

The video is below. Go to YouTube to watch it in a larger format.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fear of Nodes!

Working with nodes and the node tool in Silhouette Studio should not be something to avoid. I usually can get very good traces but even then the tracing is never really accurate when you zoom in close and check out places, especially corners. I will admit to be somewhat picky and I always take maybe an extra ten or fifteen minutes after tracing, or sometimes not that long, to zoom WAY in and adjust the nodes around my whole object to get the best possible print and cut results.

Usually you can get a decent trace that you can clean up. However, sometimes an object with a lot of light areas just won't trace well enough to get a usable cut line or it has so many nodes and is distorted enough that it would take hours to clean up the nodes. I will admit that when that happens I normally just take the raster file into Photoshop and work on it there and make a blackout version to trace. I do know that everyone doesn't have Photoshop so there are alternatives, especially when your object is not too complex. Actually you could use the drawing tools in Silhouette Studio to draw around anything, but adjusting the nodes on a complex object would take a whole lot of time.

I got a file from someone on the Yahoo Silhouette Users Group to see what I could do about getting a good trace. Well, I couldn't get one I thought was usable. It was a very simple gable box pattern so I just drew around it and used the node editing tool to clean it up. It seemed a good thing to share how easy this is to do on a simple object so, of course, I felt compelled to do a video...and here it is. Remember if you watch it on YouTube you get a bigger screen.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

More on Messing with Fonts

Someone posted on the Silhouette Users Yahoo Group that her knife was not behaving so she was having a great deal of trouble turning a font into a "stencil" font. I had no idea what the knife problem was but I did know another way to make a font into a "stencil" font...therefore another little video to show how easy it can be. After it was done I realized I could have done more of the letters but this is so easy that I don't think it would matter how many letters I showed. Hope you learn something new you can do!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Making Borders with Compound Path Command

Was enjoying reading posts on the Silhouette Users Yahoo group and someone was having some trouble with putting together some "rings" and welding them to make a border. I right away figured it was because the rings were just grouped and had not been made into "compound path" objects. Anyway it seemed another opportunity for a video to show how to make what seems to be a two-part object into a border. Quick and easy to do!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Stuff That's All Stuck Together

Have you ever opened a .png file with multiple objects and you figure you'll "ungroup" them...and, SURPRISE, they can't be ungrouped. You think you're just stuck with the entire thing or maybe a massive eraser job. You can actually cut the pieces apart using the knife tool and I decided a little video would be the perfect way to explain how to do this.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Frames and Digital Paper

I know, posts for a month and then two in one day. Got a call to explain how to make a frame for the front of a card and fill it with a particular digital paper. So, easier than explaining it, here's a video.

Font Things

I know it's been quite a while since I put anything on my blog...but I seem to have been busy. There are the card classes and then I took off for four days to spend with my sister taking some classes from Tim Holtz in the Kansas City area at a great shop - Stampers Ink.

Still in love with my Silhouette SD and continually playing with it and doing files for it. I saw someone ask a question about something on the Silhouette Users Yahoo group and thought it was hard to explain how to do what someone wanted to do so I made a quickie video. Basically she wanted to cut out a word from a candy wrapper and be able to put another color of paper underneath. The problem was, the centers of the letters are also cut out and you are left, like with the letter O, with a big round circle cut out and not the letter O. So this is a quick way to turn almost any font into a stencil font. You just have to get over any fear of messing with nodes!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

All about sheep...and more sheep.

Was messing around with the sheep from Lettering Delights that are in the Nativity mini set. A friend had asked how hard it would be to just cut the head separately to pop it up on was oh so simple because I had redrawn the sheep in Illustrator so I could do it as a print and cut. Thinking I wanted to make a card NOW with the sheep and not wait for a Christmas card...I made two sheep cards.

The first one I wanted to make I wanted a special little embellishment with a "Thanks" message in it so I made a little oval with flowers at the end. Then I thought maybe others might be interested in how to make a quick embellishment so I did another video. Don't forget to click to watch it on YouTube so the screen is larger.

And here are the two sheep cards...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Beginner Pixel Trace

Just between class and a doctor's appointment for my husband I got a "help" email from a friend who was having trouble tracing inside cut areas that she wanted. I grabbed a Lettering Delights image and opened "screenr" and threw together a quick video. This is very basic information but hopefully it can help someone. Don't forget to click on the video to watch it on YouTube for a clearer and bigger video screen.

After I posted the video I got the card made. I took the image (thanks to a friend's idea) into Photoshop and separated the mohawk hair and the guitar and made separate cutting files out of them. This is the card that I made. I also printed out a birthday message for inside the card. I popped the hair and the guitar up on popdots.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Getting Rid of Stuff

Yes, another video. This is one way to use the eraser combined with the node tool to get rid of parts of a design. I'm hoping Lisa can maybe give me some more information on other ways to do this. I have very little experience with this software but I am one of those adventurous people who just keeps dinking around until I find a way to do what I want done.  I'm hoping for anyone with more information to chime in and maybe even do a video. The program I'm using is "recordr" and it is OH SO EASY. Anyway, I'm including the video and don't on it to watch it directly on YouTube so you can actually see the details.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Altering a PNG for Print and Cut

I know I already posted several videos today but I just couldn't help it. I got this cute little bear and was going to alter it and then I thought that maybe someone might not know how to do that. SO, had to alter it for a video. Remember to click on the video to see it on YouTube since seeing it in the blog strains your eyes as the picture is so small.

And, Yes, More About Text

I made this video for my friend, Sharry, to show how to make letters fatter. Sometimes you can find the right font but you just want it a bit thicker. Or you may actually just want a shadow for your letters. When playing with the shadow feature I ran into one little glitch where it welded some of the letters and I couldn't unweld them. This shows a workaround for getting them a lot fatter and not having them weld together. Another beginner video. The videos are very small within the blog so click in the middle and it will take you to YouTube where you can watch it and actually see the screen.

More on Lettering

This is the second video I had done for my friend so there is a personal reference...but it is just how to color your text to match graphics and how to make boxes for your text. These are some basic videos but I have several friends who are new to the Silhouette to basic information is a good thing. The videos are very small within the blog so click in the middle and it will take you to YouTube where you can watch it and actually see the screen.

Vertical Lettering Spacing

This is a redo of a video I did a few weeks ago and I removed the personal references since I originally did it for a friend. Since then I have been asked by quite a few people to make other videos and also to convert them to YouTube to make it easier to find them. So...this is not anything advanced but if you haven't played with letter spacing maybe you will find a hint you can use. The videos are very small within the blog so click in the middle and it will take you to YouTube where you can watch it and actually see the screen.

New Blog!

Yes, even though I have another blog that I seem not to post to very often...thought I needed a blog just about cutters and cutter software. For right now I'm probably going to mostly be posting videos about Silhouette Studio and the Silhouette cutter. I do happen to have others so you never know what will show up here I have been doing some quick little videos for a friend and then it sort of expanded into more videos. A lot of this information may be very basic but maybe you'll find a useful hint.