Saturday, 1 October 2016

Using SVG Files with Silhouette Studio (DesignerEdition and above)

Hello,  Janet here again.

One of the great advantages of using the Silhouette Studio® Designer Edition over the basic software is it's ability to make use of files in SVG format.

SVG files, or Scaleable Vector Graphics, have three characteristics which are particularly useful to Silhouette users;
  1. they can be increased in size without losing detail
  2. they can contain paths which equate to cut lines and, 
  3. because they are a common format for many other cutting machines and drawing programmes, there are lots available, both free and paid for.
You can read more about vector graphics in Nadine's post What are vector graphics?

Today's post will show you how to open an SVG file in the Designer Edition (DE) of the Silhouette software.

STEP 1 : Downloading your SVG file

Download your chosen SVG file to your computer. Where it is saved varies according to your computer, your browser and your settings, just make sure you know it's file name and where to find it.

You can check by navigating to it independently of the Silhouette software. This gives you the opportunity to check if it is packaged as part of a Zipped file (with .zip file extension).  If it is, open up the zipped folder and identify which file/s you need. Don't open your chosen SVG just yet.

STEP 2 : Opening your SVG file

Open up Silhouette Studio® and click on File > Open.  Find your SVG files and select (OK) the one you would like.

The SVG file will open up in design view.

If you get a message saying 'File type not supported' you've likely tried to open a file that is NOT in SVG format, or the Designer Edition of the software is not installed. 

The file will usually display as one flattened layer. You can look at the layers by opening the Layers Panel (only in Designer Edition and above).  This gives you the ability to add or remove layers using the +/- signs. This file has only one layer.

You can also display the individual layers by ungrouping the file. The 2 designs are quite different, although they don't look it at this stage.  If you try to ungroup the right-hand design, you'll find ungroup is not available (Object > Ungroup is greyed out). However, you can ungroup the one on the left, and by successively selecting and ungrouping you can reduce it to its constituent lines. This gives you all kinds of design possibilities enabling you to move any or all of the parts around and change the design around as you wish.

STEP 3: Setting Cut Lines for the SVG File

Often SVG files, don't have the cut lines turned on. To do this, just select the design and open the Cut Settings window. then click on Cut.  However, this is also another way of examining the design and to check on how it will cut.  You'll see the one on the right has a cut line going all the way around and would cut out as one solid shape.

Prior to the ungrouping the one on the left would cut down the centre line, this would be great for sketch pens or embossing (with your Curio), but probably isn't what you'd want for cutting.

However, to make it cut conventionally, you'd just need to select Cut Edge.

Now you can save your design as a Studio file (and its up to you if you want to save it to your Silhouette Library, or save it elsewhere on your computer).

STEP 4:  Using the Design

I chose this particular design because a friend had asked me to make some coasters featuring an Icelandic Symbol and drinking salutation. The Silhouette Store didn't have the symbol, so I found one online that I could use*.

I used the SVG design and added 'Skal', the Icelandic equivalent of cheers, in LW Perfect Type.

The design was cut from Gold matt vinyl and transferred it to plain black acrylic coasters.

*A note on copyright: Not all designers allow you to deconstruct their files. If you have purchased (or even downloaded an SVG file for free) check the designer's (or the site's) terms and conditions to see if it is allowed. This design was downloaded from a site which encourages reuse of its files and does not require permission or attribution.

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