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5 Simple Canvas Skills you need to practice

In this article I will be talking you through 5 simple skills which are essential to using Brother Canvas Workspace and making it as enjoyable as possible. For the purpose of this blog piece, I will be referencing the desktop downloaded version of Brother Canvas Workspace. The most recent update can be downloaded here.

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Skills 1: Adding shapes to your Canvas mat

When you first start with Canvas, the easiest thing to get used to is using your basic shapes. You will find all of these on the left hand side menu bar by selecting the second icon from the top. In here you will find squares, rectangles, triangles, circles, polygons and all sorts of fun shapes to play with.

There is also borders and pre-written sentiments that you add available from this section. To place an item on your mat simply click on the item required.

Practice: Resizing the shape
Once you have the shape on your mat, go to Edit and resize it to the required size. This is quicker than manual resizing. You can also resize by percentage by clicking [Resize…]; which is a useful tool when needing to size multiple objects at once.

Skills 2: Writing text

When you want to write text in Canvas Workspace the most important thing to remember is; it can only do a single line at a time. To input text on to your mat you first need to select the text tool; either by pressing [T] or selecting the third icon on the left hand side. You then need to click on your mat to be able to type.

Once you have typed your text, and pressed enter, you can then change and manipulate it. You can change the font and character spacing using the properties menu, on the right hand side of your screen, and can use any font available on your computer.

Practice: Setting Draw Line
It is important to remember that by default your text is brought in as a cut line. Don’t forget to change this if you want it to draw as you can’t change it on your ScanNCut. To do that, change it in the layers palette, or at the top of the screen.

Practice: Curving Text
If you would like your text to be curved or follow a path; as long as you have the most up to date version; you can. To do this you need to add your text as normal; then add the shape or path you want it to follow; select both items and then select fit to path tool in the edit menu on the right hand side panel second icon down.

To change the direction and placement of your text on your chosen path; you can use the tools at the bottom of the Properties menu on the right hand side.

Once you have done this it is important to click convert to curves just under the fit to path tool. This then enables your ScanNCut to see it correctly and will avoid errors.

Skills 3: Calculating shapes

Calculations are how you can draw complex shapes easily without having to draw from scratch using the path tool.

Practice: Welding Text
You can weld shapes whenever you have two or more shapes selected. It does work better when shapes are ungrouped and your shapes do need to be closed. With your two (or more) shapes selected, go to [Edit] and down to Process Overlap and click on the [Weld] button.

Practice: Making Apertures
You can subtract shape(s) from the back-most shape. I find subtracting works best with only two shapes selected at a time, and you put the shape you want to keep at the back. Start by making simple apertures in a basic shape in order to make a frame.

Skills 4: Importing SVG & JPEG files

When you need to bring in a design from outside of Canvas Workspace; this is when you use the import SVG option. This is the fourth icon down on the left hand side. When you click this button it opens a finder window where you can select your file to import.

Sometimes when you import an SVG file into Canvas; the program will fill your shapes with a black fill and hide all of the detail. To correct this simply go to your fill options at the top of your screen with your item selected; bring up your colour palette; and either select no fill or reduce the opacity to 0%.

Skills 5: Retrieving data from your ScanNCut

What do you do when you get your file on to your ScanNCut and you just can’t get it right? Why not send to Canvas to work on it on your computer?

Practice: Using Canvas as a big screen
So how do we do this I hear you ask? The easiest way is to save your design; you can select the one that looks like a cloud if your machine is WIFI enabled. This then enables you to retrieve the file straight onto your computer and work on it there; by going to [File]-[Import from your Cutting Machine]-[FCM]. Once you have done what you wanted, you can then send it back to your machine and cut/draw your design.

If you don’t have a wifi enabled ScanNCut your next best option is to use a USB memory stick. To do this, when you save the project off your ScanNCut; save it to your attached USB and then take your USB to your laptop and import the file into Canvas Workspace using the SVG button. When you have finished your design and are ready to return it to your machine; export the file as a FCM and save it to your memory stick. You can then pull the data back through your saved data and selecting the USB and then selecting your file.

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