This article refers to Make-the-Cut (MTC) v4.1.0 and Silhouette Studio Designer Edition (SSDE) v.2.2.0d, and reflects my personal observations about the MTC and SSDE software.
I have used Make-the-Cut (MTC) since the day it was released in December 2009, and the Silhouette Studio program since April 2011. I have been using the Silhouette Designer Edition (SSDE) since September 2011. Since the release of the MTC-Cameo plug-in last December, many of you have written in to ask for my recommendation. Should you purchase MTC or the SSDE in order to cut SVGs with your Silhouette cutter?
Even though I have not used SSDE for as long as I have MTC, I have come to like the software a lot. It is easy and fun to use. However, I do find that the program is limited in terms of the features that it has to offer compared to MTC. Here are some of my favorite tools in MTC that I have noticed are not available in SSDE :
Layers: If I have to pick a feature of MTC to be my favorite tool, it has to be Layers. By putting the different elements on different layers, you can easily control which ones to cut or hide. While there are also ways to "hide" images in SSDE, personally I find it more convenient to use MTC's Layers than to have to drag the images off the virtual mat like in SSDE.
|MTC example of Layers|
Pages: I can save multiple pages of the project in a single file. For example, in my recent Cowlendar project, I had to save it in 4 files in SSDE: 1 for Jan-June, 1 for July-Dec, 1 for the covers and 1 file for the backing. If I had used MTC, I would have been able to condense that into 1 file (with 4 pages).
|MTC example of Pages|
There is only 1 method of tracing in SSDE (Pixel-tracing). In MTC, the user can trace using Alpha-tracing, Palette-tracing, and Color Tracing, IN ADDITION to Pixel-tracing. These other methods of tracing are very useful in times when Pixel-tracing just can't give a good trace of the image.
Import Multiple SVGs: MTC makes it really easy to import SVGs. Just click on the SVG button to import the file. When using the File>Import, or File>Merge commands, SSDE defaults the Files of Type to the native .studio format. It is a huge hassle to have to change that for the other non-studio files to show. Although you can overcome that inconvenience by opening the folder where the SVG is stored and drag it onto the virtual mat, you will still only be able to drag/open one SVG at a time. MTC allows multiple SVGs to be imported at the same time. This is useful when the project is made from several different SVGs.
Allows Temporary Font Installation: I don't like to install fonts that I do not use frequently. In order to use a font with SSDE, I have to install it on my computer. On the other hand, MTC allows me to load fonts temporarily for use without having to install them.
Export as SVGs and other formats: In my opinion, this feature of MTC alone could possibly justify the use of MTC over SSDE. The only format that the Silhouette Studio programs allow the user to save the file in is the proprietary .studio format. Since all .studio files can only be opened in Silhouette Studio program, any user-created designs cannot be used by any one who does not use Silhouette Studio. On the other hand, MTC allows your designs to be saved as a .mtc file or be exported as SVG, PDF, EPS, AI, JPG, and PNG.
Wrap text and objects to path: Even though SSDE (and the regular Silhouette Studio program) includes the wrap text feature (for example, place words around a circle), MTC has gone one step further and allow for wrapping of text OR objects (e.g. stars, hearts, etc.) to a path.
|MTC example: Wrapping Hearts to a circle.|
Use with many different cutters: You can only cut to the Silhouette SD or the Silhouette Cameo with the SSDE program. With MTC, you can cut to many different cutters including the Black Cat Cougar/Lynx, all Klic-N-Kut machines, Pazzles Inspiration, Craftwell eCraft, and more. While I am primarily using my Cameo now, I like that I can use MTC with all these other cutters. Should the need ever arise so that I have to use a non-Silhouette cutter (e.g. crafting at a friend's house where she does not own a Silhouette cutter), it is good to know that I still have the option of using my MTC to cut to many other cutters.
|screenshot taken from the MTC website.|
Free Updates/Upgrades: I paid $49.99 for the Designer Edition Upgrade. My initial purchase price of MTC is the only cost that I have to pay. I pay $0 for all MTC updates and upgrades.
The features of MTC that I have mentioned so far are just some of what I use most often in the program. There are many other tools in MTC that are not available in SSDE (e.g., Jigsaw Generator, Lattice Creator, Conical Wrap, Vertical Text tool, etc.). For a more detailed list of what MTC can do, please click HERE.
Having said all that, I must mention that there are some features in SSDE that are not available in MTC. For example, while you can use the Join command to integrate one cutting path into another, currently there is no Group tool in the MTC program. In my opinion, MTC is also not able to handle textures as well as SSDE. While I cut most designs using MTC, I prefer to use SSDE for my Print-and-Cut projects.
Despite that, I find that the benefits of using MTC outweighs its shortcomings. While SSDE is a very good program and has its own merits, personally I find that MTC is a lot more versatile. SSDE retails for $49.99 and MTC can be had for $58.36. For the price difference of less than $10, I would certainly choose MTC over SSDE.
But then again, why listen to me? Try it out for yourself before deciding if the software is for you. You can download a free trial of MTC by clicking HERE.