We’ve learned the 7 different ways to put a raster image into any shape, but we aren’t done yet. (To start with lesson #1 in this series, go here.) There are some critical tidbits of info you’ll need to know in order to use these methods successfully to add a pattern fill.
TUTORIAL LEVEL: Intermediate to Advanced
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Don’t alter it
If you put the raster image on your page – with any method – and then alter it and save it within the library – in any folder — it won’t work any longer as a pattern fill. You may still see it in the Pattern Fill panel, but you can’t add it into a shape.
Here’s why. Originally, it was a pure raster image. Saving the changes turns it into a .studio3 file, even though it still says in your library that it’s a jpg or png file. That has changed its basic properties and therefore its ability to act as a fill pattern. It’s similar to welding text, which changes it from words you can edit to a regular shape.
The good news is that nothing you do in your Silhouette software will affect the original image you saved in your computer’s folders. So if you ever do this accidentally, you can start over.
Or, prevent from happening it in the first place in on of these ways:
–Make a copy right away and give it a different name.
–Instead of saving the file in the library with the same name, give it a different one. That will create a separate file.
–Keep your rasters you want to use as pattern fills in your Patterns folder and keep any you alter in a regular folder.
Cut style of raster images
As I said at the very beginning of this series where I discussed the nature of raster images, the Silhouette Studio software assumes that you are using rasters as print information and not cut information. That’s because the only thing you could really cut would be the outer rectangle of the pattern.
Because of that assumption, when you open a raster images – either directly from a location on your computer or from your library – their cut style is No Cut. This does NOT apply to methods where you fill a different shape with your pattern fill – only if you open the image itself. That means any method where the image opens as its own file page or where you drag it onto a blank area of your design page so you that are just getting that single rectangle.
You will definitely need to do this if you use the “Quickly fill many shapes simultaneously” option from Method #7. Because the largest shape was a raster image, the properties of that raster image are the ones kept after the modification process.
If you did want to cut just that rectangle or the filled shapes you got from using Intersect or Crop, select the shapes, go into your Send area and change the cut style to Cut or Cut Edge in Simple mode, or check the box or use auto-weld in Action by: Line, Fill or Layer.
The order of the Pattern Fill panel
When you look at your Pattern Fill panel, notice the organization of it.
–The fills that come pre-loaded in the program a
re in the top section.
–Look below those for the word “Patterns.” First in that section are patterns of your own that you have added, as I’ve taught you in this series. After that are patterns you have purchased from the Silhouette Design Store. The pattern fills in both those areas are shown in the order that you added them to your library (purchasing from the SDS automatically adds them to your library in the Patterns folder under your user name).
–You can also create and name sub-folders within the Patterns folders in your library with Designer Edition and above. When you do this, they show as different sections in that second part of the panel, with the folders in alphabetical order. I talked more about this in Method #3 (you did read all the way to the bottom, didn’t you?).
When you open a raster image you’ve added to the library, you can use the Merge feature. You’ll get the same results except on just that single page. To do this, hover over the image in your library, right click and select Merge <image name>.
–If you have no shape(s) selected, it opens just the rectangular pattern onto your current drawing area.
–If at least 1 shape IS selected, it opens the rectangular pattern and fills the shape(s). It only does the latter as long as the original raster is unaltered as discussed above. The rectangle of pattern is in front because you added it last, so you may need to send it to the back.
Other uses for these methods
–Basic Edition: dxf
–Designer Edition and up: svg and pdf*
–Designer Edition Plus: pes, dst, exp, jef, xxx (embroidery file types)
–Business Edition: eps, ai* and cdr*
*when you open these file types, the software gives you the option to open them as a raster or vector
—Method #6 works to add any supported vector image directly to the page.
–Method #6 works to directly pull a raster image onto your drawing area. You can use the File>Open to do that, but if you’re already scrolling thorough the folder on your computer this is faster. You might use that when you’re going to trace an image, use it as a reference, etc.
Did you learn something new about using your own pattern fill? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Be sure to also let me know how you’ve used these methods in your own projects.