This is one of those “what in the world is happening?” kinds of things. You use one of those beautiful Modify tools I’m always raving about, but the resulting shape won’t resize the way it’s supposed to. Or a design you purchase acts up in this way. You can’t get it to resize proportionally no matter what you do.
If this has ever happened to you, I’m guessing you had to have some adult beverages to handle it. It can drive you batty trying to figure out what to do with it. Today, I’ll share a quick tip on how to get that unruly shape to toe the line.
Note: This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click the link and purchase something, I may receive a small commission. You pay the same price. This helps me to be able to keep my business going and provide more tutorials.
The normal behavior of shapes
Any shape (or group of shapes) on your Design area in Silhouette Studio has a selection box around it. At the corners and midpoints of the box sides are little white boxes. You can pull those to alter the size of the shape, either proportionally or disproportionately. If you pull a corner box, the height and width change together. If you pull a box at the midpoint of a side, you can change either the height or width independently. That’s normal — that’s what we expect. That’s that rare child who follows all the rules (no, they don’t really exist).
When the shape won’t resize proportionally
Sometimes, the bounding box surrounding the shape is not defining the top and bottom and sides in the same location as you are. When that happens, you can’t resize it proportionally.
Take the square above as an example. Let’s say I want to use my Modify tools to create a rectangle from that. So I draw another square (the yellow one), rotate it 45° and use Subtract.
Super! I’ve got my triangle. But, hmmm, I want it to be a little more squatty. Normally, I could use one squares along a side to change the width only. But look what happens when I try that:
Hmmmm. That’s not right. Maybe I moved the wrong box, so I try some more. But no matter which box I move, I can’t get a triangle that resizes proportionally.
What’s going on? If you look back to the triangle that was created after I subtracted, notice that the line that is diagonal is the one we expect to be the base. Let me rotate it to show you.
See that side of the rectangle that’s horizontal now? We expect that to be the bottom of the shape, but it isn’t. If it were, it would look like this:
With that, we could pull out one of the boxes at the midpoint of any side and change the width or height only. But the x and y axis are not where we want them to be.
So what do we do?
There’s a quick way to make it work. First, fill that shape with black. Rotate/orient it the way you want the resulting shape to be. Just ignore the bounding box for now.
Then open the Trace panel. The icon in along the right side and should be the 5th one down. It’s hard to see because it’s so small, but it’s a butterfly surrounded by a rounded rectangle.
If you’ve never done a trace before, this is a VERY simple one to start with.
- Click on Select Trace Area at the top.
- Position your cursor slightly above and to the left of your shape.
- Click and drag to draw a trace box around your shape, making sure it’s covering the whole shape. The trace box is gray with a thick blue outline. You’re telling the software what area of the page you want to trace.
- You’ll see your shape turn yellow — that’s completely normal. The yellow is showing you what cut shape the software will create. In other words, you’re doing a trace of the shape and it will have the x and y axis the right way. Since you filled it with black, you don’t have to move any of the filters.
- Now click the word Trace in the bottom of the panel.
- When you click that, the tracing box and the yellow go away. It won’t look like anything happened, but it did — the software made a shape for you. Since it’s unfilled and has the same edges as your black-filled shape, you can’t see it. Grab your original shape — the one that was misbehaving — and move it to the side. Then you’ll see the shape you created with the trace. And you’ll see that it’s got the correct orientation now.
Watch out for extra points
I will say that sometimes the software creates unnecessary points on the resulting shape. But at least you can resize the shape proportionally. If you need to edit the points to smooth it out, check out my series on point editing.
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