Today’s topic is something that TOTALLY stumped me as a beginner. I would be working in the software and suddenly there were little black dots all over my design. Here’s an example–
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(By the way, that’s a design from the Silhouette Design Store called Aspen Leaf).
I didn’t know what they were or how to get rid of them, so I would try random things until they went away. Even after I figured out what they were, I didn’t really understand how to manipulate them. Let me tell you about them so they don’t drive you crazy.
What are all those little black dots?
Cut files we use in Silhouette Studio are called vector images. They are a series of nodes connected by straight and curved line segments. They tell the machine “Start here. Cut a curved line to this point. Go in a new direction and cut a straight line to this point.” etc. The black dots you see are those nodes. They have no visual component unless you add fills or increase the line thickness.
The other standard type of images are raster or bitmap images — the earliest type of digital images. They are made up of a grid of squares filled with color, white, or clear. The squares (also called pixels) are really small, so when you put them all together they create a colored image. Photos and clip art images are rasters. When you make them larger, they get fuzzy because you begin to see the squares. That’s called pixelation.
With vector images, when you increase the size you are just elongating the line segments by moving the points. Therefore, there’s no distortion on the image. That’s why this is a preferred current type for graphic artists in a digital medium.
Why did they pop up on my design?
When you double click quickly on an image, you get into point editing mode instead of the regular selection mode.
How do I get rid of them?
There are several ways to get out of point editing mode and back into normal selection mode:
- Click on a blank area of your design page. This is the quickest way. In the current release of the Silhouette Studio software, when you simply click on a different image you’ll still be in point editing mode on that shape.
- Click the selection icon at the top of the left-side icon bar.
- Use the right click menu and select Exit Point Edit Mode.
- With the keyboard shortcut “v.”
What can I do with those dots?
The great thing about vector images is that you can change the contours of the design by editing the dots. You can–
- Make a straight line segment into a curved one an vice versa.
- Edit the shape of a curve.
- Move a point.
- Change a sharp corner into a more curved one and vice versa.
- Add points to create new contours.
- Remove points to smooth out the shape.
- Break and join paths. (A path is simply the lines of the shape).
- Combine pieces of 2 different designs into one and vice versa.
How can I learn more about editing the dots?
Since there are a great many things you can do with points, you can really customize your images. You can also move them accidentally and mess up your image. Editing points is a huge topic, which is why I created an entire, in-depth series on point editing. If you’d like to become an expert at point editing, then you can find the first lesson here.
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