SILHOUETTE DE vs. SCAL Features

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Today I want to do some comparisons between the DE version of Silhouette Studio and the Basic version of Sure Cuts a Lot 4 (SCAL). There are some differences and there are some things I think each does better, and being the software junkie I am, I have both. But if I had to choose, I’d go with SCAL. I also have SCAL 4 Pro so I’ll talk about that too. I don’t have Silhouette Business Edition. I have MTC (told you I was a software junkie) but I find it difficult to use and I don’t feel they’ve kept up with SCAL. Also I use a Mac as well as a PC and they don’t have a driver for the Mac.

This isn’t a comparison of all features. I just don’t have that much time. The features that I still use Studio DE for is the Sketch Pens and the Knives. I feel SCAL fell down on this. The most important feature in SCAL (to me) is the ability to export as SVG, PNG and JPG because it allows me to use it as a true design software. I sell my designs and (in my opinion) using Studio to do that yields inferior results. Unless you have version 2.0, you have to trace your image and all but the most simple images will not be as good as the original.

 

Studio DE

SCAL Basic

Cost

$49.99 (discounts available)

$59.99 ($19.99 upgrade from any version)

Ruler

Yes

Yes

SVGs

Yes

Yes

.Studio Files

Yes

No

Shape Drawing

Yes

Yes

Additional Shapes

No

285

Uses OTF/TTF Fonts

Yes

Yes

Access Within Program to Mapped Fonts Such as Samantha

No

Yes

Skew Shapes (for taking Upright Fonts to look Italic)

Yes

Yes

Eraser

Yes

Yes

Knife

Yes (more options)

Yes

Rhinestones

Yes

Yes (more options)

Wrapper Distort (for shaping designs to tumblers and glasses)

No

Yes

Type on a Path

No (but can be moved to a path)

Yes

Barrel Distort (see below)

No

Yes

Bulge Distort (see below)

No

Yes (many adjustments for unique shapes)

Canned Distort (see below)

No

Yes

Lattice (see Below)

No

Yes (many adjustments)

Sketch Fill

(see Below)

Yes (many options)

No, but can be done in a limited way with Line Fill

Knockout

No

Yes, plus ability to create gap effects

Puzzle

No

Yes

Wave Distort

No

Yes (lots of adjustments)

Save as SVG, PNG, JPG

No

Yes

Trace

Yes

Yes (better – ability to trace by color)

 

 

Barrel Distort

 

 

 

 

Bulge Distorts


 

Canned Distort (adjustments available)

 

 

 

 

Lattice            

 

 

 

 

Line Fill                     SKETCH

 

 

 

 

 

    

 

Wave Distort

 

How to Use Ornaments in Fonts to Make Frames & Banners

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Adorn Banners from Laura Worthington is part of the Marigold Package on Mighty Deals. This is actually a font. You receive a guide that shows the end pieces and the middle pieces and you put them together. Here’s a sample from the guide:

It’s incredibly easy to do. For the banner above, I typed q99t. The type in the banner is from the same package. It’s Adorn Engraved.

The frame below is from another font in that package called Harlean. It is a little harder to do because it involves flipping and rotating letters. Just type each one in a separate text box and then move and flip them.Screenshot 2015-06-23 11.48.48

The font for this is also Harlean. Notice that it looks handwritten and is a bit distressed. This style looks great when you are cutting from matte vinyl.

Here’s a little “How-to”

I am working on a Mac, but on a PC you would use either the Character Map or Nexus (if you have a PC and you don’t have Nexus, you don’t know what you’re missing! This tutorial is for the bottom frame.

  1. In Silhouette, start a text box with Samantha Upright (I used bold, but you don’t have to). Set the size at 200 points. I type in a letter as a place holder just so I can see everything. I delete it later.
  2. Using Font Book on a Mac or Character Map or Nexus on a PC, locate the ornament you want (you have to scroll through a lot of glyphs to get there) and copy it.
  1. Paste it twice inside the text box and if you used a placeholder, delete that. I used a fill on mine to make it easier to see, but it’s not necessary.

  1. Now ungroup them and select one.
  2. Right Click and select FLIP VERTICALLY

  1. Move into position.

    If after reading my blog, you decide to purchase from Mighty Deals or Creative Market, I would appreciate your using my affiliate links in the Links Section.

New Laura Worthington Package Available

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People ask me how I make my banners and frames. The answer is that they are fonts! I love ornamental fonts, and some of my favorites come from Laura Worthington. Here is an example of how I used her Adorn Banners and other font extras. Except for the camera, which I made, all parts of this are fonts.

The banner is from Adorn Ornaments. I bought the Adorn Banners as part of the Adorn package that was available for a week on the Fontaholics site for $99. Now Mighty Deals has this as part of a great package for only $37.

It also includes other fonts with ornaments. It was worth it for me, even though I already owned half the package.

You know that putting fonts together is difficult for many. This package and any of Laura’s family fonts make it so much easier because they all mesh well. This particular package is all distressed type fonts, so if you like them, go for them. If it’s not your cup of tea, there are some smooth versions of these, but not in this package.

Here’s something I’ve been playing with this morning with some of the fonts that are new to me.

Later today, I’ll post a tutorial about how to put banners together.

If you decide to purchase this, or anything else from Mighty Deals, please use my links. I get credit and can buy more things to play with and bring you tutorials.

How Do I Get Fonts into My Silhouette?

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As I scanned a Silhouette FB page, while sipping my morning coffee, these two questions appeared more than 3 times each with varying wording:

I downloaded a font. How do I get it into my Silhouette?

I bought a font on Etsy and I can’t get it into my Silhouette.

The answer for both questions begins with:

You may have to unzip them first

So, locate the download (likely in the download folder) and see if it ends in “.zip” On both a Mac and PC, you can double click to unzip it (How to unzip a file). Pay attention to where the unzipped contents end up. If you don’t specify, they will be in the same folder you zipped file was.

This is where the steps differ depending on whether it is an Etsy “Font” or a real font. For a regular font, either that you purchased from places like Mighty Deals, Creative Market, etc, or downloaded from Dafont, locate the font, double click it and select install, or right click it and select install:

How to Install a font on a PC        How to Install a font on a Mac

Close your Silhouette program and reopen it. When you reopen it, your fonts will be listed when you click your font button. If the bold or italic options are available, that will be to the side of the font.

Your font folder in your library is just for fonts purchased from the Silhouette store. To the best of my knowledge you can’t add outside fonts to it. If someone knows this is incorrect, please post a comment.

OK, so that’s regular fonts. What about “fonts” you purchase on Etsy. Notice that I put the word fonts in quotations. That’s because, with very few exceptions, you are not purchasing a font. You are purchasing a vector file. They don’t behave the same way. A font is a much more complex thing and you can expect to pay more. With a vector file, you have to first unzip the file, then open the SVG file in you software, ungroup it and lay it out the way you want.

Many of these Etsy files are being used in ways that are prohibited by their licensing. Some are even just outright stolen and resold. Look at this one.

Kim Geswein is one of our best resources. She gives us gorgeous fonts free for personal use and charges only $5 for commercial use. This example burns my butt! (pardon my language). And there are hundreds more just like it on Etsy.

Do be cautious with “fonts” from Etsy where the copyright clearly doesn’t belong to the person offering them. The Etsy seller may give you commercial rights, but the real rights belong to the developer. They can still go after you and prevent you from using them.

I love fonts and I love creating with them. I am thankful for font designers who make these available to us at no cost or low cost. I respect developers of expensive fonts and if they “speak” to me long enough, I buy them – my most expensive to date being Desire Pro. Clearly a lot of work went into this.

How to Split Any Letter

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Today’s post is about splitting a file. A lot of people like the look of split letters and there are files like the Regal Font, which are 100% free or like Apex that is in the public domain. So why do people buy these files already split – the there are two answers. The first is that they don’t realize how easy it is to do it themselves, and the other is that most of these files need some cleaning up. Some people clean them, some don’t, and you are left with an inferior cut file. There are hundreds of people selling the Regal Letters on Etsy and if you have MTC, Julie did a phenomenal job of splitting them and cleaning them up for cutting. Personally, I have been working on splitting and cleaning Apex Lake for 6 months and I’m about halfway through, but I test cut each file at least 3 times.

Before you begin, you should read about compound path and grouping in a previous post. It will help you understand some of these steps.

I am going to be using a Free for Personal Use font called Preciosa available on Dafont. I chose this one to demonstrate with because it has simple lines and doesn’t need cleaning up (getting rid of parts that won’t cut well because they are too small).


The first thing I want you to notice in this picture is that the bounding box is larger than my font. I see this question posted on FB a lot. How come my font is smaller than the size I set? The answer is because the font “size” as shown by the bounding box is the size of the largest letter in the font.

 

Decide where you want your letter split and how big a split you want and draw a rectangle that size. The width of your rectangle needs to be wider than your letter. I filled mine with color so you can see it, but it’s not necessary. The next step is to select everything, click on the WELD MENU (on the top button bar – it looks like a rectangle with an “m” on it.

And then select subtract. If using a complex font, this step could take a while and it could seem as if your computer is freezing. Walk away and have a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine).

You will end up with something that looks like this. This is where you might want to clean up some very tiny pieces. For the sake of appearance, I am going to group the top and then group the bottom.

 

 

You can leave it like this, but I like the little bars on mine, so now I am going to draw the bar for the top and place it where I want it on the top. It needs to overlap a tiny bit (notice that my partial circle is covered. No duplicate it and put the second one on the bottom aligned with the first. Check that you like the look and the alignment.

 

When all is good, SELECT ALL and then WELD. Then group everything together so you don’t accidently loose little pieces. Add whatever you want in the space and show off.

 

 

GO PLAY

 

 

 

 

 

 


How to Make Wavy Text in Studio

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While it’s easier to create wavy text in programs such as Illustrator, it’s not difficult to do it in Silhouette. Now, I don’t have Basic on any of my computers, so I’m not sure if this is just something that is available in the Designer Edition.

The first thing to want to do is create the path for the text. For this, I use the Smooth Draw tool.

Using this tool, drag out a wavy line – the tool automatically smoothes for you. I turned up the point size so you can see it. You won’t do that. You can manipulate it even more by selecting the point edit tool and playing with the handles.

Once you have it exactly the way you want it, duplicate it if you will want several rows of text. An easy way to to this is to hold down the ALT button and drag.

Now, type your first line of text and drag it to the path.

 

 

When you are done, you may find that you have to play with the spacing. It may be necessary to ungroup and place a few letters differently. If you make your curves gentle, you won’t.

NOW GO PLAY!