The Silhouette Ecosystem
WHAT IS SILHOUETTE?
Silhouette is a manufacturer of electronic cutting machines and corresponding products. They produce products and technologies aimed at allowing creative people everywhere the most options and the fewest restrictions when it comes to electronic cutting, designing, crafting, and making. Silhouette currently has three cutting machines and one custom-stamping machine on the market: These machines work with the industry-leading design software, Silhouette Studio®, and the custom stamping software, Mint Studio™.
There are countless reasons to own a Silhouette. Crafters and DIYers have used Silhouette machines for years to create one-of-a-kind projects to use in their homes, schools, workplaces, and more. The Silhouette mantra is “customization”. Modern makers want to customize their lives, and Silhouette can help. From making basic designs to complex projects, all users can personalize with the Silhouette.
Silhouette Studio® is the powerhouse behind Silhouette cutting machines. The software was built to enable users to customize every single element of their designs. The software features a large number of tools to ensure there are no restrictions or restraints on the user’s design experience. The more tools there are, the more a user can completely customize their design.
Design What You Want
Silhouette Studio® employs a user-friendly interface to take designs from the mind to the page to the machine. The program was designed so beginners and advanced users alike could create basic to extremely detailed projects. With countless tools and functions, Silhouette Studio® is the electronic cutting machine software that gives users absolute control.
There are different software levels to facilitate different design needs. Each software level builds on the one before and includes all of the features of the lower levels.
There are no limits to what users can design. There are nearly 100,000 ready-made designs in the Silhouette Design Store. A variety of file types can be imported into the software. Additionally, users can use the tools in the software to create their own designs. Design Where and When You Want Silhouette Studio® is a downloaded software program, meaning that once installed an internet connection is not required to use the program. Users can design in real time where and when it is convenient. There won’t be slow tool functions based on lagging WiFi or internet connection speeds. The only function that requires internet is to access the Silhouette Design Store. Once a design is downloaded from the Silhouette Design Store, the design is stored in Silhouette Studio®. The design can be accessed at any time without using the internet. This function gives users flexibility to use their designs to create projects without needing an internet connection. Users can utilize the Bluetooth® feature with the Silhouette CAMEO® to operate wireless cutting. This gives users even more freedom to design and cut from laptops or other Bluetooth® enabled computers without cords tethering them to their machine.
Design How You Want
Use a Design from the Design Store
This is the most basic option. Simply download a design from the store. Open the image in the Design screen and click the Send tab to send the design to the machine. Select the material from a drop-down list, and either manually adjust the blade, or use the CAMEO 3 with the AutoBlade. Send the design and watch the Silhouette work its magic.
Use a Design from the Store and Customize It
Download a design from the store and either tweak it or drastically change it. Not only can users change obvious things like color and size, but points can be minutely adjusted, parts of images can be erased, images can be rotated and resized, and text can be added or moved.
Silhouette Studio® is powerful and intuitive enough to let uses design projects from scratch. Use the abundance of drawing tools to create a truly unique design. Draw shapes, lines, and access any font already installed on the computer. Manipulate shapes using the knife or eraser, and arrange and group objects on the page. Both seasoned designers and beginners can easily create individual designs.
Silhouette Studio® boasts an impressive tracing feature. Users may trace an image that they own to create a one-of-a kind project. This feature works on photos and on other images.
Print & Cut
Use a Pixscan™ mat to take a photo of something. Upload it to the software, add cut lines, and cut it out perfectly. Or, design something in Silhouette Studio®, send the design to a printer, and send it to the Silhouette to cut exactly around the printed image’s contour. With this type of freedom, users have the ability to add precision cutting to many different project types.
The high point of the software is that it is easy-to-use. It has a familiar look to other design software, so users will feel comfortable in Silhouette Studio® from the get-go. The software is intuitive, easy-to-learn, and has a low learning curve. Users are able to use advanced functions with only a basic knowledge of the program. Silhouette offers many videos, tutorials, and tips to help users navigate the software if questions arise.
Silhouette Design Store
The Silhouette Design Store provides downloadable content from Silhouette and a variety of independent artists and brands. It is an ever-growing marketplace with nearly 100,000 designs to use with the Silhouette machines. These designs range from simple cutouts to intricate patterns and shapes. This variety allows users to create projects using different materials and supplies. All designs from the Design Store are completely customizable. Users may purchase a design and make it their own using the tools in Silhouette Studio®. Users can also choose how they purchase designs from the Design Store. Every design is available for purchase à la carte. Or, users can purchase a Subscription which will give them a certain number of designs of their choice at a lower rate each month. Credit Boosts can be purchased if users are purchasing a group of designs at a time and want to do so at a discounted rate.
The Design Store offers a variety of design types for users
to choose from including:
There are four Silhouette machines—three cutting machines and one stamping machine. Silhouette believes machines need very customizable settings so users can get the most precise results. One setting does not fit all materials, because media has so much variety. All cardstock is not the same thickness or quality, so settings that are minutely adjustable lend themselves to creating the best cutting results. The test cut feature provides users with a way to check settings before cutting an entire design.
The Silhouette CAMEO® is the ultimate DIY machine. It uses a small blade to cut over 100 materials, including paper, cardstock, vinyl, and fabric up to 12 inches wide. The CAMEO has the ability to register and cut printed materials and is PixScan™ compatible, meaning the user can upload a design and either trace it or add cut lines for the CAMEO to cut. The CAMEO features a dual-carriage, 2 mm clearance, and Bluetooth® technology. To top it all off, the CAMEO is the only machine compatible with Silhouette’s new self-adjusting AutoBlade. The CAMEO features matless cutting and can cut material up to 10 feet long. It is Silhouette’s machine with the largest cutting space and is most versatile in the materials it can cut.
The Portrait is the CAMEO’s smaller equivalent. It cuts the most of the same materials as the CAMEO, but has a slightly smaller cutting area at 8 inches wide and a slightly lesser clearance. It also features matless cutting and can cut material up to 10 feet long. At 16.25 inches and only 3.5 pounds, it can travel easily. This machine also has the ability to register and cut printed materials and is PixScan™ compatible. With the Portrait, the possibilities are endless.
Curio is the most specialized Silhouette machine because it provides access to different types of media as well as more effect options like embossing or etching. Because of its higher clearance level than both the CAMEO and the Portrait, Curio can handle thicker media such as wood, metal, and chipboard, which can be placed in Curio for surface sketching applications. And while Curio is also a cutting machine like the Portrait and the CAMEO, its emphasis is on embellishments and detail. The dualcarriage means that users can perform two functions in one cut job, such as a score and emboss or a multicolored sketch. Curio’s base ensures the material loads the same every time, giving the user freedom to stop and restart cut jobs with precision.
The Mint is the one of the most innovative machine at Silhouette. It differs from other members of the Silhouette family because it is not a cutting machine. The Mint is a custom stamp maker, and it is changing the way people stamp. In four easy steps and less than two minutes, a completely original, custom-made stamp can be produced. It’s as easy as designing it, Minting it, inking it, and stamping it. Once it’s inked, the stamp is good for 50+ stamps (but it often lasts a lot longer before reinking).
Silhouette Connect™ is a plug-in available allowing users to cut directly from Adobe Illustrator® or CorelDRAW®. Once the plug-in is purchased and installed, users can send designs to the Silhouette machine directly from their design program without ever opening Silhouette Studio®. Users comfortable with designing in Adobe Illustrator® or CorelDRAW® can send their designs to cut with the Silhouette, eliminating the step of transferring and opening their design in Silhouette Studio®.
Materials and Products
Silhouette machines can cut a broad assortment of material types. Silhouette offers products that are designed specifically to be cut with the machine. Each specialty product has correlating specific recommended cut settings in Silhouette Studio® to get the perfect cut, every time.
The most common materials to cut with the Silhouette machines are:
But, the Silhouette machines can cut much more than these four materials. Specialty Silhouette media like tattoo paper, faux leather material, chipboard, wood sheets, shrink plastic, cork sheets, printable cotton canvas, stencil material, and a score of other materials can be cut with the machine.
Social Media and Blog
Silhouette offers inspiration though various social media platforms. Users can browse Silhouette’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, Pinterest, and Silhouette’s own blog to see project ideas, tutorials, and tips.
SILHOUETTE WRAPPED UP
The Silhouette Ecosystem encases many different parts. There are multiple options in designing, creating, and cutting because there are people throughout a variety of markets using Silhouette machines. The most important part of the Silhouette system is customization. With so many options, a user can customize not only what he or she makes, but how he or she makes it.