redfish

Backlit sign

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I have a graphic going into a backlit box.

The background is blue text is yellow with a black outline, when I cut the blue I include the yellow, where I am having a problem is cutting the black, I need to spread the black to cover the line between the Yellow and the blue so no light shows through. In Illustrator CS there is no align stroke command. How do I enlarge the black just enough to cover the seam?

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Hard to understand what your talking about without a pic but I would convert the black to a compound shape (Command 8 or ctrl 8 on pc) then pull down object>path>offset path. I'm not at my actual work station so I am going from memory on the pull downs but you should be able to find that and you can type in .25in in the offset field and it will do it just that much. (I am assuming that you are working in full scale) That should create a new object behind the existing one that is 1/4" larger. If you are still having problems then post the file and we can figure it out and teach you how. 

 

<edit> whoops I gave directions for 1/4" rather than 1/6" sorry. use .17in 

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Thanks Wild goose, when I do that the offset adds to both the inside and outside of the outline, am trying to just expand the inside to cover a little of the fill color. I created the outline by copying the text pasting behind and offsetting the path, then I selected both and subtracted from shape. so I have a 1/2 black outline with hollow center. I only want to expand the inside.

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Make sure layers are still centered for the letters but I think that will give you the result you were looking for.

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Step 1. Throw out AI. LOL

I work in Corel but what I did was take your letters and inline them instead of outline. Then I deleted the line youhad from copying the text the first time so all that was left was your outline and my inline. I don't know if that makes sense but I don't know the terminology for Illy.

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Don't listen to him about illustrator. Since the black around your yellow letters is basically an outline. It is a compound shape. In prder to work on only the outer path you would need to break them apart. This is done in the objects compound path release.. you can do this one letter at a time. Or select then all. Once they are separate just select the paths you want to offset an do the path offset discussed earlier. You can do this one at a time if you eant or select all of the paths you want to offset and use the ctrl-8 to make cthem a new compound path and do them all at once. After offset then delete the original paths and reconnect the inner paths to each letter by the same compound path method and you're done.

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Don't listen to him about illustrator. Since the black around your yellow letters is basically an outline. It is a compound shape. In prder to work on only the outer path you would need to break them apart. This is done in the objects compound path release.. you can do this one letter at a time. Or select then all. Once they are separate just select the paths you want to offset an do the path offset discussed earlier. You can do this one at a time if you eant or select all of the paths you want to offset and use the ctrl-8 to make cthem a new compound path and do them all at once. After offset then delete the original paths and reconnect the inner paths to each letter by the same compound path method and you're done.

I can too pick on illustrator :P

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You can do anything you want Jay I'm just telling Redfish not to pay attention to your silliness! Ha ha! I know, I know, Corel is a grown up program too. 

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OK, redfish. 

 

This is the first opportunity I have had to open up your file and look it over. I have a few questions. 

 

You said this is going on a backlit sign. Is the substrate white or clear? If white you can cut the white letters out of the blue and the white outline around the red lettering. As it is built in both your original and Jays the blue layer covers the whole sign. That is going to show through all the lighter layers you are trying to do including the yellow. Jays work on your black outline will do what you asked however her shrunk the yellow lettering by overlapping onto the yellow which I didn't think you wanted and all of the lettering will be going over a blue layer as built. 

 

I would knock out the white areas from the blue and cut the red lettering to go inside the white oval area. I would also upsize the yellow a little so it will overlap the blue at least 1/4" inside the black to avoid having something show in case of misalignment and also knock out an area a little bigger than the black from the blue and have the black just the same size it already is cover up all the seams between the yellow and blue and the hole you will have in the blue that lets the light hit the yellow unobstructed. 

 

I assume you know that they make translucent vinyl specifically to go on back-lit signs. It allows light through much better than regular. The black doesn't really matter and in this case would be best if it is regular opaque vinyl  to better cover any inconsistencies in the application. 

 

I don't have time to work on this tonight, or at least right now but I am willing to work it over for you if you want and post it up later. If the substrate is clear then you are going to have to deal with the white lettering also which will be tricky to get some white in the right spot under the blue knock outs. You could possibly knock out the letters then make the white areas slightly bigger and place them on top but there is a good chance that it will look crappy at the overlap. OR cover the whole thing with white translucent to start but your getting into more costs. 

 

I probably confused the heck out of you and if so, I am sorry.

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Here is a copy changed as noted above. Some things I found while digging around that you should know are as follows:

 

You had created a few compound shapes, primarily the black outline was a compound shape. You want to be making compound paths rather than shapes. It's complicated to explain but in a nutshell a compound shape is a dynamic shape that allows more flexibility in certain situations but is not what you are looking for when building cut files. Compound paths are a fancy way to group objects that tells illy that it is to be treated as one single object. Just about any time you do an operation you will see the resulting object changed back into a group and if you need to do more work on it you may want it to be all one and while it's still selected either pull down the object menu and select compound path>make or hold command 8 on mac (ctrl 8 on pc) For instance. To "knock out" the white letters within the blue background you would select them both and use the minus front tab from the Pathfinder menu. This will work pretty good the first time, provided that the white letters are on top of the blue in the layers panel which they will be if they look correct in the workspace. Then you decide to also knock out the oval around the red text. It has now slipped below the blue layer as a result of the minus operation you performed so you need to rearrange them in the layers panel by dragging them or using the shortcut keys command/ctrl [ or ] for up or down. Once you have the white oval back on top of the blue if you try to do the same function you did with the white letters you will get a mess because during that operation it created a new object that has the insides of the letters included in a group and the pathfinder button you are trying to use will take the top object only so the others get left behind and you wonder WTF. If you had changed the blue to a new compound path with a quick ctrl8 it would treat the whole blue object as one and the regular minus operation will go as expected. 

 

Now, I'm not sure why you are getting compound shapes rather than compound paths. In CS5 you have to use the option or alt as you click the pathfinder operation to get it to go to a shape (dynamic) rather than a path. I believe in one version which I think was CS3 it was reversed. Not sure which version you have. If you get compound shapes you can't ungroup or anything and I find them a pain. Easy way to convert them is to expand appearance and it will change them into normal paths again and then you can decide if you need to make them compound paths or not based on if you are done manipulating them. 

 

It seems confusing until you run through it a few times and get used to it. Hopefully you don't have to learn to option click every time you use the pathfinder menu (CS3). I saved this file is plain old CS so hopefully it will open up ok for you. This should be ready to go if you are installing on white substrate. I notice that the size is nearly 40" tall for the blue layer. If you have to panel this you will probably get a deeper color at the overlap. Good luck!

Tint redux.ai.ai

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I know there are a lot more ai users on here than corel and I'm cool being the underdog but to read the descriptions of how to do things in ai seems may too complicated if all you do is cut vinyl. If working in print I think ai has the advantage but just complicates things for cut vinyl. BTW if using layered translucent remember that the layered color may appear to be a totally different color. Remember yellow and blue make green, you may experience this to an extent 

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The single most important reason I love .ai over other design programs is being able to shut off the bounding box. Maybe you can do that in corel, I have not tried it. Beyond that it's just a little commitment to learn how to use it and once you know how it's awesome. As far as designs for cutting, they are way simple and the process I described is basically the toughest of all the concepts to get your head wrapped around. Once you learn the basics then you are just doing the same thing repetitively and soon it comes without thinking. 

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Here is a pic of the difference with the stupid bounding box gone. Can you drop this out in Corel? Also have an option to select only by the path which helps select what you want without accidentally clicking on other things. Probably two silly reasons.

post-20133-0-26055800-1380201533_thumb.j

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Only time I can remember a box like that is in the interactive envelope tool. Here's a shot where I just typed some text and selected to show what it looks like.  

post-40404-0-49630100-1380203764_thumb.j

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I know there are lots of things ai can do, some of which corel may not but with plain vinyl I haven't seen the need for those fancy things. I also know I'm in the minority with corel and had I taught myself on ai we wouldn't be having this conversation.

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Thank you all for your help and Knowledge. My main business id design and fine art repro. But in this economy I will take on anything, the tips and information you provided to a total stranger is greatly appreciated. THANK YOU again.

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