Design Newbie

My design experience is limited to what I’ve done on my Silhouette Cameo. I’m fairly proficient with the software that came with it - It appears to be similar in style to many of the others, such as Inkscape or AI. But since I’m already familiar with the Silhouette, I may stick with it for the time being.
My question (finally) is how do I differentiate between rastor and vector lines? I’m thinking it would be by color? But not positive about, say, different depths of engraving, or shading, etc.


Yes…Each color that you use for parts of the design allows you to set a different operation, so for lines that you want to Score (which is the equivalent of an engrave on a vector line) you can set those as blue, and the lines that you want to Cut you can set those as black or red.

The shading you can set once you tell the machine that you want to engrave that particular color. It gives you options for dark engraving, medium engraving or light engrave. (Or you can override the settings and set your own values.)


Thanks, Jules, for such a quick response. So to clarify further, if I have a design ready to go, once my GF arrives, I simply upload the file and the UI will then prompt me for the various values?


It will split it out by color and give a suggested option for it (either Engrave or Cut) and you can click on a little drop down arrow and tell it exactly what you want it to do for that color of lines.

Make sure you have the files you plan to upload converted to SVG format though - I’m pretty sure the Studio software doesn’t export SVG format anymore (one version did long ago), so you’ll have to find a conversion method for it if you want to keep designing in Studio.

Inkscape isn’t bad if you want to try a free option for SVG design.

(Someone once mentioned a conversion program for the Studio files early last year I think, but I can’t find it now. Maybe they’ll jump back in.)


Okay - I think I’ve got it. Just anxious to get some things ready but afraid of doing so much work and then it not being right once the time comes.

And I usually use Bullzip to convert to PDF or JPEG, and then upload to

Thanks again for your help!


Unless you have upgraded you Silhouette Studio software, the default package does not export to SVG, as such you will not be able to load standard Silhouette files into the GF interface. There is an upgrade option to the Silhouette Studio software that will allow you do do this. Silhouette Studio (basic version) will read SVG files, it just will not export to that format :disappointed:

Personally, I did not upgrade my Silhouette Studio software, instead I’m just going to use AI (which I already own) for my GF designs. Or you can do something like is described here.


We must have been typing at the same time. I’ve got the conversion handled. Thanks, though!


I had not seen before. It seems to do a fair autotrace. The test I did had plenty of artifacts that I would clean up in AI before using: i.e. the letter “O” was rounded on the top, but had sharp corners at the bottom, and of course it bakes everything down to black and white.

I would suggest going ahead and trying the tutorial that @Just-Maken-It posted. There are a few steps, but if you get through it a few times, you will have a pretty good foundation for moving forward with designing directly in Inkscape, giving you much more control of your final output, for when the auto-trace doesn’t quite cut it.


You also might be able to use PDF export as a path - although I’m not familiar with the software, and don’t know for sure.

Thanks, everyone, for your advice! I got tired of searching for workarounds, so I surrendered to Inkscape. Gotta say, I do love it! I even learned to make my own flourishes last night!

But one more thing, I’ve heard different opinions on stroke width. What are the recommendations for cut lines? And on engraving lines, will a thicker stroke result in a thicker engrave?

1 Like

For Cuts the stroke width does not matter.

For Engraving, a thicker stroke will result in a thicker engrave, with conditions.

In order to make sure that a path with a thicker associated stroke engraves at the thickness that you want it to, you will want to use the Path > Convert Object to Path, followed by Path > Convert Stroke to Path in Inkscape.

Particularly if it is a curved or open path. Not doing so is going to net you some weird results as the program tries to fill in the open paths when it engraves.


On a cut, the stroke absolutely DOES matter, if you care about the final dimensions of your project.

The laser will cut in the center of the stroke. But Inkscape will report your dimensions from the outside of the stroke.

So, if you want to have the results of your cut match the dimensions you planned for, then you want to use 0.001mm stroke width (thinnest possible in Inkscape).

This makes it impossible to see your design unless you zoom way in, so change your view mode to “outline.” This unfortunately means you cannot see the color of your strokes, nor where you have things filled in. So waiting to reduce stroke size until you are ready to cut can work (but whenever you size something, make sure to disable stroke, or to return it to hairline before the resize)