Learning As We Go

All was going well and everything was printing smoothly for awhile, until… that dreaded doodle that just refused to recognize the cutline! There were many days spent trying to figure out the heck is wrong with it, we took the objects apart and put it back together to see what it contained (over and over again). We even called a buddy to help and still no answer. Of course, there are technological limitations with everything.  It is up to me to make sure it can be figured out. As we figure it out over time, we can learn to be more effecient and problem solve/avoid problems better in the future. We can also let the Doodle Squad know about what we have discovered for future submissions so that they are aware. The next paragraph will be Print/Graphic design tech speak so I apologize if you do not understand or are not familiar.

So… the whole file was a vector in Illustrator. Our machine cannot detect the cut lines in the art board if there is an object with a less than 100% transparency. That was the problem with the original doodle that didn’t work but thankfully we figured it out pretty easily as the doodle was very simple and easy to deal with. The figuring out why the machine couldn’t handle it was the hard part but we were super excited to overcome this (PHEW!). So a second doodle decided not to work (didn’t recognize the cutline… again!) and we could not find this object, maybe it had a different cause? Since this was an illustration, there are basically a bajillion objects in there. So what do we do? I call it the “take apart till your eyes bleed” method. Basically, we go into each layer and expand it so we can see what objects are in it. From there, it was much easier to select each object one by one and looked at the transparency info individually. Of course after many tries, the doodle had one teeny tiny object that we completely missed! And lo and behold we have succeeded and it turned out it had the same cause after all.

At the end of the day, we can only do so much with technology but we definitely do not want to limit our doodles based on what’s easiest to print. So to save time the next time, I found out the easiest way to combat most cutline problems was to put the vector into Photoshop and convert it into a JPG. Then I would use the original vector to make the cutline and the cutline only. I then place the JPG into Illustrator and line up the cutline with the Illustration. Viola! Why I didn’t think of this sooner, I have no idea but it works like a charm.

I hope by writing this, it will show you we are not ashamed of our troubles and challenges as we can admit we are not perfect. We can make Doodlers aware for future submissions so the process can go by more smoother for us and the Doodlers. By doing so, we can explain our solutions and hopefully help other people out in the process as well!

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