Sunday, November 17, 2013

CRICUT: Tablescapes Fall & Winter boxes assembly

I had an email last week asking for help on how to put the boxes on the Tablescapes Fall & Winter cartridge together.

So I put a video together showing the steps. Hope it helps.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

CRICUT: Layering in CCR

Layering is a breeze in CCR. You just need to follow a few simple steps....

The most important thing to remember is that you must have Relative size selected. Otherwise each layer will be exactly the size that you have set as the Default Height. Using Relative size means that each of t-he layers of the image will be cut in proportion to the main image. (In this case the main image is the one on the Basic tab.)

You will find the Relative size button below the CCR keypad. If the button is green, it is active.

You also need to remember not to resize individual layers. You should select all the layers on your mat and resize them at the same time. More on that later!

Here's an example using the Raccoon from Create A Critter.

The picture below shows you the page from the handbook that has the raccoon on it. In this cartridge each of the layers is on its own tab. Some cartridges though will have some of the layers on the <Shift>  of the image keys.

 I have circled the images that I will be using. Note that each layer is on the <Non Shift> keys. I'll be using the Base (Basic) layer, Layer 1, Layer 2 and Layer 3. I'll also use the Shadow layer. And because I have no idea what colour a Raccoon is supposed to be I'll use the colours that are in the handbook!  There's no Raccoons where I come from!!! :)

Now let's take a look at the CCR keypad for Create A Critter with the Raccoon circled.

You'll see the layer tabs above the image keys.

Don't forget you can zoom the keypad icons in and out by clicking on the - and + icons below the keypad. This makes it much easier to find the shape you are looking for. You should also see the name of the shape appear as you hover over the keys.

I want my finished shaped to be 2.5" in height. So I set that size in the Default Height box below the keypad. 

Now I'll start adding the layers to my mat. Here is where you have a couple of options. You can place all the different layers on one mat (spreading them out over the mat so you can position the different colours of cardstock needed) and cut everything at the same time.

Or you can create a new mat for each layer and send each layer to the Cricut one at a time. For this example I'm going to use a different mat for each layer.

I'm going to add the Shadow layer to the mat first because that will be the bottom layer. Each time you add a new mat it will automatically be added on top of the previous mat. (That is until you start moving your mats around.... then things get a bit messier.)
  • Click on the Shadow tab, then click on the Raccoon key. 

Because this is a new file the shape will automatically be placed in the top left corner of the mat. (No need to drag it there...)

I'm going to change the preview colour of this layer to black. Remember... changing the Preview colour is different to using the Auto-fill feature. The preview colours don't print and are merely here as an aid to see what your finished project will look like. It's a great feature because you can play with different colours on the screen instead of wasting your precious card stock!
  • Click on the red dot on the layer tab.
  • Drag the arrow on the slider down to the bottom to change the colour to black. (That's the quickest way to get black.) 
Or you can type 0, 0, 0 in the RGB boxes
  • Press the Apply button and the preview will now appear in black
  • To add a new mat for the next layer click on the + button next to the Layer 1 tab.

The active layer will have a light grey coloured tab. In the picture below that is Layer 2. Notice how the tab for Layer 1 is now a darker grey meaning that it's not the active mat.

  •  To add the next layer to our project click on the Basic tab. 
  • Then click on the the Raccoon key.

The image is added to the active mat beside the shadow layer. 

Next I'll change the colour of that layer. Going by the colour in the handbook I'll change it to a dark brown colour.
  • Click on the Yellow dot on the Layer 2 tab. 
  • Click somewhere in the yellow/orange zone on the colour wheel then drag the slider down to select a darker shade.

You can move around in the colour wheel to select different shades of a colour. You can also move the slider up and down to change from light to dark tones of that colour.
  • Select the shade you like then press the Apply button. (If you want to use that colour again later write down the RGB codes from the boxes below the colour wheel.)

Next we'll add the image from the Layer 1 tab.  
(This can get confusing when our mat layers are called Layer 1, Layer 2 etc and so are the tabs on the cartridge keypad....!! You can rename your mat layers if that helps by double clicking on the the mat layer name and overtyping it with a new name.)
  • Add another mat to your project
  • Click on the Layer 1 tab on the keypad then click on the Raccoon to add it to the active mat.

I'll change the colour of this mat to a medium purple shade.
  • Click in the purple area of the colour wheel and use the slider to select a medium shade.
  • Click Apply

Using the same method as above I'll add the two remaining layers each on their own mat. The Layer 2 image is a dark purple and the Layer 3 image is a pale purple. Once that's done your screen should look something like this:

You can move the shapes on each mat on top of each to see what the final image will look like when it's cut out and put together. Click on the brown layer and slide it over the black layer and align it. Repeat for the other layers until you get something like this:

When you're ready to cut the project you can either move the shapes to different areas of the mat and cut each layer in turn. Or you can copy and paste everything to one layer, load up your mat with each of the colours and cut it all at once.

If you decide you want to resize your images make sure you select all the layers first. To do that select Ctrl A (Cmd A for the Mac) or select Edit, Select All. Then use the bottom right handle on the images to resize all the layers together. That way they'll all stay in proportion.

(If you have pressed the eye button (hide/show mat) on any of the mats, the image/s on that mat won't be selected. Press the eye button again to view those mats again. Then Select All.) I hope that helps you with your layering!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

CRICUT: CCR - Copying or moving objects to a different layer

Do you want to copy or move images from one mat layer and place them on a different mat layer? Well here's how you do it.

Download a PDF of  this tutorial from here:
  • Place your image on the mat
  • Click the + button next to the Layer 1 tab.

A new layer (Layer2) will be added to your project.

  • Click on your first image to make sure it's selected then press the Copy button on the toolbar

The image will be copied to the clipboard.
  • Click on the tab for Layer2 to make it active. (It will turn light grey.)
  • From the toolbar click the Paste button 

 The image will be pasted to Layer 2.

You can see that it worked because the pasted object is a different colour to the original and matches the coloured dot beside the layer name.

If you want to move your image from one layer to another instead of copying it, you can follow the instructions above and simply press the Cut button at instead of the Copy button. Or.... You can follow the instructions above (Copy and Paste) then just go back and delete the image from the first layer after you have pasted it to the second layer.  

Copying multiple images

You can use the same process to copy multiple objects. Just select them all before you click the Copy button. (There's no need to group them.) This even works for images that are on different mats!  

Having problems getting it to work? Keep the following in mind....
  • Before you select the Paste button ensure that the correct layer tab is active (light grey)
  • Make sure the layer you are pasting to is visible. The eye next to your layer name should be green. (Like the picture above). If the eye is grey your layer is hidden and you won't see your pasted object.  Click the eye to make the layer visible. Once you make the layer visible the pasted image should appear.

Got any questions? Just ask!! 

CRICUT: Forcing a firmware update

CCR requires a firmware version of 2.43 on the Cricut Expression and Cricut Cake to cut and link cartridges.

The Cricut Personal requires 1.45 and the Cricut Create and Cake mini require 1.65.

If CCR doesn't prompt you to update the firmware (you may have pressed Skip at some point) here's how you go about forcing the update.

(These instructions do not apply to the Cricut Mini, Expression 2 or the Imagine. Those machines are updated using Cricut Sync.)

1. Connect your Cricut to your computer

2. Open CCR and login

3. Hold down the Stop button on the Cricut and press the Power button

4. Release the power button but keep holding down the Stop button.

The Cricut will beep once. Keep holding down the Stop button until it beeps a second time. (It takes a while)

5. When it has beeped the second time release the Stop button. The Cricut will power on and some of the keys should be lit up.

6. If it has worked correctly you will see this on your CCR screen:

7. Click on the down arrow and select the Cricut model you want to update.  Then you'll see this screen. (The Version info will differ depending on the Cricut you selected):

8. Press the Update button and follow the instructions there (you'll be putting it back in update mode).

9. Follow the onscreen instructions to update your firmware.

Friday, November 8, 2013

CRICUT - CCR - Making your own font shadow

Recently a member from one of the Facebook groups I belong to was trying to make a shadow for one of the fonts on the Extreme Fonts cartridge. Faith was using the letter S from the Little League font. That font does have a shadow but it was a bit too chunky for what Faith was wanting.

Here's the letter with its shadow. First up, the offset size of the shadow was too wide... but more importantly Faith didn't want the black out effect.

She wanted something more like the shadow on this one...

One option was obviously to hand cut the extra bits away but I thought there had to be a better way. And I do love a challenge.... so I set to work and here's what I came up with...

Here's a side by side to compare...

So how did I do it? Well....

I looked at the shape of the letter and wondered whether I could find some shapes that I could weld together to make my own shadow. It's all just angles after all. My first thought was to use squares and triangle from the Cricut Craft Room Basics cartridge. But then I noticed these shapes from the Extreme Fonts cartridge that Faith was using... The best thing was that the angles on these shapes match exactly the angles on the letters...

By rotating, flipping and resizing the shapes I was able to come up with my shadow.

This picture shows all the shapes I used...

I used the top layer as a guide for where to place each shape. You can see the lines on the orange piece that are the edges of the shapes I used....

It took a bit of resizing and adjusting but it worked!

This won't work for every font. In fact I haven't tried it on any rounded font. But it should work for any square font. You just have to find the right shapes to use.

So where did I use this shape?

Right here... I used the Hide Contour feature to hide one side of the brace.

This shape would have been even more useful if it didn't have a point on the left and right!

And here's the different rotations of the wedge shaped piece. Use the Flip Horizontal and Flip Vertical buttons to rotate the shape.

The square shape is resized to both create the shadow and to fill any holes left from using the other shapes.

Things to remember...

Save regularly... There's a lot of shapes on this mat that you don't want to lose when CCR freezes.... because it will freeze....

As soon as you start welding objects in CCR your chance getting a Not Responding error skyrockets.

At that point, you have no option but to close CCR and re-open it. (Which is why you need to save often... don't rely on the Auto Save feature.)

To avoid all the Not Responding errors, I selected Don't Weld on each piece as I placed it. Once I had everything where I wanted it, then I selected Weld.

Once everything was welded I selected it all and Grouped it. This makes it so much easier when you're moving shapes around the mat.

However, if you go to Ungroup it (if you want to adjust any of the pieces) you will again get the Not Responding error. To avoid that, select the image, click the Edit Group button then go back and unweld the shapes.  See.... it really is the welding that's the problem here!!!!

At this point you can actually adjust/move the individual pieces around. You don't have to Ungroup them to do that.... But, if you do want to ungroup....

Once you've unwelded everything press the Exit button.

You can then go ahead and click the Ungroup button and you shouldn't get a Not Responding error.

One last thing to remember.... When you go to resize your finished letter make sure you resize both the orginal letter and the shadow at the same time. That way they'll stay in proportion to each other.

The easiest way to do that is to use Ctrl A to select everything on both layers. (First make sure the Show/Hide layer icon on the tabs is green..... that's the button that looks like an eye....)

Then use the bottom right arrow to resize both layers at the same time.

I have to say, this process would be so unnecessary if CCR had an automatic offset feature.... (like every other design program out there). Then we could apply a shadow (even multiple shadows) to every font and image in the Cricut library.

I think that was everything I wanted to cover.

Hope this is useful to you at some point!

(And no.... I won't do the rest of the alphabet!) Smiley

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