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Suggestions Vector based software vs using photoshop and vectorizing

Discussion in 'General Software' started by deez, Mar 18, 2019.

  1. deez

    deez New Member

    Mar 16, 2019
    So im just starting out with cutting vinyl, right now its to create designs for the ol lady to heat press shirts for daughters sports but also getting into larger designs for decals and maybe sign work later on. Also doing sublimation printing...

    I have a really simple question on which programs to use based on my previous experience.

    I went to school for computer graphics 15 years ago, Ive since used photoshop regularly and very familiar with this program. Although I used Illustrator in school, I have not used it since so basically would have to relearn this software. Ive used alot of 3d software too but that wont apply here.
    Now my question is this....
    Im using vinylmaster cut which came with my uscutter sc2 and when trying to clean up some lines I found it difficult to figure out how to add and merge nodes of curves etc which made me wonder if I should instead of trying to work with curves and nodes in vinylmaster....to instead.... clean up images in photoshop first and then just import to vinylmaster and vectorize it. The vinylmaster program seems to vectorize images pretty good so should I just be using photoshop to edit/work on images and then just use vinylmaster to vectorize and cut?
    Alternatively.... should I dig out illustrator and relearn it all over again?

    I know everyone has their own software preferences but just dont want to waste a bunch of time on software Im going to end up abandoning.
    Basically looking for suggestions on which software I should be focusing on from your opinions.
  2. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

    Sep 11, 2003
    Olympia, WA
    I prefer to edit the image in Photoshop and vectorize in either Illustrator Image Trace or FlexiSign Pro. But with Adobe you'll be looking at a subscription for versions that work well which is $50 a month.
  3. myront

    myront CorelDRAW is best

    Dec 3, 2015
    Niceville, FL
    NEVER design solely in any raster program. You can use raster elements that you tweak in photoshop and such but all designing should be done in a vector program. Especially if cut vinyl is involved. Don't know how many times I've received raster files for cut vinyl that consists of just straight text with no effects at all. p.s. And they have a degree in Graphic Design!
    • Like Like x 1
  4. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

    Sep 27, 2010
    It's gone up, $52.99

    Production is never really taught outside of print/web production (at least from what I've gathered from people that have gone and received a degree).

    To the OP: as would mentioned for cut vinyl that needs to be a vector program. The cutter needs that wireframe information to do the cutwork.

    As far as "never" designing solely in a raster program, that really depends on what the final product is and what you can/can't get away with during production.

    When I have to vectorize something, I rarely use the auto conversion tools. I much prefer using primitives, pathfinder tools and/or the good ole bezier pen tool.
  5. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

    Feb 4, 2005
    Lawton, OK
    Whether or not to use Photoshop in the work process really depends on the intended use of the artwork and possible re-use of that artwork in other methods of display. You must think about how the artwork will be used when deciding on the final form that artwork will take, be it a pixel-based image, a vector-based set of objects or even something else like 3D.

    Far too many people rarely ever consider how the artwork will be output when they set out to "design" something. This applies to almost all amateur designers and even a good number of people getting paid to do graphic design work. They just jump in and use whatever software is familiar to them to crank out something. Then they're confused or even put off when someone like me tells them their precious creation has serious technical problems.

    Generally speaking, graphical items like logos or other designs intended for repeated use use on signs, billboards, vehicles, etc should be completed as purely vector-based artwork. All type should be converted to outlines. All strokes or other outline effects should be expanded into real editable paths. As many "live" effects as possible should be flattened to increase file portability and compatibility with other applications, or even older versions of the same application.

    The work process one can use to complete a design can vary depending on the project. You don't have to do it all within one application, such as Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW. I use a fairly wide variety of desktop and iPad Pro applications in my design work flow. If my finished design is going to be an all-vector-based thing I'm only going to use image editors like Photoshop only for specific reasons for specific stages of the project.

    IMHO, using Photoshop exclusively to design a logo, particularly one whose final result is a vector-based design, is inefficient and counter-productive 99% of the time. Usually it's much better to create new art from scratch inside a vector drawing program. I really have to emphasize that for anything involving type objects or any graphics objects that are technical or geometrical in nature. It's silly to try making stuff like that in Photoshop and then auto-tracing it later. Unless you're going for a deliberately dirty, crude or stressed look it's a lot better to compose clean looking graphics in a draw program.

    I do use Photoshop a good bit to manually digitze clean vector paths over hand-drawn sketches or photographic sources that are mostly "organic" in nature. I prefer the keyboard short cuts available to the Pen tool in Photoshop. The new paths go down precisely over the source image; they don't appear to shift slightly depending on the zoom level like they do in drawing programs. And the pen tool in Photoshop is pretty responsive. Photoshop has this capability primarily for making clipping masks for photo objects.

    Sometimes I'll use Photoshop's Make Work Path function on selections made from black and white source artwork, like an organic pattern of something. I can sometimes get better results using that versus Live Trace in Illustrator. The auto-tracing functions in Illustrator will often generate a lot of trash objects, like open path line segments. Photoshop's Make Work Path function will often generate closed paths if the source artwork is good enough.
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  6. Pippin Decals

    Pippin Decals Active Member

    May 29, 2015

    I use Ai for designing in and export to my cutting software. I have the Vm you talked about but didnt like it so i switched to another software only because i had more options and it was way easier to learn. I also have a uscutter But its a titan 2 . IU have had so many people send me a file that was created in PS and they said it was a vector image and it wasnt. I tell everyone i work with that the file needs to be created in a true Vector Program like Ai or Corel. Any other way will be a headache and issues. Going to send you a pm bud.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019

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