Thursday, August 26, 2010

How to choose Lettering Delights images for MTC and the Cricut



While many of us are already familiar with Lettering Delights, it can be challenging for the beginner crafter to figure out which one of their offerings would work well with the Cricut. This quick guide is designed to give you an idea of what to look for when you are shopping for a LD graphic for use with Make-the-Cut (or SCAL) and your Cricut die-cutting machine. The sets recommended below are just a small selection of what I personally think would work well. There are plenty more on the LD website.

When I shop at LD or any other online seller of digital graphics I look for images that are bold and have little details. Textured images and those with a lot of details might be more difficult to work with and may not trace well in MTC. I also try to visualize the layers and where the images could possibly have what is commonly known as "broken lines". I will avoid those as well. Here are just a few of what I think are easy to cut with programs like MTC:

Doodlebats:

Doodlebats are Lettering Delights' version of dingbats. They are downloaded as .ttf or TrueTypeFonts files and can be used in MTC like a font. These are the easiest LD graphic files to work with as you do not need to convert them first in other graphic editing programs like Adobe Photoshop. You can just do a "Add font from TTF file" in MTC and use them like you would any other font file.

Here are a few Doodlebats that should work well in MTC with minimal (if at all) tweaking. Notice that they are have little details and are mainly solid images.






Graphic sets:

Images from the Lettering Delights' Graphic Sets may need to be converted first in Inkscape or a graphics editing program like Adobe Photoshop and then traced in MTC. You can watch my video tutorial on converting LD images in Adobe Photoshop here.


The Pun Intended graphics set is a LD Sneak Peek of the Month and was only available to purchase when you buy something else. However, during this sale, it is available with or without another purchase. This is one of the easiest sets to convert as the lines are mostly (if at all) unbroken. The images are bold and the colors help in figuring out the layers. In fact, some of the images do not even need any conversions. I used the brown elephant in this set for my elephant cards and all that I needed to do was to do a "Pixel Trace" in MTC. You can also do the same for the red car in this set.


I just had to include the You Take the Cupcake graphic set in this list as it is so similar to the Cricut SWEET TREATS cartridge.


The images in this Around the World Sites seems daunting but they are easier to convert than they look. Some may have a lot of layers (St. Basil's Cathedral, and the Taj Mahl) but others (Eiffel Tower, Leaning Tower of Pisa) have less. I am including this set in my list because the images are different from what you can currently find in a Cricut cartridge. I used this set in my recent Pan-Dee post.


Cliparts:

Personally I like to use Doodlebats and the LD Graphic Sets for my cards but I have heard of success stories from crafters who use the Cliparts instead. I view the cliparts as sort of an in-between Doodlebats and Graphic Sets item. They are not fonts so you cannot do a "Add font" in MTC and you will still have to do a trace BUT you do not need to use any program to convert the image. As there is already a black and white image within a Clipart set, you can just do a "Pixel Trace" in MTC of the uncolored image.

I have not used any LD cliparts in my cards but I think that these would trace easily in MTC:




Venturing outside of cartridges can be scary but with the Lettering Delights $1 sale(AND coupons),  it really is a great time to try out their images for cutting. Remember that although I had mentioned that I avoid textured and detailed images for cutting layers, such graphics still work great for print-and-cut. Graphic sets like Garden Kokeshi could pose a challenging in converting to a cut-able file but it is perfect for printing and cutting.


Even though I use my low-tech method of cut and print (print on scrap paper, then adhere my cutout temporarily over that printed page, and print over the cutout again), Kay over at Clever Someday has a great tutorial on her "Hinge Method" of printing and cutting.

Another point to note is that some graphic sets have equivalent Doodlebat versions. The latter will save you some time since you don't have to convert in Inkscape or any other graphics editor. For example,


I hope that this quick guide has helped you in your selection of LD sets. Kay also has a good list of doodlebats for beginners at her blog and you are welcome to check her list out too. 

Do take advantage of the Lettering Delights $1 sale. As far as I know, they usually have this sale only two times a year and now that they have two limited-time use coupons, it makes for a really good deal. How can you not try them out?

To go to the sale, just click on this banner:


9 comments :

  1. Great advice and very helpful. I just buy it all and hope I can do something with it someday! lol. Just kidding. I don't buy it all. Just most of it.

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  2. LOL, gale! I buy it all too! Nah...not really. :P :P

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  3. Hi Jin`

    I love your blog ...(i tried to look for an email but could not find one .. sorry for posting on the comments!)

    I would LOVE to know how to cut the monsters the way you did using MTC and PE or PS i have PS7.

    Thanks my email is ShArLyB@hotmail.com

    THanks again for your time
    xo
    Sharly

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  4. Hi Sharly,

    Thanks for reading my blog. I used the same method as my video tutorial (http://underacherrytree.blogspot.com/2010/07/tutorial-10-steps-to-convert-lettering.html) to make the layers. The steps are similar to the video and the only difference is that I had to use the Magic Wand tool to make more layers. Each time I make a new layer, I go back to the original image to make another layer. I hope that my explanation isn't muddy but if you need further directions, just let me know and I will look into writing a tutorial for just the Monster-licious set. :)

    Jin

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  5. Hi Jing,

    Thanks so much for the great tutorial ... I am buried in Monsters :) I have another question. Is there a way to make a layer for the eyebrows and the the tongue's (for some reason the spelling of tongue doesn't look right??) I was thinking of the magnetic lasso ... but just not sure of the right approach. Thanks again for your help ... although my kids are too big for monsters ... they still loved them!!

    ox
    Sharly

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  6. Hi Sharly, I love the monsters! I try to avoid small layers as much as possible so for the eyebrowns, I actually made it as part of the bottom most (shadow) layer whenever possible. Likewise with the tongue, I try to make it as part of a different layer. I know that it may be hard to visualize but with Halloween around the corner, I will make a special post just to show the different layers for the monsters that I had cut out using the Monster-licious set. Do stay tuned. ;)

    Jin

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  7. Thanks so much for the fabulous tutorial! Would it be possible to use digital images in the same manner? I realize it would need to be a simple image, but I'm curious to see if it could be done.

    Freida

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  8. Depending on the image, it might be possible. There's might be some "cleaning up" to do but if you can get clean, crisp lines from the image, the possibilities are endless. :-)

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  9. Thanks for your quick reply! I'll give it a try when I get more familiar with MTC.

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