After a disappointing experience with Silhouette Studio version 3 (see my review HERE), I was apprehensive about using version 3.1.417 which Silhouette America had just released a few days ago. My curiosity over their new PixScan feature finally brought me over the edge so I went ahead and downloaded Silhouette Studio v3.1.417. I was not confident that Silhouette has fixed all the issues that made version 3 hard to use so I installed the latest update on a spare laptop.
For those of you who do not follow me on Facebook, the following is a recap of what I experienced while I was testing the software. For the test, I used Silhouette Studio Designer Edition v3.1.417ssde on a Lenovo laptop running Windows 8.1.
PRO: Pattern-Fill is fixed! I can drag-and-drop my Lettering Delights (LD) papers from an external folder and into the shapes again! YIPPEE!!
CON: The short-cut for Ungroup no longer works. CTRL+U does not ungroup the shapes anymore. In fact, pressing down on the CTRL key activates the feature for transferring properties of a shape.
Also, previously in version 2, I can use either CTRL+drag or ALT+drag to copy a shape. In v3.1.417, I can no longer use CTRL+Drag for that but thankfully, ALT+Drag still works. (Thank you, Facebook fan Rachel Davis for the info!).
I found the PixScan button! It's the 3rd button from the left on the top menu bar. :-) I don't have my PixScan mat yet but I can't wait to try out the feature. Click HERE for a video from Graphtec UK that shows how PixScan works. Thanks goes to Linda for sharing the link!
I thought it would be a good idea to test the software by making something with it. That way, I will use most of the tools that I usually use in the program. After some thought, I decided to make some new credit card size notecards with LD's Get Happy graphic set and papers. You can find the tutorial for a similar project HERE.
My first print-and-cut project with v3.1.417 turned out to be surprising smooth-sailing. I was quite happy that I didn't have much trouble at all. There were some minor things that bother me - for example, I don't like how the extra cinematic effects cause a lag time when I switch from one tool to another. Also, the user interface is a little bit different from version 2 so I had to figure out where some of the tools/buttons are. Despite that, I was pretty pleased at what I was able to accomplish after installing the update.
Encouraged by the success of my first project with v3.1.417, I decided to go ahead and make something else. A shaped card is one of the things that I make very often with Silhouette Studio and so that was exactly what I decided to make next.
CON: Bring-to-Front and Send-to-Back do not work for LD SVGS and Cut Its.
I hit a snag almost as soon as I started on the shaped card. No matter what I did I was unable to use the Bring-to-Front or Send-to-Back commands on an LD design. Bring-to-Front/Send-to-Back work if I use them on shapes from the Silhouette store or on those which were drawn in Silhouette Studio, but I can't get them to work for LD's cutting files.
Facebook fan, Angelica, suggested some workarounds. She said,"I tried to import one of the SVGs into Make-The-Cut and exported as an SVG, then imported the new SVG into SSDE. I don't know what MTC did to make it work, but now I can send to back!"
Beth also mentioned that she "used the "right click-cut" feature, then "right click, paste in front" and that worked." on a non-LD file.
Stacie says that she uses the Layers feature to move the shapes so I thought I would take a peek over there to check it out.
CON: Layers feature is still unusable.
Many of us were very excited when we found out that version 3 came with a Layers feature. It was something that we had wanted for Silhouette Studio for a long time. Unfortunately, the excitement turned into a huge disappointment when we discovered that the feature was messy, unintuitive, and hard to use. It has been 4 months since version 3 was first released (April 2) and I was hopeful that Layers would have been fixed by now. Sadly, I am finding that the feature is still a mess. :-(
With reference to the screenshot above, 1 (red circle) refers to all the shapes/layers that made up all the images on the mat. Notice that only the three "Polygons" are highlighted even though all four images on the mat were selected.
2 (blue oval) points to an image that I had brought onto the mat but had already deleted. Even though the image is no longer on the mat, the Layers window was not automatically updated. I had to delete the ghost layers from the Layers window in order to make it go away.
In my opinion, the Layers feature is not usable unless you only have a few simple shapes on the virtual mat. The more shapes that you have on the mat, the harder it is to tell them apart from the Layers window because they are all labelled with the same names. For example, the names of the basic shapes are the same no matter if it was a square, a rectangle or a circle. They are all labelled as "Polygons" in the Layers window. Any LD shapes that I bring onto the mat is named "Layer 1" even though they have different file names. If I bring more than one LD svg onto the mat, I will not be able to easily tell them apart in the Layers window since they are all shown as "Layer 1".
Because the Bring-to-Front/Send-to-Back commands did not work properly with the LD svg, I had more trouble making this shaped card than I did with the print-and-cut notecards. I was willing to give v3.1.417 a chance and even though I think that it is a huge improvement over the earlier version 3s, there are still a lot of kinks that Silhouette need to iron out.
I have only began to test v3.1.417 by using the basic tools that I use most often in Silhouette Studio. There are still many tools and features that I have not tested. At this point, because of the bugs that I have discovered, I can't give you the all-clear to download and install the update. Silhouette did fix many bugs from the earlier version 3s but I am still hearing about other bugs in this version that I have not personally come across yet. For example, April is having trouble with the update not showing all her fonts while Candi, a Mac user, still can't open an image etc by dragging/dropping to the Silhouette icon.
If you want to give the update a try, click HERE to get the download. Install at your own risk and if you find that you don't like it after all, just click HERE for a tutorial that will show you how to uninstall the update and revert to the Legacy version (a.k.a. version 2.9.45)
If you are already using version 3.1.417, I would love to hear what you think of it. Please share your thoughts in the comments below or join our discussion over on my Facebook page.