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SignLab Tutorials


SignLab v10 LayerViewer Part 1 – NEW!

LayerViewer Part 1


An overview of the LayerViewer for SignLab v10

LayerViewer Part 1Watch the Video

SignLab v10 LayerViewer Part 2 – NEW!

LayerViewer Part 2


An overview of the LayerViewer for SignLab v10

LayerViewer Part 2Watch the Video

Printing and cutting to two different devices – NEW!

Printing and cutting to two different devices


Printing and cutting to two different devices SignLab v10

Printing and cutting to two different devicesWatch the Video

SignLab Transparency Special Effects/Contour Cutting – NEW!

SignLab Custom Sign Blank Creation - NEW!

More Special Effects – NEW!

Even More Special Effect Tools – NEW!

Faster with the Latest Windows Support – NEW!

New Menu Board Design – NEW!

Transparency Support – NEW!

Unmatched Native .PDF Workflow Support – NEW!

Design Application Plug In's to SignLab – NEW!

Design Application Plug In's to Visual Production Manager – NEW!

Fit to Globe

Distortions that simulate raised spherical surfaces.

Fit to GlobeWatch the Video

Pinch Effect

Distort bitmap and vector images.

Pinch EffectWatch the Video

Lighting Effect

Enhance your designs with SignLab's new lighting effects.

Lighting EffectWatch the Video

Gimp & SignLab

Gimp is an editing application within SignLab.

Gimp & SignLabWatch the Video

Diffuse Glow

Soften up hard edged images.

Diffuse GlowWatch the Video

Bitmap Transform

Apply transformations to bitmap objects.

Bitmap TransformWatch the Video

VPM - Printer Proofing

Color accurate visuals.

VPM - Printer ProofingWatch the Video

VPM - Prepare to Vectorize Wizard

Creating quality vector artwork from low resolution images.

VPM - Prepare to Vectorize WizardWatch the Video

VPM - SuperSize

Maintain the sharpness of images in large format reproduction.

VPM - SuperSizeWatch the Video

VPM - Smart User Interface

Main User Interface Features.

VPM - Smart User InterfaceWatch the Video

VPM - Print Mode Manager

Manage 100s of Print Modes.

VPM - Print Mode ManagerWatch the Video

VPM - Install Printer Wizard

Setup Any Printer In A Snap.

VPM - Install Printer WizardWatch the Video

VPM - Easy Drag & Drop

Drag Files Directly To VPM

VPM - Easy Drag & DropWatch the Video

VPM - Multiple Queues

Run Multiple Jobs with Different Media.

VPM - Multiple QueuesWatch the Video

VPM - Tiling

Easy Large Prints.

videoWatch the Video

VPM - Cropping & Copies

Crop and Copy within VPM.

VPM - TilingWatch the Video

VPM - Advanced Tools For The Power User

Customize Your Software

VPM - Advanced Tools For The Power UserWatch the Video

Using the Tilt and Lighting Plug-ins with SignLab

Create great effects with the Tilt and Lighting Plug-ins

Using the Tilt and Lighting Plug-ins with SignLabWatch the Video

Using Fluid Mask with SignLab

Enables the user to effortlessly remove unwanted backgrounds from foreground images.

Using Fluid Mask with SignLabWatch the Video

SignLab 8 - Richard Rosenman

Three great filters that you will use over and over. Difuse, Lens FX, and Pinch.

SignLab 8 - Harry's Filters

An outstanding selection of PhotoShop-compatible plug-ins that are now provided with SignLab.

Badges

This tutorial is about badge creation.

BadgesWatch the Video

Simple Design Tips

This tutorial will take you through some of SignLab's bitmap editing features.

Simple Design TipsWatch the Video

Great design effects using Redfield Plug-ins

This tutorial will show you how to use the Redfield Plug–ins.

Great design effects using Redfield Plug-insWatch the Video </a 

Using Half Cut — Part I

This two part video tutorial includes production of complete decals on practically any vinyl printer or print and cut printer. This tutorial shows how to set up this new feature as the methods vary depending on the various devices.

Using Half Cut — Part IWatch the Video

Using Half Cut — Part II

This tutorial will demonstrate how simple it is to apply half cut lines to your designs, and concentrates more on the actual output.

Using Half Cut — Part IIWatch the Video

Get rid of the White Box – Color Adjustments

Eliminating unwanted backgrounds in bitmap images.

Get rid of the White Box – Color AdjustmentsWatch the Video

Setting up your workspace

General guide on the basic user interface. How to set the various work area properties to better suit your personal preferences.

Setting up your workspaceWatch the Video

Job Cost Notes

Introduction To See Through Wizard

Double Sided On Clear

Double Sided No Spaces

Basic Color Theory

Introduction To Print Modes

Print & Cut To A Separate Printer and Cutter

This html tutorial will show you how to send print & cut jobs (contour cut jobs) from SignLab to a locally connected printer and cutter. Print and cut to a hybrid printer that supports cutting functions, or cut the printed media using a stand–alone printer.

Printing & Cutting


Print & Cut to a Separate Printer and Cutter

Use this workflow to send print & cut jobs (contour cut jobs) from SignLab to a locally connected printer and cutter.

A “print & cut” job is a print job that includes at least one contour cutting line, such that the printed image can be processed through a vinyl cutter to cut the contour lines. For example, stickers are commonly produced by a “print and cut” process. If the “print & cut” job is sent to a hybrid printer (one that supports cutting functions), then the printer will automatically cut the contour lines after printing.

Print & Cut To A Separate Printer and Cutter

Fig 1 – When printing and cutting via SignLab Print and Cut, you can either print & cut to a hybrid printer that supports cutting functions, or cut the printed media using a stand-alone cutter.

You can print and cut to a hybrid printer that supports cutting functions, or cut the printed media using a stand-alone cutter.
Fig 1 – When printing and cutting via SignLab Print and Cut, you can either print & cut to a hybrid printer that supports cutting functions, or cut the printed media using a stand-alone cutter.

1. From the Start menu, launch Print & Cut Manager.

2. From the Printers menu, choose Manage Printers to open the Manage Printers dialog.

  • The Manage Printers dialog lists the printers that have been installed.
  • Verify that the Port setting is correct for the printer you intend to use. 
  • Click OK to close the Manage Printers dialog.

Print & Cut To A Separate Printer and CutterFig 2 – Starting the queue in Print & Cut Manager, so that jobs will be sent immediately to the printer.

3. On the Print & Cut Manager toolbar, make sure that the Start Queue button has been clicked (i.e., the Start Queue button should be gray, and the Stop Queue button will show "red" and can be "pushed" to stop the queue at any time).

4. Minimize the Print & Cut Manager window.

5. From the Start menu, launch SignLab Print and Cut.

6. From the SignLab File menu, choose Print and Cut Setup to open the Print and Cut Setup dialog.

7. On the Printer tab, left-click to highlight the printer you wish to use.


Note: If your printer is not listed, click the New Printer button and follow the wizard instructions to add a locally connected printer to the list.


  • 8. To the right of the Print Mode field, click the ellipsis button (three dots) to display the print modes that are available for your printer. The print modes are arranged according to manufacturer media and inks. Choose the print mode that corresponds to the media and inks that have been loaded into your printer.
  • 9. Click the Cutter tab to display the device that will perform the contour cut operations In addition to selecting the cutter, this tab specifies the registration marks that will be used for aligning the contour cut lines with the printed image.

For contour cutting using a hybrid print & cut device:

  • If you are using a hybrid printer that supports cutting operations, then the printer will automatically align the contour cut paths to the printed image. As such, the name of the hybrid printer should be listed here.
  • For "print & cut"jobs, set the Printer Cutter Alignment to None, which indicates that the printer will automatically align the contour cut lines with the printed images.
  • For "print–laminate–cut" jobs, where the printed job will be laminated and loaded back into the hybrid printer for cutting, set the Printer Cutter Alignment to Printer’s own registration. The printer will automatically print the registration marks that it needs in order to align the contour cut portion of the job.

For contour cutting using a cutter with an automatic optical eye alignment tool:

  • Some cutters have an optical eye that will recognize specific types of registration marks. The Operator’s Manual for the cutter will specify the type of registration marks that should be used, and the Printer Cutter Alignment may be set according.

For cutters with no auto alignment tools:

  • For cutters that do not offer optical eye alignment, it is recommended that the Printer Cutter Alignment be set to Three point automatic.

10. On the Cutter tab, click the Setup button to open the Plotter Setup dialog.

  • Click the Port tab. Note that the options are restricted to the Print & Cut Manager option.
  • If the printer is being used in combination with a stand-alone cutter, then verify that the Port Location correctly indicates the port to which the cutter is connected.
  • Note that the Port Location is hidden for hybrid printers that support cutting operations.Click OK to close the Plotter Setup dialog.

11. Click OK to close the Print and Cut Setup dialog.

12. From the SignLab File menu, choose Import and select the file you want to bring onto the SignLab workspace. Select the complete image by dragging a marquee around the graphic.

13. Apply a "contour cut" path to the selected image:

  • Choose Contour Cut from the Cut menu.
  • Set the Offset to 0.01 inches.
  • A dashed line will appear around the image to indicate the "contour cut" cutting path. This dashed line will not be printed, but it will be cut by a cutter.
  • To accept the contour cut settings, left–click an empty portion of the SignLab window.
  • Drag a marquee to select both the image and its "contour cut" path.

14. At this point, you are ready to send your print & cut job. Ensure your local printer & cutter are connected to the correct ports, and that they are "on" and ready to print/cut.

15. From the File menu, choose Print and Cut to activate Print and Cut Preview mode.

16. In the SmartBar, confirm that the Printer and Cutter are as you had selected.

Print & Cut To A Separate Printer and Cutter

Fig 3 – The print & cut job will be previewed before being sent, and the SmartBar will indicate the destination printer (and stand-alone cutter, if selected).

17. At the far–right of the Print/Cut Toolbox are output buttons for Cut, Print, and Print & Cut. Click the Print & Cut button to send the print & cut job.

  • Cut – Send only the cut portion of this design.
  • Print – Send only the print portion of this design.
  • Print and Cut – Send both the print and cut portions as a combined job.

Note: If you are printing to thermal foil printer and your package includes the Spot Color Printing module, then sending either a print or print & cut job will open the Spot Foil Browser dialog. This dialog is used to review the spot foils that are being output.


At this point, your printer should have automatically received the print data and begun printing. When the job has finished printing, it is ready to be cut.

If the print job did not begin as expected, then check the following:

  • Solution 1 – Maximize the Print & Cut Manager window to verify that the job appears in the Active List with a pending status. If so, then ensure that the queue has been started by clicking the Start Queue button, as per step (3), and the job will begin processing immediately.
  • Solution 2 – If the job appears in the Active List with a holding status, then the Scheduling settings in the Queue Properties dialog have been set to hold all jobs before printing. In this case, right–click the job name that is in the active list, and choose Print from the context menu. This will release the job.

18. When the job has finished printing you are ready to cut the job.

For contour cutting using a hybrid print & cut device:

Back in step (9), you would have set the Printer Cutter Alignment to None.

In this case, your hybrid printer should print and cut the job automatically without having to manually set the job to cut.

For contour cutting using a separate cutter:

  • Back in step (9), you would have set the Printer Cutter Alignment to either the type of registration marks specified by the cutter Operator’s Manual, or to three-point automatic.
  • If you will be cutting the contour cut path on a separate cutter, remove the printed image from the printer and load it into your cutter. Maximize the Print & Cut Manager window, and you will see your job in the Active List. There will be a scissors icon next to the job name, and the Status will be "holding". Right–click on the job name and select the Cut command from the context menu. The cut data will now be sent to the cutter.
  • If your cutter has an optical eye cutter, it will begin to "hunt" for the registration marks that were printed onto the media. When it locates the registration marks, it will begin to cut the contour cut path.
  • For a cutter that does not have an optical eye cutter, you need to manually align the cutting tool with the registration marks that were printed around the job. In Print & Cut Manager, right–click the job and select Cut from the context menu. Wizard instructions will guide you in aligning the cutting head.

For print-laminate–cut jobs using a hybrid print & cut device:

  • Back in step (9), you would have set the Printer Cutter Alignment to Printer’s own registration.
  • In this case, the printer will stop after printing the image. You may now laminate the media and then reload it into the hybrid printer. In Print & Cut Manager, right–click the job and select Cut from the context menu. The printer should automatically locate the registration marks and contour cut the job.

Advanced Contour Cutting

Printing & Cutting From SignLab — Part I

Printing & Cutting From SignLab — Part II

Printing & Cutting From SignLab — Part IIWatch the Video

Related Video: Contour Cut

Printing & Cutting From A Third Party Graphics Application — Part I

Printing & Cutting From A Third Party Graphics Application — Part II

Printing & Cutting from 3rd Party to a Separate Printer and Cutter demonstrates how to create a design in CorelDraw and then output to the printer and cutter through the Print and Cut Manager. The design is saved as a PDF file that is then linked into SignLab and output through the Print and Cut Manager.

Printing & Cutting From A Third Party Graphics Application —  Part IIWatch the Video

Color Management in 7.1 Build 8

Using the Color Management tools in SignLab 7.1 build 8.

Color Management in 7.1 Build 8Watch the Video

Welcome To White

Explanation of the basics of white printing/

Welcome To WhiteWatch the Video

Using Dimensions and Templates

By using dimensions and templates you can present professional visuals to your customers. This video will show you how to add dimensions and notes to your image, and how to use a template for presentation.

Using Dimensions and TemplatesWatch the Video

Send Jobs By Email

This video will show you how to send visuals and images to your customers by email from within SignLab.

Send Jobs By EmailWatch the Video

White - Basic Prime — Part I

This 3 part video section explains techniques used to apply a white primer to prevent "show through" from behind your mounted design. The first tutorial explains: how to apply a global primer to your design.

White - Basic Prime — Part IWatch the Video


Working with White

White - Basic Prime

Printing with spot colors, or with the new inkjets using white ink, requires changing how you think about print jobs. As thermal printer users know, the ability to use spot colors, and in some cases the ability to rewind the printer and print over the same area, opens the door to some amazing possibilities. Once you consider a print job as being done in layers, you understand the importance of designing the image to take advantage of layering.

What is a Primer?

Before painting a room, what is the first thing that you are supposed to do? Priming a print has a similar effect to priming a wall. If the media is not white (lightly colored or transparent) the white primer will allow your printed colors to appear as if they were printed on white media rather than on colored or transparent media.

Generally, you need a printer capable of rewinding in order to take advantage of priming. The printer will print a layer of the chosen spot color (usually white) and then rewind the print before printing the main image layer. Some printer manufacturers are developing technology which will allow users the ability to prime and print in the same pass. For the purpose of this document we will assume a prime-rewind-print system.

A) Applying a Global Primer

A global primer is a solid or tinted primer applied to the entire image at once

  1. In SignLab/Digital Factory open the image that you wish to print with a primer.
  2. Click on File > Print and Cut Setup.
  3. Choose the Thermal Overrides tab.
  4. Check the box for Prime all objects with this primer color.
  5. Set the radio button to Prime with solid color.
  6. Select the spot color that you wish to use (usually spot white) from the drop down box.
  7. Click OK.

Print your image as usual, and a spot color will prime all the objects in the image

Priming a Solid Rectangle behind an Image (and Not Just the Objects)

  1. In SignLab/Digital Factory open the image that you wish to print with a primer.
  2. Click on File > Print and Cut Setup.
  3. Choose the Thermal Overrides tab.
  4. Check the box for Prime all objects with this primer color.
  5. Set the radio button to Prime with solid color.
  6. Check the Flood page box on the right.
  7. Select the spot color that you wish to use (usually spot white) from the drop down box.
  8. Click OK.

Priming a Gradient so That it Fades into the Background

  1. In SignLab/Digital Factory open the image that you wish to print with a primer.
  2. Click on File > Print and Cut Setup.
  3. Choose the Thermal Overrides tab.
  4. Check the box for Prime all objects with this primer color.
  5. Select the radio button for Prime using object’s tint.
  6. Select the spot color that you wish to use (usually spot white) from the drop down box.
  7. Click OK.

Highlight Printing

Highlight priming will insert the selected spot color (typically white) wherever there would normally not be any ink printed. Note that areas that are white in an image usually are printed without any ink. Therefore on a colored or transparent media, the color (or lack thereof) of the media shines through any “white” part of the image. Highlight priming will paint the white pixels in the image with the spot color chosen.

  1. In SignLab/Digital Factory open the image that you wish to print with a primer.
  2. Click on File > Print and Cut Setup.
  3. Choose the Thermal Overrides tab.
  4. Check the box for Highlight all objects with this color.
  5. Select the spot color that you wish to use (usually spot white) from the drop down box.
  6. Click OK.

White Basic Prime

White - Basic Prime — Part II

Setting a global highlight which will apply a spot white to gradients and images.

White - Basic Prime — Part IIWatch the Video

White - Basic Prime — Part III

This tutorial explains why Highlight printing is applied to gradients and images.

White - Basic Prime — Part IIIWatch the Video

White - Object Prime — Part I

These 3 videos are a continuation of White – Basic Prime. These procedures and videos explain how to apply and adjust the primer and highlight settings for individual workspace objects.

In Part I - Highlight to an Individual Object - learn to create a highlight that can be applied to individual objects.

White - Object Prime — Part IWatch the Video

White - Object Prime — Part II

In this tutorial - Applying a Primer to a Gradient Fill - you will create a tint primer which will match the tint of the applied object.

White - Object Prime — Part IIWatch the Video

White - Object Prime — Part III

Part III - Applying a Solid Primer to an Individual Object - shows you how to create a solid primer to workspace objects

White - Object Prime — Part IIIWatch the Video

Automatic registration marks

Demonstrates placement of multiple registration marks, job is output using Cut By Color.

Automatic registration marksWatch the Video

Badges and serialization

Example of serializing a design that has embedded text objects

Badges and serializationoWatch the Video

Block nesting

Nesting objects to reduce material usage.

Block nestingWatch the Video

Chrome Effect

Includes examples that demonstrate: shadows, inlines, chisel effects, two-color graduations, and clip art importing.

Chrome EffectWatch the Video

Contour cut ON-OFF

Example that cuts U.S. flag shape and "USA" text. Objects are center-aligned and then text converted to contour cut objects.

Contour cut ON-OFFWatch the Video

Contour cut

Discusses cutting outer contour, inner contour, and increased offset to create border. Also mentions contour cut lines for bitmap images.

Contour cutWatch the Video

Arrange text to graphics

Quick example of converting text into a shape that can be node edited.

Arrange text to graphicsWatch the Video

Fitting text to a sign blank

Demonstrates creation of text that is automatically resized to fit within bounds of sign blank.

Fitting text to a sign blankWatch the Video

Flood priming the printed media

Setting a global primer for the entire media.

Flood priming the printed mediaWatch the Video

Gradient fills

Demonstrates technique for creating process color fills on various shapes

Gradient fillsWatch the Video

Image menu color adjustments

Examples of the color adjustment tools that can be used to clean up bitmap colors and improve the distribution of hues

videoWatch the Video

Installing a plotter driver

Choosing the driver to install, followed by configuring driver settings within SignLab.

videoWatch the Video

Instant Replay

Discussion about editing operations that had been previously applied to shape. Also demonstrates how to apply operations between shapes.

videoWatch the Video

Manufacturer Palette

Explains the different palettes that are included with SignLab install, such as ColorGuides, Engrave, Fantastic, Foils, PANTONE®, and Vinyls. Please note that the available palettes vary according to the type of Signlab package that has been purchased.

videoWatch the Video

Nesting

Describes several examples of nesting shapes to reduce usage of materials.

Related Video Links: Block Nesting

videoWatch the Video

Plotter defaults

Specific to outputting to the cut preview state by going cut and plot. There is no relation between this method and using print and cut.

videoWatch the Video

Plug-ins

Example of modifying company logo by adding water drops, bevelled appearance, and a soft shadow.

videoWatch the Video

Power weed

Discusses the value of adding several weed lines to help improve ease of working with either letters or graphics.

videoWatch the Video

Process color swatches

Demonstrates how to create color swatches for process color printing (i.e., CMYK).

videoWatch the Video

Render to bitmap

Discusses how to create bitmap that can be applied with a plugin. Bitmap can also be used for sending to customer by e-mail, or for displaying on a web site.

videoWatch the Video

Scaling digital photos

Demonstrates techniques that scale photo of store front, which is then used as basis for creating customer proof.

videoWatch the Video</p  

Setting the sign blank size

Shows how to adjust the sign blank that is used as a visual guide of the design borders. Discusses the origin, orientation, media size, and workspace color of the sign blank. Media size can be selected from preset sizes, or custom blank sizes can be set.

videoWatch the Video</p  

Setting transparent image color

In AccuScan, demonstrates the use of [Ctrl] to indicate a transparent color within an image.

videoWatch the Video

Shadows

Examples for each type of shadow effect. Also shows Relief Shadow effect

videoWatch the Video

Shop palette swatches

Shows how to create swatches for the current Shop Palette colors.

videoWatch the Video

Spell checking

Demonstrates how to spell check all text on workspace.

videoWatch the Video

Text entry

Demonstrates techniques for defining the boundary for text shapes.

videoWatch the Video

Tiling

Overview of Tiling dialog with preview of results. Also shows interactive setting of tiling lines and enabling/disabling of specific tiles.

videoWatch the Video

Tool options

Discusses how to adjust cutter and plotter settings. These settings apply for cut-only jobs that are output using the Cut menu >> Plot command.

videoWatch the Video

Tracing with PrismScan

Techniques used to simplify color components of an image prior to tracing. Includes posterizing the image to minimize the number of cut shapes, merging common image colors, and node editing techniques to clean up the resulting tracing.

videoWatch the Video

Weed border

Demonstrates the creation of a rectangular weeding line around shapes.

videoWatch the Video

Welding script letters

Demonstrates how to kern script lettering and then weld those letters into contiguous shapes.

videoWatch the Video

SignLab and Photoshop Tutorial

This tutorial illustrates how to use Photoshop together with SignLab to aid in sign making.

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