Stencilizer: a shortcut for diecutters
Update: Sadly, Stencilizer appears to no longer be online. I will leave this post up for a while in case it comes back.
My latest web app crush is squarely on Stencilizer, a cool online tool for automatically posterizing, smoothing, vectorizing and color separating photo input. Upload an optimized (clear, close up, cropped, background removed, high contrast) image and Stencilizer first presents you with 9 choices in various brightness levels and number of colors.
Choose your favorite and then Stencilizer yields up to 5 SVG files ready to download, cut and layer.
In addition to its intended purpose of making layered stencils, I see at least 3 more ways the digital diecutting community can put this tool to use. First off, if you are familiar with the stunning Paper Portraits by Greg over at Paper Kutz Studios you may have wished for a lazy crafter’s version. Stencilizer gives you that.
The Stencilizer output is not nearly as detailed as what you would get through the meticulous methods Greg generously shares in his tutorials, of course, but should work fine for smaller projects, greeting cards, etc. Though I haven’t tried it yet, I can foresee combining the Stencilizer output with Greg’s advice on paper colors to create some nice pieces.
Secondly, rendering photos in vinyl for tiles and for etching on vases, etc is very popular. File creation has been a challenging proposition, though, as most crafters lack the image editing savvy to translate a photo into a single color cut file that is recognizable, much less flattering. While the SVG files from Stencilizer are not suitable for vinyl work, the enlarged previews it generates are adequate for tracing.
I’ve put together a video tutorial on how you can use Stencilizer to make cut files for vinyl. In it I use Silhouette Studio for the tracing, but any cutting program or Inkscape would do the job just as well if not better.
Though not diecutter related, I will mention (since it happens to be October) that you could use Stencilizer in this same manner for custom pumpkin carving designs. Assuming the black will be cut out, be sure you add “bridges” so that you don’t have any white completely surrounded by black.
Thirdly, Stencilizer works well for the posterization needed for the hatched sketch technique I recently posted and for other projects such as glitter/sand painting where areas of discreet color need to be delineated. The SVG files Stencilizer generates are meant to be stacked, so they will not work for this, as we can not have hatching layers overlap, but once again, the previews can be traced with good results.
I’ve made a video on using Stencilizer as part of the sketching process, too.
Finally, let me mention that Stencilizer’s revenue stream comes from sales of custom cut paper stencils. Since those of us with our own diecutters will not need to buy stencils, I encourage you to take advantage of Stencilizer’s donate button if you find the web app useful.