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Has anyone tried to use Affinity Designer with Rolands Cut Studio?  I am looking to get into the Vinyl Sign business and I am looking for an alternative to Adobe Illustrator or Corel.  I will only use a Mac and I believe that Affinity Designer is exactly what I need but I am curious to see if anyone has used it with Cut Studio and if the file formats are compatible.

 

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.  

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I was hoping that someone with real world experience might have come along, but I didn't want you to think you were being ignored in the meantime! :) I've taken a look at the specs of Cut Studio and it does say that it's compatible with EPS files, so in theory as long as you export to EPS (which, at present, is much better in the beta version of Affinity Designer than in the official release version) then you should get good, predictable results. Let us know how you get on with it :)

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I have downloaded the beta version of AD and was thinking of taking a file to my local Technical College to try it out.  I will keep you posted.  But in the mean time, If someone can try this out that has experience, It would be great.  I'm hoping that someday someone can come along and create a plug-in but in the meantime, I can always create a macro or script in automator that can help me quickly export a file from AD and import it into Cut Studio.  

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It is with GREAT sadness that I have to inform you that I am unable to use Affinity Designer with Roland Cut Studio for Vinyl Printing.  I exported a file to EPS and the Roland Cut Studio says that it is an unsupported format even though they clearly state on their website that they support the EPS file format.  This is depressing because I absolutely LOVE Affinity Designer and would be more then happy to use it in my business.  Without the ability to export and import into Cut Studio, I am left with an empty feeling and a unfortunately may have to look at Adobe Illustrator as my vector software choice.  This is not something that I am happy about.  The EPS file that is created in Affinity Designer seems to open ok using other vector software like inkscape and Ai, from there I can use their plugins to export to Cut Studio.  Layers are not preserved in these other vector programs so I'm not sure if that has something to do with it or not.  

 

Any advice?

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I tried that as well.  I have also tried to open up the EPS file in another program called SignCut.  It's a free trial.  The program crashes when loading the EPS file.

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I think that I have found the issue.  The issue happens with graphics.  Even though I install .svg or .eps graphics in my working area, Affinity designer can not export them. Even though there is a check box to enable or disable "Rasterize unsupported effects", this option does not work.  The solution is to double click on the vector image, convert to curves, copy the curves, delete the graphic from the work area, and past the image curves back to the work area.   This is clearly not a productive way to my work flow.  Obviously there is work that is being done to the export features and hopefully a solution can be found.  I am hoping that AD becomes such a major competitor to Ai and Corel and companies start making plug-ins to help with the workflow of sending graphics to cutters.

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I'm not sure what you mean by embedded documents unless you are referring to embedded graphics then the answer is yes.  As an example, I have a document with 4 layers (two different vinyl colors), A black layer, a red layer, a text layer and a graphic layer.  It is this graphic layer where I am having the issue.  It is my hope that I can someday click on the export persona and select multiple layers and export only those layers to the vinyl cutter software. Right now, it appears that you can only export one layer at a time and not multiple layers.  So what I am doing is staying in the draw persona and turning on only those layers that have the same color and exporting them as a eps file.  Then after I save that file, I deselect those layers and reselect the other layers with a different color.  Sometimes a project will only have two vinyl colors to export(black and red) but other projects may have more colors in the vinyl sign production.  This is also where I am hoping that a plug-in could be created to eliminate the entire export process.  It would be nice to click on the export persona and select the layers with the common colors and then simply click on a send to button and have those layers sent to the CutStudio software or any other vinyl cutting software that a person might have.  

 

The embedded graphic layer(clip art) is the one that is giving me the headache unless I take the steps that I outlined above and convert the vector image into curves.

 

It is almost as if AD was designed for the sign industry!  It is so close but falls just a little short in the export capabilities at the moment.  It is truly an amazing program guys!  Keep up the awesome work that you do!

 

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Ah, do you mean that you have embedded documents? If so, I'm sure we can sort that out without too much trouble pretty quickly  :)

 

OK, I played around with this again on the Beta version and you are correct.  When importing a  .svg graphic into ADBeta, it does show up as an Embedded Document.  Is this something that you feel can be fixed so it shows up when exported into an .eps file?  This is the only way that I can get the AD design into my sign printing software(Roland CutStudio or SignCut Pro).  Embedded Documents export fine when I use Adobe Illustrator.  Problem is that I don't want to use Ai any longer.  AD is almost perfect for what I want it to do.

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Well,  after fighting with Affinity Designer and trying to export a document as EPS and then importing that file into my cutting software for my vinyl cutter, it is pretty clear that there are some MAJOR incompatibility issues.  It is missing Text to curve, printing registration marks, converting raster to vector and expanding embedded objects (svg and eps).  These are all very basic features that a program needs in order to be used for any type of serious work.

 

Unfortunately, until Serif can design their software to have better industry standard exporting capabilities and the inclusion of the items I listed above, I am forced to go back to Adobe Illustrator.  Affinity Designer will become a novelty program on my computer and is not ready to replace Ai anytime soon.  I'm still happy that I bought their program and I hope that they can keep up the good work.

 

Sorry Serif.  I'll check back from time to time and see how your progressing. I want you to succeed in the very worst way and can't wait until I can delete Ai off my system.

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I'm sorry this isn't working for you.

 

What do you mean by "Text to curve"? We can convert text to curve shapes. If you mean text running along a path, that will be added in the next few weeks.

 

Printing registration marks is indeed something we're sorely missing. Improving our print engine is going to take awhile, alas.

 

Converting raster into vector, in the sense of auto-tracing bitmaps, is hard to do well so that's even further away.

 

Expanding embedded documents is something we could do better at. Meanwhile, you could work around it by using File/Open on the SVG, Select All, Copy, and then paste that into the existing document. This will paste as vector objects and avoid embedded documents entirely.

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Yes, I do mean text to path, sorry about that.  It's very important in graphic design.  I'm glad to see it coming.

 

Printing registration marks is pretty crucial.  However, If file exporting/importing into my cutting software worked better, I could print and use registration marks there.  Unfortunately, colors and layers are not preserved when exporting/importing so it's a struggle at this time because no plug-ins are available.

 

I can use third party software like vector magic or even inkscape to convert raster to vector but again, I'm jumping from one application to another.  Even creating a simple offset path takes many steps. Apparently, it's not so simple to program.

 

Your work around for the embedded documents does work but again requires multiple steps.  Even after following your steps, I still need to resize the object and place it where I want it to go instead of just dragging the object to the size and location that I want it like you can do with the place option.  This is something that could easily be fixed with a single menu command or button.

 

In my line of work, I make a new and different sign about every 5-8 minutes of different sizes, colors and containing different embedded documents(EPS graphics).  The extra steps of copying and pasting the graphics with your work around, file export / import of the documents into my cutting software (no plug-ins), and then having to change the colors of objects in my cutter software for multi-color jobs takes me about an extra 3-4 minutes compared to doing the same things using Ai. I can't afford this lost productivity for my clients.  

 

Believe me when I tell you that I'd rather use your software.  I'll just keep looking for those Betas until then.  I'd gladly pay 10 times what I did for your software had it worked for me.

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Hi

 

We use a Graphtec & a Mimaki vinyl cutters where I work I was wondering if plugins will be added to AD, we have a plugin for Illustrator that runs the Mimaki cutter (can't remember the name of it right now) I was hoping I could use that to run the Mimaki cutter.

 

Adrian

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The plugin will probably have to be made by your cutters developers.  I have been in constant contact with SignCut as well as Graphtec for this but I haven't had much luck with any replies. Affinity Designer is so new that they haven't even heard of it.  Without those plugins, the only other option you have is to export the file yourself and import it into either Graphtec Studio or Mimaki FineCut.  I don't even know if there is an import option for the Mimaki.  It's very frustrating I can tell you that much.  Importing into Graphtec studio works but layers and colors are not imported properly if at all.  I think Serif uses a different EPS postscript file language and there is some sort of incompatibility issue between software programs.   So, even when I do create a project in AD, its not that easy to cut it.  Now I know why people stick with Adobe or Corel as well as Windows.  But, if Serif can get it right, they will OWN the Mac!  They have a lot riding on their success or failure of this product.  I'm hoping they put as much resources into getting it right as they do developing three different programs over the next year.  They need to make sure they address the needs of the masses before they put their developers on another project in some other program (Photo or Publisher).  

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I use signcutter with my US Cutter plotter.

 

I normally import .PS level 3 into it and it works fine.

 

I normally cut clip art that i convert into vector then import into signcutter.

 

Will try to save out a .ps from affinity later this week and give it a go.


#X

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We use Mimaki FineCut as a plugin to Illustrator so there is no file conversion necessary, We just use the AI file. Affinity Photo supports some photoshop plugins and was hoping Affinity Designer could support Illustrator plugins too.

 

For the Graptec cutters we use Flexi Sign, I've not tested any files with this yet.

 

Adrian

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Please keep me posted.  I'm not having the best of luck with SignCut or Graphtec Studio.  I'd like to know if the files import colors properly and if there are any other issues that you find (Especially with text with open letters).  I know that layers aren't preserved so there is no way of using Affinity and importing layers into the cutting software.  Most cutting programs only import a few different file types and until I can find something that works 100% (like a plug-in would), my options are limited.  

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MattP - not sure what kind of cutter you have.  I don't think Cricut allows 3rd party software.  Silhouette does.  They have plugins for AI and CD.  Don't know if it's feasible (would Silhouette work with Serif to come up with a plugin?)  But I think it would be fantastic.  Honestly, Silhouette Studio (Designer Edition) is a pretty powerful vector program, but  still has too many limitations, and importing from another graphics program into SS comes with its own set of problems.

I'm loving Affinity Designer, and would LOVE to be able cut directly from it!

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I don't think that Affinity Designer will ever be able to be used to cut directly from it because many cutters use different language specifications.  I have a Graphtec cutter and it uses its own GPGL(Graphtec Plotter Graphics Language).   Other cutters use HPGL Language (Hewlett Packard Graphics Language).  I don't think that serif needs to worry about that kind of stuff or else they are going to have to include elements such as registration marks, weeding lines, contour cutting, cut by color and cut by layer.  Sound's like they have enough on their plate already.   They just need to be able to allow third party plug-ins to work or make sure that EPS/SVG exports are fully supported with the cutter software.  

 

Most every sign business that I know of uses either Adobe Illustrator or Corel and then they have their own cutting software that works with those files in the form of a plug-in.  The biggest thing is that most cutting software is only supported under Windows.  Yes, there are a few exceptions to that but the main reason is that there really isn't any good vector software for the Mac until now.  Affinity Designer isn't just good, its great! And it has most everything that you need for the vinyl/cnc industries. 

 

With that being said, I'm happy to use either Graphtec's software or something like SignCut Pro on the Mac along with Affinity Designer.  I just don't have the programming skills to make a plug-in and I certainly don't know enough about color pallets and EPS/SVG compatibility rules to figure out why my exports from AD aren't importing with the accuracy that I need.    Until then, All I can do is wait and trust that someone with a higher pay grade then me will figure this out ;-)

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I sent a tweet to Silhouette America asking if they had any plans to add the Affinity file format to the Studio app, I got a reply saying they would pass the info on to their developing team.

So hopefully it might just happen.

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