Walkthrough Tutorial: Pen Tool
The Easel Pen Tool allows you to draw lines and custom shapes in Easel to carve with your machine. You can also use this tool to edit points on imported SVG and image trace files, too.
To draw a shape, select the pen tool from the Easel tool menu. Use your mouse to draw your desired shape, and click every time you want to drop a point. To close a shape, click on the point you want to close.
You can close a shape at the first point you placed, or any other points on your shape. Clicking on any point while in the drawing mode will close your shape at that point.
You don’t always need to make a closed shape, either. You can finalize a shape at any point by double-clicking on the most recently placed point in your shape. This will finalize the shape so you can then select it and start editing the individual points.
When drawing your shape, you will see red guidelines appear between points. These guidelines help ensure you’re making straight lines between points. If you click to place a point when the red line is present, your line between those two points is straight. You will notice your point “snapping” to align with the closest point to help you understand when you are drawing a straight line between two points.
These red guidelines only appear between two points on your selected shape. If you have other shapes drawn in Easel, the points you’re creating or editing will not establish guidelines with points on these other shapes. Additionally, guidelines will not snap to the dotted line indicating the edge of your material’s work area.
Unfortunately, you are not able to set a determined length of your lines at this point. You can use the guidelines in Easel to help make sure your lines are a certain length, but you cannot input a set length for your line.
You can always adjust the length or height of your shape from the “shape” edit menu. Keep in mind this only adjusts the overall length and width of your entire shape and may not always alter your design the way you intend.
Once you’ve established your shape, you can continue editing it by using the new Edit Points menu. (Please note that you cannot edit Text points). You can access this menu by selecting your shape and pressing “E” on your keyboard, double-clicking a shape, or clicking on the “Edit Points” menu that appears underneath the Cut/Shape toolkit. There are multiple ways you can edit your shape once you’ve finished drawing it.
You can move the point to a new location by clicking and holding a point. Drag the point to a new location and release your click to leave the point in its new place.
When you have a point selected, you can choose whether you want the two lines coming off the point to be straight or curved. You can alter between curved and straight points in the Edit Points menu.
If you’ve selected a point to be curved, you will see two anchors appear off the point. You can click-and-drag these anchors to adjust the angle of your curve. If you hold [shift] while click-dragging an anchor handle, you can adjust both handles at the same time.
At this point in time, you are unable to add points to an existing shape. However, you can delete points. If you need to delete a point, select the point and press the [delete] key on your keyboard.
Make a mistake? Use Ctrl + Z (Windows) or Command + Z (Mac) on your keyboard to undo your most recent change in Easel. You can also press Shift + Ctrl + Z (Windows) or Shift + Command + Z (Mac) to redo a step in Easel.
You can make your shapes both outlines or filled shapes. Once you’ve drawn your shape, use the Cut menu to make your shape either an outline or filled shape.
Editing points isn’t just for shapes you draw with the pen tool. You can also edit points on imported SVG files or image trace files, too!
To see all the recognized points on an object in Easel, double-click the item and the points will appear. You can edit any of the points that show up on an image. Keep in mind that you cannot add new points to an existing shape, but you can delete or edit points using the techniques listed above.
You can also edit points after making other actions with your shape. For instance, if you combine two shapes, you can still edit the points of the new combined shape.
To combine two shapes, hold Shift on your keyboard while selecting multiple shapes. Select “Combine” from the Edit menu, and the two shapes will become one. (The depth defaults to the deepest depth of the two shapes.) Once combined, double-click the shape to make the points appear for the new shape. You can now edit these points.
It is possible to combine two curved shapes, but it is not easy to edit the points after the shape is combined (see below for what happens with the points when you combine two curved shapes). We are hoping to get this problem with the points resolved soon, but in the meantime, you can still use the "combine" feature to combine shapes with curved elements.
We hope you enjoy using this new feature in Easel! If you have any questions or concerns about how to use this new tool, contact our Customer Success team. Happy designing!
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