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Creating a Contour Cut Line?

Discussion in 'Digital Printing' started by TheSellOut, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. TheSellOut

    TheSellOut Very Active Member

    Feb 8, 2008
    Just curious, I am going to purchase a Roland or Epson here in the next month and was wondering about creating contour cut lines.

    Is in an easy process with the rip software?

    Right now when I sub the work out I have to create a cut line and working in Illy it seems to be a lengthly process, at least for photos.

    I stamp the photo(making it all black), Live trace, expand. then I inline my vector, release compound, and select only the inner lines so that the actual cutter has some play.
  2. Matt-Tastic

    Matt-Tastic Member

    Nov 25, 2008
    well, for the low low price of 795 (i think) flexi designer will do all that in about 3 button presses.

    Make Transparent
    Contour Cut

    the nsave your file as an eps and print out of the bundled rip. cutting can be done through the software for whatever cutter you have, or buy flexi print and cut (i'd suggest signpro) and do it all from 1 software.
  3. jfiscus

    jfiscus Map Wraster

    Apr 2, 2009
    Cincinnati, OH
    That is really one of the better ways to do it (Illustrator) versus usign Flexi. Flexi is made so that "anyone" can make a sign, seriously, but for detailed/complicated stuff with picky clients (or designers :biggrin:) I always use Illustrator.

    Not sure what you mean by "stamp" in your post, I duplicate my obect, then use combinations of the pathfinder tools, & object>expand appearance. As in regular printing, always include bleeds whenever possible.

    Make a new color (spot color) name it CutContour & you're good to go most of the time, although sometimes when printing & plottign at the same time with transparency it causes an issue (spots with transparency, we all know they don't mix), and at that point I rasterize the transparent object & apply the contour over that.
  4. TheSellOut

    TheSellOut Very Active Member

    Feb 8, 2008
    I mean the Stamp effect. I've been cutting layered vinyl for years and now learning how to get a contour around an entire group of objects such as text, graphics and cropped photos is proving difficult.

    I only way I have found so far is to apply a "Stamp" effect (Effect>scketch>stamp) with the highest "light/dark" setting to my photo, completely blacking it out, then I live trace & expand to create a vector outline.

    Ah, Thank You JFiscus...I didn't object>expand, but I did object>path>offset path to help create the inline for my bleed!
  5. jfiscus

    jfiscus Map Wraster

    Apr 2, 2009
    Cincinnati, OH
    copy the object(s), select the objects currently there, create outlines, add a stroke to achieve the total area you'd like cut out around, flatten transparency, ungroup, release compound paths, pathfinder (top left icon). Now you should have an object of sorts without holes in the middle. Apply the CutContour stroke to the "fill object" left on the page & remove the fill, now paste your original objects back on top.

    Hopefully I wrote the steps in order, will show sample images later if needed.
  6. ScottB

    ScottB Member

    Aug 22, 2009
    Moore, OK
    When using Adobe Illustrator, you select the fill and the outline. There's a certain "pink" to indicate the outline cut that is selected from the Roland Versaworks Swatches and is used as the outline. The Versaworks software will then show the cut lines as "marching ants" when configuring the cutting options. It's pretty neat! If you don't see the marching ants, you forgot something.
    If Flexi does it in 3 clicks, I'll have to look in to the software! Illustrator will do it in about 5 clicks. The graphic designers I contract out to all use Adobe so that's what I use.
  7. CES020

    CES020 Very Active Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    I recently asked this same type question in a different post (I missed this post). For those saying you can do this in Illustrator in a few clicks, are you talking vector only, or are you talking bitmaps too?

    I can see how easy it is when all your objects are vectors, but when you have bitmaps, I don't see how some of it works. Could you please expand on the explanation a little, including bitmap and vector graphics in the same file?

  8. john1

    john1 Guest

    All you need to do in Illustrator is create a back layer the shape of the design and make a THICK outline and then weld it all together and make the outline a stroke of .24 and name it CutContour in the color pallet and make that a spot color

    On bitmap you can do the same if it's a common shape or if not, you may need to do a pen tool trace and do the outline jazz i mentioned above
  9. TheSellOut

    TheSellOut Very Active Member

    Feb 8, 2008
    You don't have use the pen tool to trace your bitmap if you follow what I mentioned in the first post. As long as you have a version of Illustrator with "Live Trace". I think it's CS2 and above.

    This is how I do it...

    1. Make a copy of your bitmap and have it selected
    2. Go to Effect>Sketch>Stamp
    3. Set the "Light/Dark Balance" and "Smoothness" to the highest values...50 & 50

    This will make the copy of your bitmap completely black so now all you have to do is

    1. Select it
    2. Live Trace
    3. Expand

    ...and you will have you vector!
  10. Johnny Go

    Johnny Go New Member

    Oct 14, 2010
    According to the Roland website the CutContour has to be spelled exactly like that with the caps, the color has to be 255 magenta and the thickness has to be 1 point (0.013). It works great with Illustrator eps files but I can't seem to get it to work with Corel eps files that some people send me.
  11. J Hill Designs

    J Hill Designs Major Contributor

    Sep 24, 2004
    when you export eps from corel, go to advanced and make sure to uncheck "convert spot colors to process" or some such...should keep your cutcontour as spot
  12. Tim Kingston

    Tim Kingston Member

    Dec 9, 2009
    I like using Photoshop for this . . .


    Although I am certainly no expert, as far as creating paths for bitmaps etc. I prefer using Photoshop, if you have it.

    Instead of importing the bitmap data into Illustrator, I usually import the vector data from Illustrator into Photoshop ( as a smart object ). I find you have more options to work with and I like the tools, the pen tool options as an example, better in Photoshop.

    Also, you have all the Photoshop selection tools available to select certain parts of your bitmaps. After creating your selection, convert it to a work path and name it ( to keep it saved with the file ) then choose "export paths to Illustrator" this creates an .ai file which can then be stroked with your CutContour spot color and the proper stroke thickness.

    I realize this is *** backwards for most but it seems to work for me!
  13. HulkSmash

    HulkSmash Major Contributor

    Sep 10, 2010
    Please buy the Epson over the Roland.
  14. rushworks graphics

    rushworks graphics Very Active Member

    Jun 29, 2010
    as a roland user i would be interested in why you would say this? have you had any bad experiences with roland? just curious as i like to find out about other printer options etc for future purchases etc. i have been a roland user for 9 years so far.

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