Monday, October 10, 2016

Shapes Two!

This tutorial post might be a bit dry, but I wanted to be sure I covered all aspects of the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition software, not just the fun parts. So, thanks for sticking with me.

This tutorial will be focusing on polygons, curved shapes, freehand shapes, and the arc. Below is a picture of the tools that we will be covering in this post.  All of these tools are located on the left hand toolbar.

First, I will be covering the polygon. It is the last tool in the picture above. It is very much like drawing a circle or square from my other tutorial, Shapes! To draw a polygon, click on the 'Draw a Regular Polygon'.

Where would you like the center of your polygon to be? Where ever you click next will make it so. Click once or click and hold, whatever you are in to. When you are happy with the size of your polygon click again or let go of the mouse button.

Side note... how to you describe letting go of a mouse button?  Release the pressure? Lift up your finger? Let go of the mouse? I guess release the mouse button sounds best but no matter which way I write it out, it all sounds weird in my head.  Here is my polygon:

A five sided polygon.  Note the two red dots... they will be important later.

Below is a handy chart I made when dealing with regular polygons:

So, you want a shape with a different number of sides?  Easy stuff.  See that slider bar with the number 5?  Slide it right or left to increase or decrease the number of sides.  You can choose to have any shape from a triangle (3 sides) to a hexacontagon (60 sides).

A triangle inside of a hexacontagon.
I don't know if you can tell, but I learned a new word today.

Enough about polygons you say! This isn't geometry! Well toughen up buttercup because we are about to make some irregular polygons!

Select the 'Draw a Polygon' tool and click anywhere on your work area.  Move the mouse and click again where you would like the corners of your polygon to be. It's pretty simple. You do not have to connect the lines together, but if you want to the two red circles should 'jump' together when they get close to each other.

Holding the 'Shift' key while drawing your polygon will cause the next point to jump at 90° angles.

An irregular polygon.  The red dots are about as close as I could get them before they wanted to jump together.

Next, we will cover the 'Draw a Curve Shape' tool. It is very much like the 'Draw a Polygon' tool as you point and click to draw your shape.  The major difference being that the final path will be a smooth curve instead of corners.

Holding the 'Shift' key while creating the path will cause the two red dots to never join together, even if they are right on top of each other.  This is really helpful when you are making small, intricate shapes and don't want the line to close on itself until you are ready.

It's like a failed banana.

The next two tools are very similar. Both 'Draw Freehand' and 'Draw Smooth Freehand' work the same. Select the tool you want to use, click and hold on the mouse button where you would like to begin your drawing, draw your shape, release the mouse button when your shape is finished. If you draw over your starting point the shape will automatically close and finish your drawing.

The image below shows the difference between the freehand and smooth tools. I just prefer to use the smooth freehand tool unless I am trying to copy a signature or something very specific. You can see the smooth one has fewer points in the design.  This will result in a much faster cut.

The smooth freehand (bottom) also makes my handwriting look much less shaky.

Finally, we are going to cover the 'Draw an Arc' tool. This is a pretty powerful tool that is rather simple to use. An arc may just be a portion of a circle, but this tool lets you specifically measure the angle and size of your arc so you don't have to guess.

To use this tool first select the 'Draw and Arc' tool then click where the center of your circle would be. Draw a line equal to the radius of your circle and click again. Now draw your arc.  You can see the angle of the arc change as you move your mouse.  When you are happy with the arc click a third time.  This will complete your arc.

An arc. Not like the boat, though.

If you need to keep the angle the same, but make the arc longer or shorter in length, click on the double sided arrow that is at the center of your arc.

Three arcs.  All with the same angle, just different lengths.
Still not a boat.

If you need to change the angle of your arc, click and drag one of the red dots until the angle is to your liking. You can draw the arc completely closed and make a circle if you would like.

Four different arc angles are shown.

You can use the 'Scale' tool to create arcs that are skewed.
Skewed arcs.  Both started as the same shape.  The left one had the horizontal measurement increased the right hand had the vertical increased.

Finally, I wanted to show an example of using the arc in a real world example.  Here is a picture of an iron-on vinyl before being flipped for cutting.

Using text on an arc. This CAN be used on a boat :)

That should cover everything. Thanks for reading.  Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments.

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