We are sailing through learning the software, and already on Lesson 7! This lesson will cover all the basics on the Subtract feature in Silhouette Studio Version 4. Silhouette Boot Camp is filled with mini lessons that help us learn the terminology used in the Silhouette Studio software so that we can create and cut any design we can dream up with ease!
In lesson 6 we learned all about the intersect tool in Silhouette Studio. The intersect tool is especially useful when we are working with three or more overlapping shapes. You can read the whole lesson on Using Intersect in Silhouette Studio here!!
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We are finally arriving at the Subtract function on our way through the Modify Panel in Silhouette Studio. Subtract is one of those super functions that you will find yourself using over and over again! Many of the popular projects you see on Pinterest and Facebook like the Mermaid LIFE design use this tool to create the design.
What Does Subtract Do in Silhouette Studio?
The subtract feature allows you to move two shapes one in the front of the other and when both shapes are selected the shape in front will be “subtracted” from what ever overlaps the bottom shape and be removed from the screen completely. This will leave behind the bottom shape missing the part of the design that was covered by the top shape.
Silhouette defines Subtract as:
This option will remove all overlapping parts of images that are in front of other images, so that only the image located in back will remain with the overlapping parts removed.
Where do I Find the Subtract Feature in Silhouette Studio?
You can find the Subtract Feature in the modify panel, accessed in two main places:
- In the right menu bar of Silhouette Studio, click the button to open the modify panel. Then choose Subtract in the menu.
- From the pull downs at the very top of the screen in Silhouette Studio: Object –> Modify –> Subtract
How do Use Subtract in Silhouette Studio?
- Open up up two or more shapes.
- Move the shapes so that they overlap in one or more places.
- Move the shape that you want to be removed to the front. IMPORTANT: Only move the shape you want to remove forward, do not move all shapes forward.
- Select all overlapping designs by clicking one, then holding shift and clicking the other(s), or by using the select tool to draw a box around all of them. (you will know they are selected if they have a light box around the shape)
- Open the Modify window in the right tool bar and then click Subtract in the menu options.
Note: To change which shape is on bottom or top you can right click the shape and the bottom of the menu will allow you to:
- Send to back
- Send backward
- Bring to front
- Bring forward
You can use these as needed to move your shape behind or in front of other shapes on the page to create the desired effect.
Example of Subtract:
Some examples of using the Subtract function in the Modify Panel are:
- Creating popular LIFE designs like Mermaid Life where the scales are removed from the text.
- Removing a design to cut inside of a larger shape, like a heart cut out of a state, or an anchor cut out of a circle.
- Create a Pattern with your vinyl- fish scales. This cute design would be fun at the end and beginning of a banner.
- Create a single layer depth on projects with multiple colors. This makes it easier to use different colors of vinyl without having multiple layers. Especially when using glitter vinyl, you can’t layer glitter vinyl.
I hope this lesson was useful! Now it is time to open up Silhouette Studio and try it out. Please make sure to leave me a comment if you have any additional great uses for the Subtract tool or if you have any more questions!
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