Posts tagged ‘vector’

Part 6 … Tracing Without Tears

For those of you who have been clamoring for a tutorial on tracing photos, I’m happy to announce the release of Tracing without Tears Part 6. I’ve learned so much along the way, and have become impressed at how much you really can do with just the limited capabilities in Silhouette Studio. I thought this would be the end of the series, but I’ve got a few extra tips and tricks that didn’t fit in the other videos so I guess there will be at least one more after this. Thanks again for all your kind comments and encouragement.

And in case you missed Part 1 (intro), you can find it here,Part 2 (threshold) is here, Part 3 (line art) is here , Part 4 (print and cut) is here, and Part 5 (filter tech) is here.

And there’s a playlist here.

March 29, 2013 at 1:00 pm 19 comments

Part 5 … Tracing Without Tears

Part 5 of the Tracing Without Tears series is done, and it answers all of you who’ve been wanting an explanation about the high pass, low pass and scaling controls. It’s a little technical and not that practical, but  is needed background before we move into more advanced tracing projects.

And in case you missed Part 1, you can find it here,Part 2 is here, Part 3 is here and Part 4 is here.

And there’s a playlist here.

March 15, 2013 at 8:35 pm 13 comments

Part 4 … Tracing Without Tears

Today I’m posting Part 4 of the Tracing Without Tears series, which focuses on tracing for print and cut. I go through a half dozen representative examples including a cut file that has already been traced, a decoupage sheet, and several styles of clip art. I also unearth the mystery of the trace and detach button and show one use for the low pass filter. Thanks again for your enthusiastic response to this video series. Keep leaving your comments and keep spreading the word while I keep the videos coming!

And in case you missed Part 1, you can find it here ,Part 2 is here and Part 3 is here.

And there’s a playlist here.

March 2, 2013 at 10:28 am 21 comments

Cheat Sheet: File Formats in Silhouette Studio

It turns out that the question about what file formats Silhouette Studio can use is not all that easy to answer, partly because the facts vary quite a bit from the official Silhouette America information. I think I got it sorted out and into chart form. Hope this is helpful to some of you. Click here for a printable PDF.



If you need help understanding the difference between vectors and bitmaps, this video should help.

February 22, 2013 at 6:21 pm 20 comments

Part 3 … Tracing Without Tears

Part 3 of Tracing Without Tears is ready. This edition covers how to trace line art, and how to work with the trace results to get the kind of cuts you want using Silhouette Studio. This includes separating a trace to cut the pieces from different colors of paper or vinyl and some tips on tracing templates.

And in case you missed Part 1, you can find it here or for Part 2, click here.

February 19, 2013 at 10:08 pm 34 comments

Part 2 … Tracing Without Tears

The response to my first video has been overwhelming! I so appreciate your kind comments and welcome all my new YouTube subscribers! It seems I struck a nerve for those of you whose learning style challenges you to understand what is behind the steps you are taking. I hope this series will continue to bring you “Aha moments” on the way to full mastery of Silhouette Studio. Part 2 of Tracing Without Tears, which I am releasing today, covers how the threshold setting works, what its limitations are, and how to use it to trace several representative logos which serve as our examples.

And in case you missed Part 1, you can find it here.

February 4, 2013 at 7:04 pm 23 comments

Tracing Without Tears … a new video series

I’m very excited to be releasing Part 1 of my series of videos about tracing in Silhouette Studio. It’s a new approach I hope will help ease some frustration. In Part 1 I cover why and when you need to trace, what are the best kinds of images to trace, how to do a basic trace, and how to avoid the “double line” problem. Please help me get the word out to any Silhouette newbies you know.


Playlist for all videos in the series is here

January 23, 2013 at 6:46 pm 55 comments

Stencilizer: a shortcut for diecutters

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.

October 19, 2012 at 8:51 am 11 comments

New online tool has lots to offer diecutters

I stumbled across a new online tool (or rather suite of tools) today called Rapid Resizer that has a lot to offer the digital diecutting community, although we do not seem to be its market. Here are a few of the things I discovered I could accomplish online there for free (at least for now):

Free Online Raster to Vector Converter

All of our cutting programs can do their own autotraces now (wouldn’t it have been nice to have this when they didn’t!?) but Rapid Resizer offers a few tricks that your cutting software may not. Taking a .jpg input from your hard drive (.png did not work for me) it can return PDF, SVG. DXF, EPS or AI output. The really cool thing, though, is the option to centerline trace. This will be especially useful to those who do not have MTC with its stellar “font thinning” function. For example, Silhouette Studio users can input a line drawing or text and get a single stroke DXF file in return that will be be much easier to work with for drawing with pens or for rhinestone work. For example, Doodling Debbie over at Paper Pulse converted one of her favorite fonts, which she shares.

Wordle lovers can instantly turn their screen captures into a vector PDF with this, but they will lose the colors as this only returns black and white vectors.

Photo to Pattern Converter

This tool will be helpful for converting photos to cutting files for vinyl cutting, etching and stencils. Input your photo and choose manual, then adjust the slider to get the contrast you like. Then right click to save the new image or try the options under “save to any size”>preview to see if that gives you a better and/or larger image. You will most likely still need to smooth and remove some detail to make good cutfiles, but this may give you a good start, especially if you aren’t handy with Photoshop. Update: For this application, also see Stencilizer.

My Stampmaker friends will find this especially useful because after the photo is converted to black and white, a click of the invert button makes it ready to import into your stamp layout.

Other tools at this site include Free Online Stencil Maker , an online text layout tool with adjustable arching,

Print Patterns to Any Size, Convert PDF to Image (not working for me yet) and Save Ink Printing PDFs. The tools can be used together or separately.

There are also premium features on the site, and developer Patrick Roberts has generously offered my readers a free week if you’d like to explore those. Your free week will start as soon as you click here.

As for me, I still do most of my designing/converting in Inkscape with a little help from Photoshop but I love scouting new web apps. Will be interesting to see how this one evolves.

June 2, 2012 at 5:29 pm 7 comments

Free Moroccan Tile Vector

I’ve created a vector version of the digipaper in my previous post. Great for a 12 x 12 background or modify it to fit a card front, etc.

Download the SVG here

Download the PDF version here

December 20, 2011 at 10:02 am 13 comments

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