I Love the Erase Tool in MTC!

Reason #20: Erase Tool
Reason #21: Inverse Erase Tool

These are two more reasons to check out Make The Cut software! The ability to simply drag the mouse to erase parts of a vector image and, equally handy, to add to a vector image provide easy modifications to your cutting files. The eraser size can be anything from 0.03 mm thick (we’re talking eyelash on a ladybug thin!) to, basically, unlimited.

And not only can the Erase tool be used to erase or add to images, but the 0.03 mm provides a great tool for slicing and dicing shapes. While there is a Knife tool available for this purpose, I personally prefer using the Erase tool in most cases, because it results in a closed shape, rather than leaving it open. Here’s the difference:

The Knife tool always does a straight line cut. The Erase function has the option of a freehand movement or you can hold the Ctrl key while using and achieve a straight line erase, as show in the right heart above. Of course there are situations where the open path resulting from the Knife tool could be exactly what is needed. The nice thing is that you have a choice!

As always, videos are the best way to show you how these cool tools work! So, have a look at how the Erase tool was put to use in several different ways in these two demonstrations:

Erase and Inverse Erase

Using the Inverse Eraser to Edit a PNC Trace

If you have any questions, feel free to post a comment here. As always, MTC is available for sale in my online store here. Also, be sure to check out other free MTC videos available at this link, as well as the downloadable user manuals for MTC, which have been recently updated!

Closing Open Shapes

One question that I occasionally get from a customer is what to do when closed shapes are not actually closed. Sometimes, it’s a case of just two nodes not being connected. Other times, it can be dozens of gaps on a single shape. In both KNK Studio and in Make-The-Cut, when a shape is not closed, it will not fill with color, as shown with the left reindeer above. In KNK Studio a shape will be dashed lines if Fill is turned on and the shape has a gap between two nodes. In Make The Cut, the shape will be a solid line and filled with the background of the Virtual Mat.

One thing to remember is that even when a shape SHOULD be closed, it often won’t change the results when you cut because the disconnected nodes are SO very close that the cut completes. If, however, the gap between the nodes is significant (say, more than 1/16″), then certainly you will have a problem with your shape not separating from the waste. Also, if there are numerous gaps, then the cutting won’t be as smooth since the blade will be raising at the and of each path where a break occurs and then coming back down at the next node.

I made several videos showing the various options users have in both KNK Studio and in Make-The-Cut for closing open shapes:

Closing Shapes in KNK Studio

Closing Shapes in Make-The-Cut

One thing not shown in the MTC video is how to quickly identify the location of a broken path. As I mentioned above, the blade will always start and end at the disconnected nodes. Thus, if you use the Measure Tools (bottom icon on the Node Edit menu), and then hover your mouse over the shape, a large blue or green arrow head will pop up indicating the cut direction and starting node for that particular path. Also check to see if the entire path has turned red:

If part of the path is only red, then you have another break on another part of the shape. Hover the mouse over another part of the shape to locate the break in that one. The following screen shots show that the outer shape has two breaks:

Thus, in this case, the closing would need to be applied in both locations. But as you can see from the video, it’s an easy process and you even have choices on how to close! Pick the one you like best and go with it!

Feel free to post if you have any questions…

Disproportionately Resizing Fold-up Projects

Thank you to Heather L for today’s subject. Heather sent a fold-up gable box pattern that was sized to ~ 10 x 6.5. She wanted to make it as large as possible for a 12 x 12 sheet of cardstock. Now the issue with resizing fold-up patterns is that you have to keep the overall width and height proportional or your pattern will not necessarily still fold up correctly. This was precisely the situation with Heather’s box. After stretching the image to fit a large square shape, the side flaps were too large to fold inwards to form the box.

Not to worry! This is a perfect application for the Ginsu Knife tool. Once I stretched the image, I cut off the two flaps and resized their width to match base of the box. Then I welded them back into place. The key was to just know which dimensions needed to still match so that the box pattern would work. The only thing is that you may need to do a test cut after stretching any given fold-up pattern to see for yourself which parts still work and which parts will need adjusting. If you have a pattern yourself that you cannot figure out, then please send it to me! This is a terrific new subject to explore.

Here’s the video to watch: Heather’s Gable Box Resizing

Bite Into This!

Carol B contacted me late yesterday asking how she could create a bite mark in a cookie or an apple. Now the basic way would be to use the Ginsu knife tool and just hold down the left mouse button and draw the bite mark through the image and separate:

The problem is that I’m a lousy artist, thus my bite just doesn’t “work for me!” lol
So, I remembered the apple file that comes with KNK Studio and figured that it would be a good starting point because it has a bite taken from it. So, have a look at this video and you’ll see how I transferred that exact same bite to a circle to create the cookie:
Bite Mark Video
Thanks, Carol, for yet another great video idea!

Josselet’s Jostle It!


Credit for today’s post goes to Brenda Josselet who has found a quick way to align nodes horizontally or vertically, thus making editing straight line images much easier. I was so impressed with her discovery that I just had to come up with a name for it that would make it hers forever. So, I’m calling it Josselet’s Jostle It because you do kind of jostle the nodes in the process!
Here’s the video to see how it works. I’ve also added a few more things you may not have thought of before, so hopefully there’s something for everyone in this post. Thanks again, Brenda, for sharing your discovery!

Josselet’s Jostle It

Sherri’s Dinosaur

At the new KNK_Groove Yahoo group, Sherri P posted that she was having some problems following the user manual tutorial on tracing. I replied that the new Vectorize Wizard is so loaded with functionality that it can be overwhelming to follow the many steps I show in the manual. Because Sherri had scanned the image she wanted to trace and only needed a simple tracing, I suggested she send me the file so that I could show her a quick way to trace it.

Well, the interesting thing about this particular image (and why my readers here ended up with a free video) is that this is a situation outside of what we normally see when tracing. First of all, one would think this would be ideal for using center line tracing because it’s basically an outlined image with a white filled center (refer to my Center Line Tracing video or any of the KNK Studio manuals). I tried Center Line Tracing, however instead of ending up with separate puzzle pieces (the goal of this project), I had an overall outline of the dinosaur with separate, disconnected lines for the middle of the dinosaur. Now this would be perfect if the user planned to just cut the outside of the dinosaur and then, perhaps, dash-line cut the intererior lines. But to achieve 3 separate puzzle pieces, Accuscan would be needed instead.

Now tracing it was easy (as you’ll see in the video). The next issue was that the trace lines will be made on either side of the outlines of the image. In most cases, this is also never a problem. But with Sherri’s project, we needed to end up with three puzzle pieces that fit together. So, I came up with the idea of using Transform>Outline to make some of the pieces just a tiny bit bigger, resulting in a better puzzle fit.

So, check out the video and I also am including a link to the original KNK file sent to me by Sherri in case you want to play along! Special note to non-Groove and non-Maxx owners: this same method should work for those of you with the original monochromatic vectorizing (just use the Scan and Trace Wizard) and those of you with color vectorization (same method I show in the video).

Tracing and Editing Sherri’s Dinosaur

And then here is the original file:
Dino Puzzle To Trace

I also sell a video on using the Auto Tracing for KNK, ACS, DM and plan to have a new one soon covering the details of the Vectorize Wizard available in the latest KNK Studio Maxx software.