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Cutters & Design Programs - Beginner's Guide

Discussion in 'Open Bar!' started by somewhereman, Jan 24, 2019.


  1. Squishy

    Squishy Queen Clown Slayer Mod

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    Thanks @somewhereman. Bookmarked!
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  2. SiRoxx

    SiRoxx Party Boy UK Style Very Likeable!

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    Thank you Somewhereman. Really appreciate you taking the time to post this info and the links. This will be very useful.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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  3. somewhereman

    somewhereman Double Actioner

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    what if you want to create a stencil from an image, could be something like a wrought iron, flowers, tree bark, a face, etc.,
    instead of designing/drawing from scratch?

    Phase 1 - single color stencils (whole design on one stencil, black and white)

    here is a great online tool to create a single stencil
    simply adjust the menu selection and sliders to your liking, download your png (raster, not for cutting),
    and bring it into your graphics tool to vectorize (cutting file)

    below is the process assuming cutting with silhouette cameo (it is a surprisingly simple yet effective tracer)
    if you want to utilize the silhouette studio tracer (or the text functionality, etc.) but do not have a silhouette cutter,
    there is a simple way to get the native .studio file into an svg vector file for use in other programs
    go here and upload your silhouette studio file, click 'browse' to find your studio file on your computer,
    then click 'convert studio to svg',
    then when finished right-click the link and select 'save link target as'
    save it to where you want (this program works very well every time i have used it)
    you are limited to 10 conversions free/day, but you can purchase more if necessary

    next post will be how to do this with the free gimp program

    Attached Files:

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  4. somewhereman

    somewhereman Double Actioner

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    as nice as the above program is sometimes it is better to be able to do it yourself,
    more control/fine tuning and you are not left wanting if that website is suddenly offline
    plus the next post will be doing multi-color/multi-stenciled designs, which you cannot do with that online program

    this is done with gimp(download partha's build here free, scroll down look on right side) and also shows the serif vector trace, but the trace can be done in studio as well
    i used the same image as above for comparison, and i wanted to use a really complex image to start with to show the capabilities
    after all is said and done with the final vector trace here and above, any clean-up can be done prior to cutting (like islands, errant lines/shapes/etc)

    this is my own method i developed, but you can certainly add/subtract, incorporate different parameters/etc.
    please post improvements and failures
    (photos contain relevant parameters used for this image, meant to be a starting point)

    1 - import image into gimp (keep it fairly small resize to about 7oo pixels)
    2- shadows and highlights to brighten light areas and darken dark areas (don't worry if it looks unnatural)
    3- posterize to 4 colors then desaturate to remove all color leaving a black and white image
    4- sharpen using unsharp mask (again don't worry about unnatural look)
    5- antialias
    6- pencil sketch bw
    7- gmic qt patterns - stencil
    8- threshold
    9- save as jpg and trace for vector

    gimp1.jpg gimp4.jpg gimp5.jpg gimp6.jpg View attachment 58063

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
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  5. somewhereman

    somewhereman Double Actioner

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    ok, back for the multi-color/multi-layered/multi-stencil design

    for this i used the free gimp and the free silhouette studio

    i am using the same image as above for continuity and ease of observation
    the final product is a 4 layer stencil of an image (4 colors/sections/zones) ready to cut on your cameo
    or if you have another cutter, 2 posts up is the process for converting to an svg for cutting with other cutters

    this is a really simple method i just developed, so please feel free to add tweaks/better procedures/etc

    and away we go....

    1 - open image in gimp and adjust shadow/highlight, and unsharp mask (as in above post)
    2 - go to the upper menu in gimp, then 'image', 'mode' and click 'indexed' (see image 1 below)
    3 - select the number of colors/layers/stencils you would like for the image, then convert (see image 2 & 3 below)
    4 - export image as a jpg and open in silhouette studio, make the image larger and then copy & paste it as a smaller image beside it (see image 4 below)
    5 - open the trace box and click 'select trace area' and cover the entire larger image
    6 - click the eyedropper symbol in the upper left of the trace box to access the trace by color function, then click 'trace by color' button right underneath
    7- choose a color on the image you would like to trace and adjust the 'tolerance' slider to your liking (image 5 below),
    here is where your smaller image comes into play, use this as a guide for your tolerance level (all of mine for this image were in the 7-21 range)
    8 - when you are happy click 'trace', depending on the image you can move the trace to the side and do another color trace
    or if it is a complex image like this one, save it with a color/tone designation, then delete the trace and move on to the next color to be traced
    when the next trace is complete, save it with a different file name, then delete the trace, etc. until completed
    this will save you from computer lag/hang-ups
    9 - you can recompile the image into layers in silhouette (studio 4 and above)
    if you want accurate positioning for each color layer, add a small square in the upper left corner of each layer
    keep the square in the exact same place on each layer, on your first airbush layer add a small piece of painters tape inside the square
    then your subsequent stencils simply need to have their squares lined up with the tape, remove tape when completed

    the last image is a recompilation of the 4 cut layers/colors and a black box behind to highlight any missed areas when tracing
    it turned out pretty good for such a complex image with minimal misses, a few spots on the water
    i believe this was because i wanted to keep the tolerance low on the blue layer because it was infiltrating where i did not want it
    now i can 'subtract' each layer from a black box in succession (one layer, copy black box and paste it into next layer, etc.),
    then decide where which layer to add the missed spots (or even cut it up and add a bit to each layer)

    that is all

    Attached Files:

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