Creating a Contour Cut Line?


New Member
Just curious, I am going to purchase a Roland or Epson here in the next month and was wondering about creating contour cut lines.

Is in an easy process with the rip software?

Right now when I sub the work out I have to create a cut line and working in Illy it seems to be a lengthly process, at least for photos.

I stamp the photo(making it all black), Live trace, expand. then I inline my vector, release compound, and select only the inner lines so that the actual cutter has some play.


New Member
well, for the low low price of 795 (i think) flexi designer will do all that in about 3 button presses.

Make Transparent
Contour Cut

the nsave your file as an eps and print out of the bundled rip. cutting can be done through the software for whatever cutter you have, or buy flexi print and cut (i'd suggest signpro) and do it all from 1 software.


Map Wraster
That is really one of the better ways to do it (Illustrator) versus usign Flexi. Flexi is made so that "anyone" can make a sign, seriously, but for detailed/complicated stuff with picky clients (or designers :biggrin:) I always use Illustrator.

Not sure what you mean by "stamp" in your post, I duplicate my obect, then use combinations of the pathfinder tools, & object>expand appearance. As in regular printing, always include bleeds whenever possible.

Make a new color (spot color) name it CutContour & you're good to go most of the time, although sometimes when printing & plottign at the same time with transparency it causes an issue (spots with transparency, we all know they don't mix), and at that point I rasterize the transparent object & apply the contour over that.


New Member
I mean the Stamp effect. I've been cutting layered vinyl for years and now learning how to get a contour around an entire group of objects such as text, graphics and cropped photos is proving difficult.

I only way I have found so far is to apply a "Stamp" effect (Effect>scketch>stamp) with the highest "light/dark" setting to my photo, completely blacking it out, then I live trace & expand to create a vector outline.

Ah, Thank You JFiscus...I didn't object>expand, but I did object>path>offset path to help create the inline for my bleed!


Map Wraster
copy the object(s), select the objects currently there, create outlines, add a stroke to achieve the total area you'd like cut out around, flatten transparency, ungroup, release compound paths, pathfinder (top left icon). Now you should have an object of sorts without holes in the middle. Apply the CutContour stroke to the "fill object" left on the page & remove the fill, now paste your original objects back on top.

Hopefully I wrote the steps in order, will show sample images later if needed.


New Member
When using Adobe Illustrator, you select the fill and the outline. There's a certain "pink" to indicate the outline cut that is selected from the Roland Versaworks Swatches and is used as the outline. The Versaworks software will then show the cut lines as "marching ants" when configuring the cutting options. It's pretty neat! If you don't see the marching ants, you forgot something.
If Flexi does it in 3 clicks, I'll have to look in to the software! Illustrator will do it in about 5 clicks. The graphic designers I contract out to all use Adobe so that's what I use.


New Member
I recently asked this same type question in a different post (I missed this post). For those saying you can do this in Illustrator in a few clicks, are you talking vector only, or are you talking bitmaps too?

I can see how easy it is when all your objects are vectors, but when you have bitmaps, I don't see how some of it works. Could you please expand on the explanation a little, including bitmap and vector graphics in the same file?



All you need to do in Illustrator is create a back layer the shape of the design and make a THICK outline and then weld it all together and make the outline a stroke of .24 and name it CutContour in the color pallet and make that a spot color

On bitmap you can do the same if it's a common shape or if not, you may need to do a pen tool trace and do the outline jazz i mentioned above


New Member
You don't have use the pen tool to trace your bitmap if you follow what I mentioned in the first post. As long as you have a version of Illustrator with "Live Trace". I think it's CS2 and above.

This is how I do it...

1. Make a copy of your bitmap and have it selected
2. Go to Effect>Sketch>Stamp
3. Set the "Light/Dark Balance" and "Smoothness" to the highest values...50 & 50

This will make the copy of your bitmap completely black so now all you have to do is

1. Select it
2. Live Trace
3. Expand

...and you will have you vector!

Johnny Go

New Member
According to the Roland website the CutContour has to be spelled exactly like that with the caps, the color has to be 255 magenta and the thickness has to be 1 point (0.013). It works great with Illustrator eps files but I can't seem to get it to work with Corel eps files that some people send me.

J Hill Designs

New Member
when you export eps from corel, go to advanced and make sure to uncheck "convert spot colors to process" or some such...should keep your cutcontour as spot

Tim Kingston

New Member
I like using Photoshop for this . . .


Although I am certainly no expert, as far as creating paths for bitmaps etc. I prefer using Photoshop, if you have it.

Instead of importing the bitmap data into Illustrator, I usually import the vector data from Illustrator into Photoshop ( as a smart object ). I find you have more options to work with and I like the tools, the pen tool options as an example, better in Photoshop.

Also, you have all the Photoshop selection tools available to select certain parts of your bitmaps. After creating your selection, convert it to a work path and name it ( to keep it saved with the file ) then choose "export paths to Illustrator" this creates an .ai file which can then be stroked with your CutContour spot color and the proper stroke thickness.

I realize this is *** backwards for most but it seems to work for me!