Sunday, October 10, 2010

Color Previews in Design Studio

I have had several questions about how to use the color preview option in Design Studio.  One reader suggested that I answer in a blog post so others who have the same question would see the answer.  I am happy to do this - in fact, if you have a particular question you would like me to write about, please don't hesitate to leave a comment or email me to let me know.

I find the color preview to be very helpful in figuring out the layers for the more complicated cuts.  It also helps me make decisions about a color scheme without wasting a lot of paper.

Each mat in your file can only be one color so the first thing you need to do is to determine the number of layers in the design you are working with.  You also need to think through the order of the layers since the mats preview from top to bottom.  For example,  if you put the shadow on an earlier mat than the regular image you will block out all of the details.

I chose this apple basket from Cheerful Seasons to demonstrate the preview process.  (remember, you can click on any image to enlarge it so you can see the details more clearly).

I set the size at 4 inches on the slider bar and then found all of the layers for the image - in this case there are four.  I started off by putting them on the original mat in the file so I could look to see what some logical colors might be.

Then I added more pages of mats to the file.  In this case, I need four for the design layers, one to represent the background of the card or page and a clear mat for previewing the full design.

To help keep things organized, go ahead and change the names of the pages by right clicking on the mat and then typing the name in the box in the drop down menu.  To add the new name you need to click on "Change Page Name" at the top of the drop down menu or press "enter" on your computer keyboard.

Once you have named all of the pages start copying and pasting the images to the proper mat layer.  Click the image to select it, then click the copy button on the left side of the mat.

Then click on the appropriate page of the file and click the "paste" button to place the shape on that mat.

 To help in aligning the images you can use the center marker (the pale gray "plus" sign) and place it on an intersection of the grid lines on the mat.

 Do a preview by clicking the "eyeball" on the left side of the screen after the first two items are placed.  The colors are randomly assigned by the program and you can change them after all of the layers are placed.  I would only change them at this stage if there was not enough contrast between two layers for me to see them clearly.

Keep adding the layers by using the handles to move them, aligning each of the layers with the previewed images below.  The plus sign will not always work to align the images as the layers change in size.  Preview the images after each layer is moved into position.Be sure to delete each image from the first page after you have moved it to the mat you have prepared for that layer.

When all of the image layers are in position, add a convenient large blacked out shape to represent the card or page.  Then right click on the mat and choose "Set Preview Color" from the drop down menu.

You can choose any of the basic colors by simply clicking on the box for that color and then clicking the "OK" box.  When you preview this color will fill the shape.

 If you want more variety or a color that isn't in the basic array you can click "Select Custom Color" and create exactly the color you like.  Unfortunately, even if you click "Add to Custom Colors" this will not be saved by the Design Studio program.  If you want the exact same color on another page, be sure to take note of the numbers in the boxes.

 When you preview all of the layers you can see that there may be some changes you can make to the layers to get a final image with even more detail.

I would add some extra layers, using "hide selected contour" to separate the leaves from the basket frame and cutting the image in two different colors.  I would also cut an extra set of apples in another color that I want to use to line the basket so the solid apple color does not show through.

You can keep changing the colors to try different effects.  By changing the preview colors of the two apple layers I can see that it may be OK to have the red layer double as the inside liner of the basket - it is not nearly as distracting as the yellow layer was.

Ideally, I would like to be able to preview the images with my patterned papers.  There is a way I can do that now with some of my Creative Memories papers by taking screen shots into the StoryBook Creator Plus 3.0 digital program that I use but it is a slow and cumbersome process.  The Cricut Imagine will preview with paper fill but only with the limited number of papers that are on the Imagine cartridges (though I am sure there will be many more of these cartridges coming in the future).

One more point I should make - the color preview is eliminated when you have welded shapes in your design.  When something is properly welded the preview will show only the dark cutting line.  If you want to see what your design will look like in color you can set up another page with the images and uncheck the weld box.  Be sure to mark this page PREVIEW ONLY so you don't accidentally cut the unwelded images.

I hope you had fun on "Talk Like a Robot Day" (10-10-10).  Apparently this was also the "lucky" wedding date chosen by over 39,000 couples.  We had a nice (though short) visit with our son at his college Parent Weekend.  I am trying to catch up on the emails I received over the weekend while we were away.  I should be able to finish up tomorrow.  

Monday is the last day for the Lettering Delights Dollar Days sale.  You can click the box in the left side column to go to the site - use the code BalloonFun to save an additional 10% on any purchase. The sale ends at midnight Mountain time.

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  1. Wow!! Thanks!! I didn't even know that's what that was for

  2. Another great tutorial, this is something I really struggle to get right so hopefully now I will be able to follow you as I do it and FINALLY get it right lol. Thansk for sharing.
    Kim xXx

  3. Thank you so much for this lesson on Color Previews. Your instructions are always so detailed and easy to understand. I appreciate the thought, time and effort that went into creating it for us.

  4. I have gotten a lot of useful information on your wonderful site but this is the best yet! You make everything easy to understand. I thank you so much for your creativity and willingness to help others. Bobby

  5. Very good lesson! Thank you for continueing to share your knowledge.

  6. How did you figure that out .. you are a marvel. Thanks, thanks, thanks.

  7. Great information (as always). Thanks for taking the time so we can be more productive.

  8. Thank you for the detailed and so understandable instructions!! are helping me so much with my DS

  9. Thank you so much for explaining that to us. I did know about the preview colors but not how to use them and the order they need to go on the mat.

  10. I have not used design studio yet. ask me why, do not know. i think a little scare of it. lack of time mostly.

    thank you, will be back to learn from you how to use it, lol.


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