With just a click or two, you can do all kinds of things to your drawings, text, and imported images, thanks to the powerful design tools in Silhouette Studio. Today, I’m going to talk about the Subtract tools.
For this tutorial, I used Silhouette Studio Designer Edition v3.3.638 (V3) and v4.0.837 (V4), but the Basic Edition of the software has the exact same Subtract tools, so it’ll work just fine.
What does Subtract do?
When you have two shapes overlapping each other and then subtract, the front shape will cut a hole in the back shape.
Here are a few places it comes in handy:
To create a new shape that would be a challenge to create from scratch.
To create a knockout design where the image takes on the shape of the letters:
To cut out the background when using multiple colors. Once cut, the colors fit snugly together jigsaw-style instead of one layered on top of the other:
What’s the difference between Subtract and Subtract All?
The back shape ends up the same, but what happens to the top shape is different.
If you choose ‘Subtract’, the front shape will cut a hole from the back shape and leave only the back shape. You would use this when the back shape is all you need, such as creating the mouth, the pathway for a split letter, or as part of the knockout design process.
If you choose ‘Subtract All’, the front shape will cut a hole from the back shape but it will leave both shapes. It’ll look like nothing has happened, but if you drag one of the shapes, you’ll see that the background has been cut out. You’d use this when you need both shapes, such as when separating colors to apply jigsaw style instead of layering them.
How does Subtract work?
STEP ONE: If your back shape is made up of several shapes, make sure they’re grouped together as a single shape (to group shapes, select the shapes you want to group (hold the shift key down to select more than one at once), then right-click and select ‘Group’ from the list). For example, if my back shape is LAKE LIFE (as above) and it’s made up of two text boxes, I would select LAKE and LIFE and group them together
STEP TWO: If your front shape is made up of several shapes, make sure they’re grouped together as a single shape. For example, the paws are actually three separate paws, so I grouped them together before subtracting.
In V3: With your front shape overlapping the back shape, select them both, then click on the ‘Open the Modify Window’ icon (A) in the top toolbar, and select ‘Subtract’ (B) or ‘Subtract All’ (C) depending on the effect you want (explained in the previous section).
In V4: With your front shape overlapping the back shape, select them both, then click on the ‘Open the Modify Panel’ icon (D) in the right toolbar, and select ‘Subtract’ (E) or ‘Subtract All’ (F) depending on the effect you want (explained in the previous section).
STEP FOUR: There is no step four. You’re done. See? I told you it was easy.
Use the Subtract tool to create a split letter in this tutorial
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