Once again we have a great update that was likely driven by competition! This update is just for Windows, but CE says that they will have an update for Macs soon. This update added the ability to pause while cutting, two new sets of shapes to the shapes library, and several vector creating and editing options. I’m going to talk about the vector creating and editing options here. A new Path section was added to the menu bar.
- Convert Text to Outlines. This converts text from a font to a Path. Once the text is converted it can still be ungrouped and individual letters rotated or moved, but Tracking and Vertical offset can no longer be used. This option is mostly for editing the shape of the font characters.
- Union. Permanently joins two or more shapes or objects together. This will remove any nodes or cut-lines that are inside the filled area (as seen with View/Show Outlines turned off). It also works for fonts without converting them first.
- Intersection. Results in only the area where the objects overlap. You can use this on exactly two objects.
- Exclude. Opposite of Intersection. Any areas where the objects overlap are removed. You can only use this on exactly two Paths. This allows you to create frames and weld other objects to the inside of them or create intertwined rings like the Olympic circles or joined wedding rings.
- Front Minus Back. This a good way to remove part of an object. You need exactly two paths for this. Think of the back object as a mask or cookie cutter. The area where the upper and lower objects overlap is removed from the front object, and the bottom object disappears. In my examples the blue square is in front of the red circle.
- Back Minus Front. This is just like Path/Difference in Inkscape. The area where the upper and lower objects overlap is removed from the bottom object, and the top object disappears. In my examples the blue square is in front of the red circle.
The other two vector tools are in the toolbar. They are the Node editor and the Drawing tool.
The Node editor lets you move nodes either one at a time by clicking on them, or selecting several by either holding down the shift key while clicking or drawing a box around the nodes. Either way they can be moved by clicking and dragging the selected nodes to the desired location. The nodes are the squares and the handles are circles. The nodes turn blue when selected, and the surrounding handles become visible and can be moved to adjust the curve. At this point I didn’t see a way to turn a straight line into a curve since they didn’t have visible handles and the lines themselves can’t be changed directly.
The Drawing tool lets you create freehand shapes much like the Bezier tool in Inkscape (or the Pen tool in Illustrator). You can create a straight line that will cut a single time, but when I tried a curved line it still cut with an extra straight line between the endpoints two out of five times. Simply press enter to end the drawing as an open line.
You can also add or delete nodes from existing shapes with this tool. Simply click on nodes with this tool to delete the nodes. Hover the tool over the line where you want to add a node and click when the plus sign next to the cursor turn bold.