Have you ever wanted to see how a design might look on a blank before you cut it? Or use the exact image of the blank to gauge the size when designing?
I will do this often when I’m creating a project to see how things will line up.
In Silhouette Studio we can do this easily.
The first thing to start with is setting up the blank to get a good, clear photo of it that can be used.
Select some sort of background for the blank. If using this as a mock up for customers or to advertise, I would highly recommend a professional looking background.
I have a few different poster board backgrounds or large bulletin board paper rolls that I will use and set up in an area that is well lit. The one I choose is usually dependent on the colors of the blank item, but I do have my favorites too.
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Natural lighting is best if you can but I also have photo studio lights that I’ll use if I’m working after dark. These are the ones I have – Limo Studio Lighting Kit.
Then take the most straight on, clear photo that you can. I always take several at a time while it’s all set up and then I have options if one didn’t turn out.
Here is one photo I took. After bringing it up on my computer, I realized that I could still see my finger marks from smoothing out the shirt. Depending on what you are using the image for take a few minutes to get it set up right, smooth, and looking it’s best.
If you are using it for your own personal mock- up, then this would probably be ok.
It never hurts to have extra photos of things you are working with.
I just use my phone to take most photos, but any good quality camera will work well too.
The next thing to do is to bring this photo into your Silhouette software. You can use File > Open and find where you saved the file or drag and drop the image from the My Computer folder onto the design workspace if you have the Designer Edition upgrade or higher.
What you may notice is that your photo comes in quite large. This is all dependent on the photo settings of the device you took the photo with.
Click on the photo to select it.
Then choose the Scale option either in the Quick Access Toolbar or under the Transform Panel – Tab 2 – Scale tab and select an option. For my photos, I choose the 33% and the image is still usually larger than I really need.
The first thing you will notice is that the photo may look like it disappears.
Don’t panic, it’s just shrunk and is off the work space.
The easiest way to work with it is to immediately choose the Center to Page option. This will bring the design right back to the design mat.
But, the most important thing here is to not click on the design space or the photo will no longer be selected to apply this action to.
Here is a quick video showing the steps outlined above
Once the photo is back in the design space area, you may still need to scale it down some to work with it. This will just depend on the size of the project you want to use it for.
This can either be done using the Scale tools again or by grabbing the corner bounding box on the image and dragging it in to make it smaller.
Next, eliminate the excess space around the background that you do not want. To do this, I draw a rectangle using the Drawing Tools. Place it on top of the photo image as desired.
This eliminates all the excess around the design. You could “crop” the image to any shape that you would like.
Now we can add the design on top to get an idea of how it will look.
Open the design and place it on top. Scale it down to the size you feel looks good.
Now, you will probably notice right away that there are red cut lines showing around the design. If you are using this as a mock up, you don’t want those to show.
Saving a Mock Up Image
There are a couple of ways to save this as a mock up that could be used outside the software.
The highest quality image will be if you have the Business Edition upgrade and can export as a jpeg file. This of course will also be dependent on the quality of the image that you are starting with.
Save as jpeg
With the Business Edition upgrade to the Silhouette software, it unlocks the ability to export a design as a jpeg file type. This is an image file.
Personally, I use the File > Save Selection option, but the File > Save As works the same too.
Select both the background image and the design.
Chose File in the top left corner > Save Selection > Save to Hard Drive.
Then a window comes up that asks how where to save and how to save.
Choose where you want to save the file and then change the “Save as type” at the bottom of the window.
This process will work the same for saving as a jpeg, png, pdf, and svg.
2 things to note here:
1. If the design contains a Silhouette Design Store file, it may give you a warning that it cannot save. More information can be found HERE on the for svg files –
Let’s Explore v4 – Save as a SVG file
2. This option is only available in software versions higher than v4.1.197 of the Silhouette software and with the Business Edition upgrade.
And you have a photo of your “mock up” design without cutting the material and applying it.
Now my one suggestion if you are in this for a business or selling is, only create mock ups of products that you have actually made and have experience with.
I see often where someone has taken an order and they have never created the actual product.
This can be very stressful and frustrating when you have orders to fill.
Other Options to Save As
If you do not have the Business Edition upgrade, a couple other options for saving the image is to use the Snipping Tool on a Windows computer or using a screen shot and then cropping it in another program.
With this method you will need to test as the image quality is not always the greatest.
The Snipping Tool is on a Windows computer can be found by typing “Snipping Tool” in the search bar in the bottom left corner on your computer. Click on it to open it.
It looks like this
I click on New. Draw a box around what I want to “snip” and then do File > Save. I have this little tool pinned to my bottom Windows taskbar and can open it at any time.
You could also use the Print Screen option on the computer keyboard, but then would need to crop the image in another program such as Photoshop or Paint.
On a MAC The magic keys on a MAC are “Shift Command 3” for a full screen shot or for a “snip” Shift Command 4 and this will only take a shot of a portion of the screen.
Using Images as Design Templates
You are not limited to using a photo of a blank as a mock up, but I will use them also for designing as well.
For instance, when I was working on the gunpowder wood-burned clock project HERE, I brought in the image of a stained wood round to use while I was designing it.
I scaled it down.
Then I drew a circle the same size as the wood round and adjusted the photo to fit.
Then I could use the image to work with when I was designing the clock pieces.
There are so many options when you are working with the Silhouette software.
I would just recommend grabbing a photo of one of your blanks and just start playing. Do a template of your next shirt design for yourself or just to walk through the techniques. You never know when the tools will come in handy for other project types as well!
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