Tag, KNK is “IT”

A friend at work has a package of commercially prepared cardstock sheets that are perforated into 18 small scalloped tags on each letter size sheet.  She asked me to help her find a template so she could print these tags with some text and a small graphic.  I was able to find and download the template as well as figure out how to place the text and graphic like she wanted.  I wondered how many times the tags on those perforated sheets would become separated/detached/torn on their journey through a printer.  Also when using the template, it is necessary to populate each tag separately.  Even when using the copy and paste functions that becomes a tedious task.  And if you really only wanted to print 5 tags, once you removed them from the sheet, running that sheet through the printer again is all but impossible.  The solution to the dilemma?  Why, my 15″ KNK Maxx Air and my Make the Cut software using the wonderful Print and Cut function!!!  Here is a picture of the tag I created.  And, I was able to cut 30 tags from a letter size sheet of cardstock instead of 18!

Tag-Optimized

Materials Used:

White 8 1/2″ x 11″ cardstock

Settings:

Machine:  15″ KNK Maxx Air

Blade:  Red Cap Standard Material,  Force:  50,  Speed:  80,  2 Passes,  Print and Cut

Instructions/Comments:

My original intent was to use the MTC pixel trace function with the tag outline from a screen capture.  However, the screen capture image was such poor quality that the trace would have required much remedial work.  Creating the shape from scratch was much quicker with more accurate results.  I knew the size of the tag was 2″ long by 1 1/4″ wide – not very big.  I started with a rectangle and welded circles to that to create the scalloped top edge.  A hole for hanging was added using the Boolean Join function.

The graphic was downloaded from the Internet, saved as a PNG file, and used as Texture on the tag.  The font was chosen and words added just like I wanted them. I thought I was all set and filled up the page by duplicating my tag.  I checked the page full of tags using the Print Preview function and they looked great.  Imagine my surprise when I printed a whole sheet of tags that looked like this.

Black-Optimized

To diagnose the problem, I removed the texture from the tag and printed a single one and it looked like this.

GoodTest-Optimized

That told me that the use of the texture function was somehow to blame.  So I increased the size of the white background on the texture graphic (my PNG file) and added it back to the tag.  The next printout looked like this.

HalfTest-Optimized

I knew I was on the right track so I again increased the size of the white background on my graphic file and did another test which gave me the result I wanted.

Lesson learned:  the file used as texture in a shape needs to be as large as or larger than the shape itself.  I also realized that if I could see the grid lines on the mat inside of my tag shapes after I had added the texture, I was going to get black in those areas when I printed the tags.  This is only true when using the “Contrast” option in the “Mat Configuration”.  If using a color for your mat, you will always see the grid lines on top of your objects.

An alternative method of preventing the black fill is to create a background white rectangle larger than the whole group of objects as Sandy McCauley teaches in her tutorials.

A downloadable file for the tag shape can be found in the link below.

Cut Files Little Tag_JudyKay

 

 

 

 

Flowers are Popping Up

I recently had the privilege to spend some time with Sandy McCauley and to learn from her how to use the portion of the PopUp Card Studio Software that creates the 180 Degree Open type of popup cards.  Thus today’s post is a greeting card in which I used both types of popup mechanisms.  I also used my KNK Studio software and my Make the Cut software for creating shapes and text as well as editing the popup card shapes.

Here is a picture of the front of the card.

Card Front-Optimized

When you open the card flat (it is a top fold card) here is what you see.

Card Inside-Optimized

A close up of the popup flower portion from the “front” side.

Card Inside Front-Optimized

The front base really is the same color as the popup flower.  The camera, however, saw it differently.

On the “back” side of the popup flower here is what you see.

Card Inside Back-Optimized

And if you look at the opened card from the side, here is what you see.

Card Side-Optimized

Materials Used:

Various Cardstocks and Printed Scrapbook Papers in several colors

Double sided scrapbook tape 

Wall Vinyl

A flower brad

McGill stylus with 8mm round end

Settings:

Machine:  KNK 15″ Maxx Air

Red Cap blade (Standard Material)

Force:  45 for Printed Scrapbook Papers, 72 for Cardstocks  (some cardstocks required two passes because of a textured surface), 13 for Vinyl

Speed:  80

Blade Height:  25 PIN

Comments:

Creating this card was a challenge which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I could not have done it without Sandy’s help and instruction.  The same card could be used for many different occasions by just changing the words that were cut from the vinyl.

The files to create the card are available by clicking on the link below.

Flower Card Cutting Files_JudyKay

 

 

 

 

 

 

PCS Tutorial Videos

Thanks3.pcs_1920x1080_HQ

Today’s post is definitely a technical post… nothing cute, nothing whimsical, nothing Pinterest-worthy here! lol But I still hope this post will be a valued one!

In the last post I made on February 12, I showed off a popup card I made for a swap. While I received a lot of nice comments from readers here and from my local card-swapping friends, it was apparent that most of you had missed my link to a video I made for designing single word cards in the new Popup Card Studio! (That was my fault for having a subtle link that said click here. lol)

So, to be a little more bold this time, I’m going to re-announce that first video by giving it a line of its own:

Free Video for Designing a Simple One Word Popup Card

AND… for today’s post, I put together a sequel which shows how to add a second word to the same card design:

Free Video for Designing a Two Line Popup Card

Now at this point, I want to share a list for those of you new to PCS. This is kind of like a list of reminders about what you’re most likely to forget to do when working with this fun and powerful design program:

  • Hold down the D key when clicking on shapes that might not be on the current plane. This is how you select them. If you need them on a different plane then click on the icon at the top to Cut them to the Clipboard, go to the new plane, and then click to Paste them onto that plane.

 

  • When you find you’re unable to select anything (and you ARE holding down the D key), you are probably in the wrong mode! I often do this! I’m still in the Text mode or I’m still in the Bezier mode! Click on the Arrow icon on the left side to return to the Selection mode.

 

  • Certain functions work better if you have the right Snap selection. If you need to use the Crop Tool or Resize shapes or Move shapes, make sure Snap is really low… as in 1/256. If you need to use the Bezier tool to create those really cool two point rectangles, make sure you’re using a higher Snap, such as 1/8″.

 

  • Before adding two point rectangles, you need the shapes to have flat horizontal lines so that those all-important mountain or valley fold lines will be automatically added. The Crop tool makes this simple to do! Just pick either external or internal and then marquee select what you need to exclude or include from the selected shape.

 

  • Also, before adding those two point rectangles, make sure you’ve aligned your shape to the bottom plane! Simply select it and then click on the appropriate icon under Align and Distribute (it’s the middle icon in the second row). Also, there’s a left-to-right centering icon you might want to use just to the left of this bottom alignment function.

 

  • File>Print Preview will save you time and headaches! Use this function often to make sure you see those needed dashed lines indicating that you have shapes and two point rectangles properly positioned.

 

  • Remember that if you’re more comfortable editing in MTC, then do that! Just use File>Export>Project Rendering>As SVG File to save your project in a format that will then import into MTC. Once imported, RIGHT click on the Layer Bar thumbnail and select To Each Its Own. The Cut Lines, Mountain, and Valley folds will be put onto their own layers. You can then use the node editing tools, such as Knife, Erase, and Bezier to further perfect the design.

 

  • Just like with ANYTHING, don’t get frustrated, get help! My knowledge increases as I am forced to research PCS AND answer questions. Please don’t hesitate to challenge me. Of course, I may end up simply referring you to Susan Bluerobot’s videos! lol But I do enjoy helping and I do benefit from being asked questions! So go for it!



If you’d like to try out the demo version of PCS:
Demo Version (scroll to the bottom to find a link for the trial version).

If you decide to buy PCS use this link and remember that your MTC registration code saves you 15%!):

Buy PCS Here!
 

My First Card Using Popup Card Studio

Know who’s MY new BFF? A software program called Popup Card Studio! If you’ve been following Team KNK the past few weeks, you’ve seen some of the cool cards created by our Team KNK designers. I’ve also been “playing around” with PCS during my spare time and have just been amazed by the features of this new program. It removes so much of the trial and error designing and has allowed me to really step up my popups!

For anyone interested in making popup cards, this IS the tool to have! With so many features AND so many videos being released every week, learning to design a popup card has never been easier! If you’d like to see my demo video on how to make a simple card, click here. If you’d like to try out the demo version of PCS, then click here and scroll to the bottom to find a link for the trial version. If you decide to buy PCS, order from here and receive my free support for any questions or issues you may have. Remember that if you already own MTC, you get a 15% discount at check out.

So, here’s my first published PCS popup card (message reads, “I’m not ‘lion’ when I say…”):

IMG_1572

And then the inside (message reads, “You’re my ‘beast’ friend forever!):

IMG_1580

I did make some simpler popup cards, as I was learning PCS, but since this card was for an animal-themed card swap due last Thursday, I knew I wanted to make something that would match the standards of the other participants! (What I lack in elegance in my card designs, I try to compensate with “a wow factor!” 🙂 )

    Materials
  • Cardstock: gold, green, red
  • Glossy photo paper
  • Popup Card Studio
  • Make The Cut
  • KNK Maxx Air
  • Maxx Air/Zing Embossing Tool
  • Font: 2Peas DW Sidney
  • Lion and Lamb images from Doodle Dragon Studios
  • Bone Paper Folder and Artist’s Palette Knife (tools for folding popup)
  • Various Adhesives and a pop dot

    • Instructions

    (1) I designed the popup in Popup Card Studio and then exported as an SVG file to import into MTC. I apologize for not sharing the file, however I used copyrighted images from Doodle Dragon Studios. Note that I design my popup cards to be slightly smaller than the planned base card so that there’s a small border around the popup on the inside.

    (2) I prefer scored folds, so I used the small end of the Zing/Maxx Air Embossing Tool for the job. I set the force to 180, speed at 350, and multi-cut at 3 passes. I turned off blade offset and used WYSIWYG mode so that my cut lines would align with the score lines.

    (3) After scoring, I hid the fold layers and turned on the cut layer. I set the force to 60, the speed at 200, and multi-cut at 2 passes. (Even though I probably didn’t need 2 passes, I always use it when cutting LOTS of repeats for swaps… as insurance!)

    (4) For the colored images of the lion and lamb, I did a print and cut using glossy photo paper. The same cut settings were used.

    (5) The messages were created using 2 Peas DW Sidney font and a print and cut performed on the gold cardstock.

    (6) The jungle leaves are from the MTC Users’ Gallery database… just search on the word “jungle”. (Yes, I do realize that lions don’t live in the jungle, but hey, I grew up with the original Tarzan movies and they always had lions living in the jungle! 😛 )

    (7) The red pieces on the stage were designed by making a copy of the popup shape and then breaking it up into the separate pieces needed. (I probably should make a video for this part! I’m sure some of you will be wanting to do the same with your future popups!)

    (8) Then I just glued everything together! I used a pop dot for the lion on the front. If you’ve never glued a popup card before, remember to do the bottom first and press closed. Open and check for wrinkles. Then apply the glue to the top part and press closed. Again, open and check for wrinkles.

    As I posted earlier, if you interested in Popup Card Studio or if you’ve purchased it and need some help, let me know! I’ll direct you to videos made by others or I’ll make one for you myself. As always, the best way to master something new is to start helping others with it… or just sign up for a swap!

    KNK Studio or MTC… When To Use Which Program

    Since purchasing and learning Make The Cut several years ago, I’ve relished in having both it and KNK Studio at my disposal. On several occasions I’ve referred to the two programs as the “perfect software combination” because each program has its own particular merits. The purpose of this post is to provide some guidance for when to use Make The Cut for your designing/cutting and when to use KNK Studio. For those of you who own both programs, this should very helpful. For those of you who own one or the other, this post will provide you some information on what you might be missing by not owning both.

    To begin, here’s a quick table I put together to show, in my opinion, which program excels in specific areas. Click on the image to make it larger and then you should also be able to zoom, as needed.

    KNKStudio-MTC

    To learn more about the differences, I’ve detailed some of the features that would impact customers I’ve taught or helped.

    Basic Facts

    • Both programs can be used to design what you need. Therefore, it’s not a requirement to own both; it’s just enjoyable to own both!
    • Both programs have specific features that make one more preferable to use over the other, depending on what the user needs at the time.
    • Files created in MTC can be exported as PDF, EPS, or AI to import into KNK Studio. Then just a few menu clicks will have the programs ready to edit. File created in KNK Studio can be copied and pasted to MTC. There are videos which cover this available here.

     

    KNK Strengths:

    • Customizable Interface – You can modify toolbars or create new ones with icons for your most commonly used functions. Add guidelines at any location and even have angled ones. You can set the grid spacing to whatever you choose and the horizontal and vertical spacing of the grid need not be the same. You can even create your shortcut keys or change the existing ones.
    • Works better with color – You can select shapes by color, cut by color, hide by color, and add colored borders of any thickness, to your shapes for printing. There’s a palette of almost 200 colors readily available at the bottom of the screen plus the option to add more using an eyedropper tool or by manually entering color values.
    • Superior segment and node editing – Know how you sometimes get those little unwanted bumps or notches in your curves? In KNK Studio it’s just a matter of clicking on either side of the imperfect segment and then clicking the curve icon to smooth it out. KNK Studio editing also allows multi-node selection and a terrific method for manual tracing imported rasters.
    • Professional cutting options – For those needing some of the professional cutting functions, KNK Studio offers automatic weeding, power weeding (additional cut lines within the weeding area), defaults for mirror and cut by color, nesting, and repeats.
    • Kerning feature for text – While MTC does have a shortcut for reducing or expanding the spacing between letters, KNK Studio goes one step further and users can select any letter and then move all of the letters to the right of that selected letter. This makes for a much easier and faster spacing of your letters in a title.
    • Easy toggle between metric and inches – Customers outside of the USA have as much need for a metric interface when designing and editing, as we Americans have a need for Imperial. Users can set up KNK Studio in metric and even create a shortcut key to toggle between inches and mm, if desired.

     

    MTC Strengths:

    • Superb Auto-tracing – MTC has an easy-to-learn and extremely powerful pixel trace function that opens up a world of free cutting files for any user. It also has several features missing in KNK Studio: preview of results before accepting settings, multiple tracing methods available in one window, and a special tracing feature for images with transparent backgrounds.
    • Easy to use layers and page functions – The Layers Bar in MTC makes it easy to organize the shapes within any given file. It’s also easy to add pages within a file for further organization of big projects. While KNK Studio has both features, they are not easy to learn and adapt to one’s needs.
    • Fun designing features – MTC has lattice, rhinestone, jigsaw, conical warp, and stretch object to path which are, like other features in the software, easy to learn.
    • Easy print and cut – This is where MTC really shines! All of the KNK’s can make use of this feature and it’s so much easier to learn and faster to use due to auto movement to reg mark locations. The user just needs to tweak the alignment device a few steps to make sure it’s dead center on each mark. Also, based on how PNC was designed, users have the option to print from other programs or even add registration to an existing printout.
    • Importing of more popular file formats – MTC can import GSD, WPC, and files. TTF, OTF, and OPF fonts can be opened without prior installing into Windows.
    • Easy installation onto a new or reformatted computer – MTC has been a lifesaver for quite a number of KNK Studio owners who have been locked out of the software due to registration issues.
    • MTC can be installed on Macs (version 10.6.3 or newer), however only the Maxx, Maxx Air, Zing, Groove, and Groove-e models will cut from the Mac version.



    If you interested in testing Make The Cut, you can download the trial version from here. To purchase an activation pin, click here.

    If you do not own KNK Studio, you can purchase the dongled KNK Studio GE to use for designing and then copy/paste files from KNK to MTC for cutting. If you are a recent buyer of a Maxx Air, then you can purchase the dongle-less KNK Studio Maxx version and cut to your Maxx Air directly. To purchase, please contact KNK USA at 800-268-3672 or send a message to them at this link.

    User manuals and tutorial videos for both KNK Studio and Make The Cut are available at my site. Please email me if you have more questions about the two programs and how either could improve you designing experience.