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A step by step tutorial please!


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Can someone who have successfully used silhouette studios software to make masks please supply us with a step by step guide as to how to even draw a simple line, import a scan of a decal sheet to use as background, maybe even use the trace feature etc that do not SKIP 90% of the steps involved. I see a lot of tutorials that do not even get anywhere near explaining what button to push, what mouseclick does what.

"You just do this and that, I am too lazy to explain the 4000 houres of cursing, blood-curdling frustration and screaming at the screen, or I just enjoy knowing that someone else is having to go through all that before they can even draw a simple shape"


I know; read the effing manual!


But that manual is not very well structured when it comes to teaching anyone who is a total newbee in the art of image creation/editing. It talks breafly about all sorts of features etc. It is NOT very helpful with exercises to get you into it gradually. For a total newbee it seems like it talks about the features like you've already outgrown Adobe ilustrator.

I feel that if I am lucky I get to use the same command twice with the same outcome.


How do I change the language of the effing software so that what I am seeing on my screen is litterarily the same as what some english-speaking fellow trying to help me is seeing on his/her screen?

An example; "tracing" in swedish is "kalkera", but does the manual for the software call it that? NO, it does NOT; it calls it "spårning" wich would be an appropriate word if "tracing" was used in the context of tracing a phonecall, not in the context of tracing an image. Why call it "kalkera" in the software itself but "spårning" in the manual? Is the writing of the manual outsourced to someone who does not know the software, the language? Or in the most likely scenario, niether?


Why does all the tutorials I see assume I am a seasoned user of image-editing software, an avid user of CAD/CAM and not someone who am just tired of effing up the decals? How do I import an image to use as a background with any grid added ON TOP OF said image. All I ever gett is an image that seem to be part of the design, sometimes I can move it around in relation to the "work surface" or what ever it is called. Should I just invest in Fusion 360 since that software actually allows me to draw lines and curves on top of an image while not getting confused which is used as just a reference and what is my actual work?


I need someone to point at the screen in front of me to tell me what button to push, that is not going to happen so the next best thing is places like this. But no-one is showing their work, I am every bit like the hard-ass math-teacher in that way. I do not care about your awesome results, show me how you achieved them and do not skip anything (you don't have to account for every breath and heartbeat)


I happened upon one "tutorial" on youtube that "explained" that most all national insignias was awailable on wikipedia as vectored images etc. No mention at all what other steps was involved to get a cut piece of tape to apply to the substrate!


Imagine this; the USAF puts a pilot through some training in the T-38, just to check that they can fly something a littel faster without killing themselves. After that they'd hand them a booklet describing the features of the F-16, not on how and when to use them mind you. Would you expect a pilot with that kind of traing to be useful for anything more than target-practice for the F-15 and SAM community ?

It is sort of the same with this; you somehow managed to register your machine on-line, now you are assume to be an expert user that have NOTHING to learn from anyone.


In closing of this rant, if anyone have actually come to read this far into it; What I am looking for is tutorials for people that can barely scan a picture to have as a file on the computer. A tutorial that takes any idiot, myself especially from the point of being that computer-illitirate to having a paintmask ready to apply.


I know the Skyraider was sketched on a cocktail-napking, that was harldy the only thing the factoryworkers had to go on when they built the thinga. Why is it that all we have for tutorials are "cocktail-napkings"

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That’s a bit of an angry sounding introduction Snigel. I’ve posted a couple of tutorials which I thought were pretty basic and straightforward, “Working efficiently” was the first one which detailed the main buttons used in drawing masks and mentioning one or two possible pitfalls. 
Let me know which areas you need more help with, without any “effing” thanks. 

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Sorry about the angry tone of my post.

I was very frustrated with the software. Some times when I tried to import an image to use as a background to draw over the images ended up outside of the work surface, being unmoveable and I could not select it so I could "send it to background".

The procedure for doing the same thing in Fusion 360 seemed much simpler and I could tell the software that the image was in no way part of the design, just a template to get started.

The people writing the manuals for the Silhouette studio software should have started describing the "Help" menue and point out the tutorials in the software before going over any of the other features in the software. In fact, they could have made the manual into a tutorial instead of having a screenshot of the software with vague descriptions of what each button do.


I tried to draw a simple line, but I didn't see any line and it's not like there is an intuitive way to tell the software that I am done drawing. There seemed to be an oblject there that I could edit, it just was not where I wanted it to be and in  a colour that stood out from the background.

Again, comparing it to Fusion 360 where I get to click where I want the nodes to be and the software just draw new lines between the nodes until I tell it I am done.


Is there some kind of description of what settings to use for different masking materials? What settings do you use for Artool Ultramask, Createx art-mask, Tamiya masking sheets etc

Do I have to change these settings if I use the matt? I understand the machine compensates for the matt with regards to cutting depth, but do I have to change "pressure", passes and speed.

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I understand your frustrations, been there done that! Simple answer first, I NEVER omit using the mat, it’s there for a purpose and that it to stop the cutting material sliding about, which it will do, so you don’t end up with any sort of cut at all. The settings assume you are using the mat.  I only use Oramask 810 vinyl and my settings are blade 2, force 4, speed 5, pass 1. If I cut something else, like plastic, I experiment depending on the thickness and hardness of the material but experience means it’s usually quickly resolved.


If I’m using a photograph I just literally drag it across into the Silhouette screen then scale it to a suitable working size by using the handles at each corner. Then I can send it to the back, sounds like you know about that, and start tracing.....and I always do this manually. It’s sometimes difficult to see the line you draw, I always work in red but the colour of course can be changed, but again working in a zoomed in way helps resolve that.


 I hope this is of some help!


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  • 1 year later...

Is there a way to use an image as a canvas as it seems impossible to use "send to background", I have tried that several times but it never works. If I'm not very careful I risk selecting the "canvas" and move it instead of what ever it is that I actually want to move.

Should I just give up and invest in Adobe Ilustrator instead?

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I think I need screenshots as the installation of the software is in swedish and I don't know what they have decided to call the "Layers Panel" or if I even have the right version or tier of the software to have that panel at all.

They really should allow the user to switch language as desired/needed. Haven't seen a language setting anywhere in the software. I don't even know if I can force an installation in english to take advantage of community support, it forced a swedish installation on me because that is where I am or because that is the language of my OS install. In either case, it is quite difficult to use the software and slogg through tutorials when none of the fraises used are applicable to what I have to work with. I really need to get the manual for the software in english so I know what other users are talking about when they do their best to help me, feels like Silhouette does its best to stop people getting anywhere without asking them directly.

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On 4/3/2022 at 7:31 AM, snigel79 said:

I managed to find a manual in english in the folder where the swedish manual was located. Thanks anyways.

It turns out the "Layers" function is not in the "Basic" tier of the software, it begins showing up in "Designer"

The Designer version is well worth getting, in fact I would class it as ESSENTIAL! The applications in the basic edition are very limited for modelling needs. 

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  • 3 months later...



If you can hack Fusion 360, you should certainly be able to work your way through Studio!!! Fusion is harder on people (like me) coming from more intuitive Windows based programs, than it is for folks (like you) going the other direction. Most everything in Fusion has it's own way of having to do simple things like moving bodies or sketches. SO I can appreciate your frustrations coming from the unique Fusion environment.


However, I don't think anyone can give you the  personalized hand holding that you seem to be looking for. Just takes grinding in front of the computer with Studio and YouTube (which has some excellent starter videos, in my opinion). And you clearly have a terrific command of English, so there's lots available to read ... but there is no Fairy Godmother with a Studio wand to tap you on the head.


As for your not being able to easily see what you are drawing, go over to the Line Style Panel on the right of the screen  (fourth from the top) where you can pick the color and  thickness of your lines (that thickness does not effect the cut). Learn how to do that and later when you start cutting, you can select different actions by color - in the example below, cut the blue lines only though the vinyl, cut the green lines all the way through the carrier backing material, and sketch the red and black lines.



As was pointed out by  Mozart, I also recommend highly that you invest in the Designer edition, if for no other reason than you can then open/drag in vector art (like vector PDF, SVG and others), and Designer will instantly generate cut lines without the need to trace either manually or with the Trace Panel. I think you'll eventually find that drawing in Studio easier than Fusion since there's no struggling with constraints, for example. Of course, there's nothing that matches the precision of CAD.


Hope you stay with it!

Gene K


EDIT: I just realized that  you originally posted over a year  ago, so all above is probably passé for you now ... right?

Edited by GeneK
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