NEW Video Release: Manual Tracing 2!


Finally, after 18 months, I’m releasing a new video for sale. Manual Tracing 2 covers how to trace images using the Arc Edit function and I highly recommend you give it a try because it’s ideal for images with lots of curves, but can still be used with straight line portions, too. You’ll end up with fewer nodes than with any other method and I also show a way to make sure symmetrical images are traced perfectly.

More videos are planned for release in the upcoming weeks! For anyone not using Paypal, you have the option, after being directed to the Paypal site, to use a credit card for the transaction. Just note the left side of the screen.

Finding Great Images to Auto-Trace

Today’s thank you’s go to Sherri S and to Kaleigh C for ideas on how to find images for auto-tracing in KNK Studio.

Someone at one of the Yahoo groups was looking for football images.  Now normally, I would send them to Picsearch or to Google and then perform the search and click on Images.  But Sherri did it one better… she googled on: Football Silhouette.  The following two screen shots illustrate the difference in what you get:

Search Results on "Football"

Search Results on "Football"

Search Results on "Football Silhouette"

Search Results on "Football Silhouette"

Obviously the second search yields much better/easier images for auto-tracing due to the black and white nature of the images and also the simplicity in the detail.

So, I was relating this find to my friend, Kaleigh S, who told me that she enjoys locating free coloring book images and does a similar search, except uses “coloring book” in place of “silhouette”.  Here are the results from that search:

Search Results on "Football Coloring Book"

Search Results on "Football Coloring Book"

Again, you get black and white images and, even better, different images from the first search. Now, auto-tracing these images will results in double lines, but those are fairly simple to edit out and it’s worth using this “coloring book” search in case the images you originally find are not quite what you are needing for your personal project.

As always, tracing these Internet images does not make them yours to share or sell without the permission of the original designer.  You’ll need to hunt down the Terms of Use or contact the original designer if you want to do more with them.  But for your own personal use,  have fun!

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.

Entering Default Settings in the Tracing Window

If you have accidentally deleted one of your trace settings or if you would like to create a new default, then today’s video will quickly show you how to do that. Here’s the link:

Setting Accuscan Defaults

If you need the settings on any of the listed defaults, here’s a link to a pdf with all of them listed:

Accuscan Default Trace Settings

For information on the meaning of each of these settings, check out Appendix D of the User Manual OR I cover them in my video, entitled: Auto-Tracing.

OOPS!!! What Did I Do?

Today’s topic covers the little things you can inadvertently click in KNK Studio or Design Master that will cause something “bad” to happen. Now by “bad”, I don’t mean anything catastrophic! lol I’m referring to those moments when something just doesn’t look right and you don’t know now to fix it! The following are some of the ones reported by users and hopefully, by reading and understanding each one, you won’t have to worry about them happening to you. 🙂

Problem: When I cut my image, the machine also tries to cut out my cardstock! Or, my KNK goes out of range when I’m just trying to cut a small image.

Cause: More than likely, you have inadvertently created a Sign Blank object, which is nothing more than a rectangle the exact same size as your Sign Blank. Because users often go to Layout>Blank Size, they might mistakenly click on the option right below that menu choice, which is Layout>Sign Blank Object.

Solution: To remove the Sign Blank object, simply click on the border of your Sign Blank and you will see the 9 little boxes appear. Click on the delete key to remove it.
Problem: Whenever I turn on Fill, my entire Sign Blank turns black (or some other color).

Cause: Again, you may have a Sign Blank object as stated above. So check that first. But the other possibility is that you have changed the color of your Sign Blank. I’m not sure if there’s more than one way to make this happen. I was the first person to report this to Accugraphic and Chad had to ask CADLink how to fix it.

Solution: Turns out, all you need to do is drag the color White from the Shop Palette and drop it onto your Sign Blank. Thus, that’s probably how I did it in the first place, but because I keep Fill turned off most of the time, I didn’t realize I had done it. Anyhow, this comes up every few weeks, so either the users are doing this same thing or there’s some other way to make it happen that we’ve not yet discovered.
Problem: When I type text, I can’t see anything being typed and after finishing, I have an unusual little icon with a little arrow or something.

Cause: You have typed in a TINY size of text. This first came up about a month after KNK Studio was first released and it took me another month to figure out what the user had done wrong! Finally a screen shot identified the size of the text in the text window as being 0.001.”

Solution: In the Text Smart Bar, increase the size of the text back to a reasonable size… e.g. 1.00″.
Problem: I’m trying to edit my image but the program won’t let me drag the nodes.

Cause: You probably have Snap to Grid turned on, which applies in all modes, including node editing.

Solution: Outdent the Snap To Grid icon or go to Options>Grid>Snap to Grid and uncheck.
Problem: When I cut, my image is cutting the wrong direction.

Cause: I’m probably to blame for this one more than anyone since I created the video on “Understanding the Sign Blank” which was before Design Master or KNK Studio GE were released. And images cut differently with a KNK than with one of the 8″ Graphtec Cutters. Note that with a Klic-N-Kut, you control Portrait vs Landscape cutting by checking or unchecking Axis Swap. With Design Master, you leave Axis Swap unchecked and cut Landscape by rotating the image -90 degrees in the Cut Preview window. With KNK Studio GE, you leave Axis Swap unchecked but change the Orientation to Landscape in the Layout>Blank Size window, unless you own a blue Wishblade (in which case, you do it the same way as with Design Master). Whew.

Solution: Check your Axis Swap setting under Cut>Plotting Defaults or check your Landscape vs Portait setting under Layout>Blank Size and modify the settings based on which cutter and which software you’re using.
Problem: When I cut my image, the cutter returns to the start and cuts the last part on top of the first part.

Cause: The cutter is basically doing something called tiling, in which it thinks it has run out of room to complete the cut.

Solution: Go to Cut>Plotting Defaults, click on Setup and make the Machine Limits larger. Don’t hesitate to increase those values to something outside the range of what you think you’ll ever cut.
Problem: I can no longer see the colors I’ve used on my Job Palette. I just see a yellow triangle with an exclaimation point.

Cause: You have inadvertently switched to Foil View. (This one just came up yesterday… thanks, Lynn for troubleshooting your OWN issue! 🙂

Solution: Click on the little 3 dot button on the Job Palette and then click on Color View.
Problem: I can’t seem to create guidelines.

Cause: You have inadvertently turned off the view guidelines option.

Solution: Use Alt-W or go to Options>Guides>Use Guides.
Problem: I lost one of my default trace settings.

Cause: If you click on Delete when you are in the Trace Settings window, the currently-selected default will be gone.

Solution: You simply need to find out the values for that setting and then re-enter them and type in a new name and save. I created a quickie video to show this, and typed up the default settings. See post on July 30, 2008.
I will plan to add more to this list as I think of them and will announce in a new post. Hope you find this helpful and if you have some suggestions, let me know!