Friday, 23 March 2012

The Magic of ecal

 by Pete Hughes

Just back from Paris where I was demonstrating all things 'Sizzix' at the SMAC trade show. I think I was the only Welshman in France on Saturday as Wales beat the French rugby team in Cardiff to win the Grand Slam....Hurray! I didn't make a fuss but I did have a smug grin for a few days after.

So 'What's this ecal business' I hear you cry. Well, it's the new software package which turns the Sizzix eclips electronic cutter into the most awesome creative craft tool on the planet. using ecal software your eclips can use any true type font on your PC including wingdings and dingbat fonts as well as allowing you to create and cut your own artwork.

Those amongst you who read my blog regularly will know that I am no great fan of technology so for me to fall in love with something like ecal is nothing short of a minor miracle, and at the same time, testament to how easy it is to get to grips with.

This is a project which I created in a little over 15 minutes, Using the keyboard I typed the 3 words needed in different fonts (screen 1), 'Happy' (creampuff font), 'Birthday' (Rustler font) and 'Sophie' (Channel font) then with the click of a button I welded the letters together. In screen 2 I adjusted the size of each word and overlapped them slightly. In screen 3 I selected all of the words and once again, welded them together.

In screen 4 I used one of the basic shapes included in the software, namely and oval to create a border frame. Once you draw the oval it's so easy to change the size and proportions to fit the artwork. In screen 5 I placed the oval around my text, carefully re-sized it and welded them together, again, with the simple click of a button. In screen 6 I added some flowers taken from the basic shapes menu and added them to my Text/frame.

In screen 7  I welded all of the elements together. once I was happy with the artwork I shrank it to fit my base card and clicked on the shadow feature which creates a shadow as a separate artwork (Screen 8) before moving the two elements into position, the screen shows a virtual cutting mat and represents where the shapes will cut on the real cutting mat in your eclips machine.
The first image below shows the paper that I have chosen trimmed to size and loaded onto my mat ready to be cut the second image shows the shapes after they have been cut on the eclips and the waste paper removed. All that is left to do is mount the artwork onto it's shadow and attach it all to the base card before adding a few adhesive gems
It really couldn't be any easier and the software is so simple to use, just by playing around for a while you can get some truly staggering results. The key to ecal is freedom; the freedom to use original bespoke designs, the freedom to use any true type font, but most of all the freedom to create your own little world.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post. It will definitely help me next time I get on my machine. For the life of me I couln't figure out how to weld the letters together. I kept doing unions and grouping. I was making it more complicated that it really is. Thanks again!