I realized this morning that with the new update to the design studio software we have new options for creating our designs and some can be created in "groups" that can be copied and resized easily.
I made this tutorial to explain this in more detail - I am trying to be complete in my directions but I have not yet had enough time to experiment with all the possibilities and to discover all of the potential flaws. I did spend most of the afternoon trying to get this tutorial prepared so you can enjoy the increased flexibility we have with the newest update of the software. Please add comments and contact me with your problems or solutions as we figure this out - I am very excited by the projects that will be possible now but still have a few "wish list" items.
I am putting this up before I test cut the design I am showing and, as always, will not post the file until I have tested it - so check back later if you would like it. I did test cut the Sugar & Spice and Camp Fun designs that I posted in screen shots last night and will get them up soon - I woke up with the idea about grouping and it has consumed me all day!
So let's get started.
To begin, open a new project and choose the cartridge you would like to use to start your design. With school starting around the country, I chose the phrase "School Days' for use with all of those first days of school photos.
Type the phrase on the mat either by clicking on the virtual keypad or typing on your computer keyboard (be aware that you can't use "shift" on your keyboard).
I used Plantin Schoolbook (for obvious reasons!)
The word will look like this
You will use the "nudge" arrows in the control panel to manipulate these letters. The big improvement with this version of the software is the addition of the up and down arrows for vertical nudging (we have been able to do horizontal nudging since the program was released). Be sure to check the "weld" box.
The first letter or object in any grouping is not "nudgeable" - you move it by using the blue handle in the upper left corner of the light gray outline that surrounds the word (the selection box). Click on the second letter "c" to make it "active" - it is "active" when the outline turns to a dotted line as you can see below
You could just start nudging from the original positions of the letters after entering the letters, but, to make the process quicker, it is easier to using the "Kerning" feature. I usually try -.01 as a value and see how that works out - here is the box where I have entered that value.
Once you click the "apply" button next to the kerning box the letters will look like this
This brings them closer together for you to start "nudging' them around. With the new buttons you can vary the positions up and down and get a more graceful looking weld (some letters don't weld well next to each other and can become difficult to read).
I decided to move the "c" up a bit like this
I continued to use the "nudge" arrows to get the other letters in a pleasing arrangement and then I previewed the welds by click on the "eyeball" in the left column next to the mat - this is how it looked at this point
Now it is time to work on the second word,"Days," which I wanted to place below the word "School." With the previous version of the software, I would need to start another group in a new box but by using the up and down keys, you can keep all of the elements together.
I started by selecting the "D" and nudging it to the left. You can hold down the nudge key instead of repeatedly clicking, but be careful with this. I am not sure if it is the software or my computer, but twice I had the problem of the nudge key "sticking" and I lost control of the design and had to start over!
Here is the "D" nudged into position
As you can see, the other letters "followed" the "D" to the left - they don't seem to follow up and down - just left and right (but I am still figuring things out!). After more nudging the letters are all in position and I checked the welds again
With this method you can create word images similar to the ones on the new Graphically Speaking cartridge, but I have not yet found a way to alter the angle of the letters within the group (and I am not sure if there is one...yet).
Now I was ready to have a bit more fun - so I went to the Stretch Your Imagination cartridge for the schoolbus image (yes - you can mix cartridges and image sizes - that one of the exciting aspects of this program!).
I guessed on the size - two inches was too big so I used the "backspace" key on the keypad to remove it and tried a few other sizes - eventually settling on the one inch bus. As far as I can tell, sizes on images are determined by the height of the item but if you guess wrong and want to change the image use the "backspace" key NOT the delete button on the left which will delete the entire group!
Here you can see the bus when it was first added
and this is how it looks after nudging it down and over a bit and previewing the welds
So far, so good. I decided to add some sort of frame around this image (another improvement - in the earlier version welds inside frames would not work properly and you had to "build" a frame from other elements to get an image welded in a frame). I went to Fabulous Finds and found a label holder (not sure if that is the technical name!) and decided to try it - I thought it might look cute on a cover page for a school album.
Once again, remember to keep the original design selected as you try various additional items and remove them ONLY by using the backspace key on the virtual keypad.
Here is how the mat looked after I selected the frame - at this point you want to be sure that your original design is over to the left side of your mat to allow room to add the frame - if you are having trouble getting it to add in the same box you should change your mat size to 12 x 24 on the pull down view menu to give yourself a bigger working area.
I moved the frame over and to the left and then discovered that it was a bit too large
So I backspaced and changed the size on the slider bar and added a new frame to the mat - this one was more appropriate and, interestingly, it appeared in a position similar to where I had nudged the one I removed and not far off to the right side as the first one did
With some more nudging I got it into position and checked the welds
I now have a completed design - all in one selection box! This means I can use the handles to manipulate everything at once - below you can see the preview preserved on the screen while I pulled the handle to enlarge the design (by the way - if you want to quickly remove the preview use "control L")
I can also copy and paste the design and slide the new one into a different position as you see below
and even resize and rotate this new image!
I hope that this information will help you to create lots of fabulous designs. Please contact me by emailing or commenting if you have any questions. I will continue to work on figuring out ways to use these new features (and I will get those files posted soon!).
This is not the ultimate solution - what I really hope for is the ability to "select all" and "group" the elements - but, all things considered, it is a great improvement!