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Ilustrator files to LXi Vinyl Express

Discussion in 'General Software' started by Jon, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. Jon

    Jon New Member

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    Jul 25, 2005
    Please help, I cannot for anything cut Illustrator files on this LXi signware I use. I refuse to design on it (LXi), and just use it for cutting. Parts and pieces of ai. files open and will cut, I've had to save as a bitmap, and autotrace, it looks awlful! Tech support says to open in Illus. 8, but thats what I've been using until last month, nad it still didn't work, any hints???? Jon miller
     
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  2. TekCorps

    TekCorps Member

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    Jon, I'm using Illustrator 10. When i save a ai file I save it as Illustrator 7 (save option) and then fire up LXi and open it as any file. Works perfect.
     
  3. Derf

    Derf Very Active Member

    I would export your Illustrator file down to a simple Illustrator 3.x making sure you have no strokes or effects and you have expanded your appearances if using 9.x to CS2.

    Derf
     
  4. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    I go with Derf on this. Illustrator 3 is pretty much the most universally readable file there is when it comes to vector formats. All our clipart is mastered in version 3 format and we have zero problems with customers opening the files.
     
  5. smullen

    smullen Member

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    Aug 12, 2004
    I agree with Fred and Derf on this... In fact I ran into the same problem when I 1st got LXI... Most newer stuff would not open...
     
  6. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    This also brings up the subject of educating customers about properly preparing vector-based art files. With certain effects in more recent versions of Illustrator in use the file will not import into most other applications. As Derf said, appearances of all effects including all line strokes and letter outlines must be expanded and made "vinyl ready."

    We recently did a rush job for our local Chamber of Commerce. They ran a "contest" to get a new logo design -all just to get the new logo on the cheap. I wouldn't take part in it (such contests are a waste of time for most working graphic designers). Anyway, their new logo had all kinds of problems -the main one being lots of outline stroke effects that were not expanded into real paths and with all the overlaps removed on the expanded paths. They didn't understand why there was an extra design fee for correcting the artwork, so I just showed them a screenshot of the problem and got an "ohhhhh I see" kind of reply. Those folks are lucky I have a Macromedia Freehand 10 license. FH was the only app that could get rid of the stroke overlaps. It saved them some money.

    In the end, it's simply not enough for a customer to put together a vinyl graphics design in a vector drawing program. He needs to go about making the design (or at least getting it into final form) the right way.
     
  7. Derf

    Derf Very Active Member

    I have learned to accept every and all file formats and charge a setup fee of $65.00 for every new customer that has provided art, period. I look at it this way, the customer does not need to be burdend with art file setup.

    When you buy a piece of embroidered clothing does the shop ask the customer for a digitized file format? No they don't. if you get packaging designed does the box plant demand Flexo / Litho friendly trapped file with a CAD from the customer? NO. So why should we expect to get perfect art files from our customers when we are the professionals using proprietary software.

    It is nice to get clean art however the rest of the Graphic Design world does not even think about a blade cutting on vinyl when designing a logo. No matter what small corner of design your in your not going to get the rest of the world to cater to your needs, that's a losing battle.

    I do ask for Clean art if that is not available I explain the constraints in terms the customer can understand and use what I am provided with.

    I have been able to print a continuous tone image 48" tall from a 2" jpg off the internet by using software such as Genuine Fractals and sharpening or blurring selective color channels.

    The customer does not need to know how I did it they just know that every sign shop told him they can't work with that file. I can! so I got the business.

    Derf
     
  8. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    I agree with Derf. Anybody sitting down to design these days outside of the sign industry is thinking in terms of what they see on their monitor and what will print on their desktop inkjet.

    The industry is currently acquiring the technology in a huge way to handle this expectation of the designer and/or customer. It's called print and cut.

    Those of you without print and cut capability, either in-house or outsourced, are looking at a diminishing market share where the production art is coming from other than your own setups. This is not to say that you cannot function, but you will find it is for less money and for less work.

    When you have print and cut in your lineup, you are back in the business of providing solutions and saying "yes I can" rather than in presenting a litany of issues and problems that will end costing the customer more for the work he wants.
     
  9. NEW EARTH PRINTING

    NEW EARTH PRINTING Member

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    I DESIGN ALMOST ALL OF MY ART IN ILLUSTRATOR 8 AND CUT IT ON LXi VE 6.6V1 SOFTWARE WITH ABSOLUTELY NO PROBLEMS. 1) OUTLINE ALL STROKES. 2) CONVERT ALL TEXT TO OUTLINES. 3) SAVE AS AN EPS FILE (THIS IS PROBALLY NOT NECESSARY BUT IT'S JUST SOMETHING I DO WHENEVER I CONVERT TEXT TO OUTLINES). 4) OPEN IN LXi AND IMMEDIATELY SAVE AS A .VE FILE. 5) ON THE "ADVANCED" TAB MAKE SURE THE "CONVERT STROKES TO OUTLINES IS UNCHECKED (CHECKING THIS MAY CAUSE THE CUTTER TO CUT THE SAME LINES MULTIPLE TIMES). I HOPE THIS HELPS
     
  10. Jon

    Jon New Member

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    Jul 25, 2005
    Thank you a hundred times! To outline strokes helps alot too, thanks for that also!
    Jon
     
  11. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    I don't really agree with that policy. If a customer sends me a file that I can take directly to the vinyl cutter, I'm not going to ding him with a file handling charge. I'm going to reward him for making my job easier.

    However, a rate of $65 (or whatever is required) is fair for files you have to fix. When customers ask about why they were hit with the charge I'm going to tell them the truth about it. Most will live with that. Some will learn how to prep their files to accomodate our workflow better. And I'll happily reward them for it.

    Print and cut technology has been around for more than a decade through devices like the Gerber Edge and other sprocket driven systems. Perhaps something more simple might come along to accomodate customers, amateurs, etc. But any of those developments will never overcome the old graphics industry saw: garbage in = garbage out.

    For the time being, we'll keep levying file handling charges (vectorizing, path cleanup, etc.) for customer provided files. But I'm going to be more than happy to help customers get their files prepared to avoid those charges if they want to take the trouble to do so. I don't get many takers on the offer, but the ones who do usually appreciate it.
     
  12. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    I think you and I aren't really talking about the same thing or perhaps it's the difference in the type of work we do. But I have always felt that the vinyl cutting part of the sign industry was the one out of step with the designers and the end users. For years I have regularly encountered both types who have never given a second thought to what it takes to prepare a file for the much more limited technology needed for vinyl cutting.

    The simple fact is that a large number of both designers and clients think we print their signs. I've had an Edge for most of the last decade and it's useful and broadens the artwork I can handle with little or no extra effort. But the costs associated with that technology have stiffled it's penetration into the market. Today's solvent and eco-solvent PNC systems resolve many of those issues and can often produce a garbage in - acceptable out result. At least in the eyes of the buyer.
     
  13. Derf

    Derf Very Active Member

    I don't look at charging a set up fee to some one who provides me with "the perfect art" as dinging a customer.

    The employee (that I pay by the hour) still must spend time on the computer to convert the provided "perfect art" to a proprietary vinyl cutting software then arrange each color to the specific size cutter. That takes time and usage of my computers that I played for along with the rest of the over head.

    $65.00 is the minimum if some one gives me "garbage in" and wants a "Picasso out", I can do that (years in the flexo corrugated business will teach you how to do that) it just takes time and knowledge.

    The saying "garbage in = garbage out" is only true if you limit your self to that statement.

    In the area I work in (Sacramento metro area) people want results Now! and don't have time to mess with learning my production work flow. Other markets may demand systems of educating customers to cut cost, so you do what you have to do to survive.

    It is very interesting and fun to here what other peoples opinions are on in other parts of the world.

    Thanks for sharing :U Rock:
     
  14. postnetnc133

    postnetnc133 Member

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    Apr 18, 2009
    Garbage in - garbage out holds true if the client does not want to pay you to clean up their artwork because they feel they created it properly, and it looked fine on their monitor.

    Got to love those that save images off the web and then want a banner or sign with that image or logo.
     
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