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Posts posted by Wildgoose

  1. I have spent a few hours watching some tutorials and then playing around. I see a lot of areas for improvement in the design/draw end some of which have been mentioned already. I would like to be able to multi select items. Also have had a bad time with AI files importing (my primary design tool) I figured out that CS5 files WILL import but older ones wouldn't. The colors and/or layers aren't coming through the transfer. I think these AI issues are probably simple fixes the designers can take care of and I know they are already working on them. I am most disapointed in the cutting tools and functionality as a cutting utility. I design elsewhere and am hoping for a good cutting program to run my cutter. This seems almost an afterthought in the program...oh yeah lets be able to send this to a cutter. I would most like to see big upgrades in that department. I have been using SignCut Pro for 1-1/2 years and have gotten used to the weeding/tiling abilities and the cut by color options. I think SCALP can compete especially in the cut by color area if they fix the AI import problem but it needs a few more tools to work with for cutting. For instance, I use the tiling lines to control vinyl consumption. SCALP has a weeding tool that will inject some weeding lines but you can't exclude the other areas, at least I have not been able to find it. Also missing preview options that show actual cut image size to help pre-size vinyl for cutting (SC shows calculated vinyl length and width and a small detail showing current orientation in the cutter) I'm not bashing the program just giving input.

    On a positive note. If I were new to the whole thing and just getting a cutter to play around and do crafts and hobbies I think SCALP could easily be a one stop shop for simple design and cut work. I do NOT think that in its current state it is satisfactory for full on sign building (which unfortunately is how it was advertised). I think it can get there. I actually like the general layout of the workstation and it has some decent merge and exclude tools, the image orientation tools are very useable and I didn't have a bunch of learning time to trace an image or even play with the nodes. (that is probably in large part due to prior experience with AI and Inkscape) With Inkscape available for free I don't think many people will be using the design end of things in this program but for an entry level program to send out with US Cutter machines its probably perfect.(once the bugs are worked out) I don't agree with Sue 2 who posted that it was released prematurely, I think if the design team is trying to make this into a real great viable program the best thing they can do is get it out to a bunch of geeks like us and let us rip them up about it. If they can wade through all our biased input they can get some real good input that may be things they wouldn't have thought of. Personally the jury is still out...

  2. Update! The original AI CS5 I tried to open actually opened but was blank. I switched at that point to the older version as mentioned above with the assumption that SCAL wasn't up to handling CS5 yet. That didn't really surprise me because I use SignCut and have to downsave all my work to AI 8 to cut it anyway. Well NOT SO with SCAL. I had time to try some other files tonight and CS5's opened right up for me! I'm like.....What the... So I go back to the first file I tried and low an behold i was just some text that hadn't been converted to curves so it wasn't coming through the transfer into SCAL and I unwhittingly picked that file and then assumed CS5 was out. LOL So if your system is crashing from a runtime error you are probably trying to open a legacy version of AI. An easy fix, if you don't have AI (new enough) on your computer to up-save it, would be to open it in Inkscape and save it in native inkscape (.svg) and your golden. SCAL is cool with CS5 AI files. Yea!

    I do have a new concern that I must research. SCAL isn't bringing over the assigned colors to the AI files so they are all assigned black in SCAL which makes using cut-by-color a no-go. I told the support folks about it and will see if I'm just missing something.

  3. Here is a link to a comparison of the last 4 versions. Not sure if that helps or not.


    Illustrator is a massive program and it takes a LOT of time time and effort to learn but its well worth it. I use CS5 but the new program is just out and I see a lot of folks using older CS2 versions with good results.

  4. I want to start a specific topic on this because its apparently an issue and I have a hard time following it through the other threads as it is a sporadic topic.

    I loaded SCALP and then went to the website and downloaded the upgrade before I even tried it. I can open jpg files and trace them just fine but I tried to open an Illustrator file (older illustrator 8 version) and it just gives me the runtime error and closes the program. I tried importing and opening a coule different ways in case I was going about it wrong (maybe I still am). No luck yet. I use SignCut Pro and have to save my work into the older illustrator version for it so I assumed it would at least handle that but no go yet. I have been too busy to dedicate a bunch of time to this yet but hope to be able to within the next few days.

    I build all my cuts in AI so I am mostly looking for this to run as a cutting utility for my Creation P-Cut rather than worry about the tracing and other design tech that it offers. I'm a patient person and trust that I will get it figured out and will keep updating here as I learn more. Please post up if you are having the same issues and any fixes or ideas you have.


  5. I tried converting this file from CS, CS2, 3, 4, and 5. None of the above worked when exporting these from corel as these types, however, SCAL Pro did not crash either.

    I tried in Illustrator 8 which is quite old and what I have to use in SignCutPro but it just crashed with the runtime error also. I put in a support request so hopefully they will get back with me in a few days.

  6. You are probably not having a color problem. When you live trace illustrator creates an object in each hole. I am betting thats what your getting. Look in the layers panel and scroll down and look for objects with no apparent color. Click on it to highlight where it is on your design and you can tell if its a hole or not. Your cutter is going to think this is something that needs cut out and it will go over it again. I use CS5 version of AI not sure what one you're working with but it should be similar. I have had this problem when using the merge tab in the pathfinder menu.

  7. I couldn't resist and ordered a copy also. I have been using signcut pro with good results but I never got around to buying the dongle so I have to buy a license every so often anyway and if my internet is down so is my cutter. I'm excited and hope it does as good as signcut pro.

    Does anyone know if upgrades will be included as they work through the bugs?

  8. I don't know what version of AI you are running and things are a little different in each version, although most main features are available in all just named different or in different places. (I run CS5) You are having problems with this one because it has a bunch of clipping paths. If you go into the layers menu and start clicking on the little arrows it will pull down the items within each item, sort of a sub-menu. You will see clipping paths which you can also tell you have by the big bounding box that shows up when you select an item. You need to remove the offending clipping paths until you have just the outline of the object showing up when you select it. Then of course select the multiple items you want to merge or unite and it will work.

    I try to use unite when possible because merge will also create new objects in any open hole in compound paths which you won't see because they don't have color until you cut them on your cutter and it double cuts everything. At least thats how SignCut works.

    Sorry for the 600 page novel. Remeber you can always undo if you mess up. Keep playing around and you'll figure it out.

    • Like 1

  9. Hoppy, I work in .ai but its similar. You will do well to find the correct font as Coaster suggested with the link. I have never been happy with traced fonts, they never come out clean enough. I place a copy of the image on the workspace and turn down the opacity to about 50% then lock it so I can see the original to build off of but don't have it active. Then you can trace the file, discard the text to be replaced with the actual text and clean up any irregulars that the tracing brought on. Personally I loose the fill and line colors until I'm happy with the trace so I can see the locked original below. Not sure how much of that translates into inkscape. I have a version of ink on one of my laptops but I don't spend enough time with it to give you specific help.

  10. my 0.02. I use .ai and some inkscape. live trace is a nice concept and is ok on small stuff from a clean highres pic but if your going to go big with it after you're done all the little nasties that you don't see on an 8.5x11 become really noticeable on a 4ft signboard.On simple designs I ususally hand trace with the pen tool to get nice curves and smooth transitions. You can interpret the image better than the computer can in every instance. some objects are so complex it is time prohibitive and I just go the easy button but and then maybe clean it up some.

  11. I totally love Illustrator CS5, that was a real deal for $70. I think it retails for $600. Takes a long time to learn the program but once you know it it rocks! You will probably have to save the file properly for sign blazer. Use the type tool and type out your text. If you then switch to the black pointer (the normal select arrow) the text will then have a blue line under it and you can open up the text options dialoge box by clicking the blue word "Character" right beside the text box up in the top of the toolbox. That will let you do all kinds of expanding and stretching, changing fonts etc. Once you have the text the way you want it then you will need to convert it to curves. Just click the "type" option and part way down it has the otion to "create outlines" at this point you will have objects rather than live type so you want to be sure you are done with the font and all the basic mods before you create outlines. Once its converted to outlines (curves) you will probably have to save the file to illustrator 8 which is a lot older but almost any cutting software can read it. (You can only have one artboard when you save to older versions also) I draw with my artboard to the exact size of the work I am building and then save it and the final product turns out exactly the right size. No guessing in the cutter settings. I use signcut rather than sign blazer but I bet they react similar. Thats a quick rundown but hopefully you can figure out how to use it and enjoy the benefits of illustrator.

  12. Yep, got the heat spot on but still having issues getting the carrier to pull of without it pulling up the vinyl and can't get the "2 second kiss" thing to work for me. I am hoping to get some info from them but I have found answers to almost every question I have come up with here on this forum. THis is the forst time I have had to ask for specific help. So far I have played with the pressure and heat settings. By ramping up the heat (a bunch) They come off better but it takes temperatures hot enough to start scorching the cothing. Not to big a deal on cotton but I am scared to do polyester.

  13. Ok so I bought a heat press, (swing away type from US Cutter) and have had nothing but success with the Siser brand vinyls (Love Them!) At time of purchase I also shopped around and got several yards of various types and colors of vinyl from stahls direct to try out. I can't get them to apply very well. The temperatures recommended all seem too low and the carrier won't come up after application without pulling bad etc... Very disappointed and its probably something I am doing wrong. I am basically staying with the Siser brand but I have a bunch of this other stuff I would like to use up. Can anyone tell me what I am doing wrong? I bought an infrared thermometer to Make sure the platen is the proper temperature and I have played around with time and pressure but no success. They have videos on their website that show doing a 2 sec "kiss" then apply the second color with sportfilmlite but I can't get that to work for me. I am hoping someone has been through this also and has some tips.