“Silhouette” refers to the brand name of several different models of machine. Most often when you hear the word “Silhouette” the person is referring to the Cameo, which is a digital cutter. The current model is the Cameo 3. It can cut materials up to 12″ wide and 10 feet long. A smaller version of the cutter is the Portrait, which has the ability to cut up to 8″ wide and up to 10 feet long. Silhouette makes two other machines – the Curio and the Mint. The Curio stipples, etches, debosses, and embosses, in addition to cutting. The Silhouette Mint is a custom stamp maker that utilizes thermal printing technology. Once inked, it can be used more than 50 times before re-inking.
An electronic cutter works similarly to a home printer. Rather than printing, however, it uses a small blade to cut paper, cardstock, vinyl, etc.
The Silhouette Cameo, Portrait, or Curio can cut over 100 different types of materials including:
- specialty patterned papers
- iron-on heat transfer material
- sticker paper
- wax paper/freezer paper
- and a variety of other specialty materials
The Cameo 1 has a monochrome LCD display, push-button controls, and accepts an SD card.
The Cameo 2 features a full-color LCD touchscreen and accepts a USB flash drive.
The Cameo 3 features a full-color LCD touchscreen and a dual-blade carriage. When the cover is closed, all controls are hidden.
Before using the PixScan mat for the first time, you must create a calibration profile for your specific camera. Once you’ve done this, the profile is stored for all future images taken with the same camera. Multiple calibration profiles can be stored in the Silhouette Studio software. Calibration is not required if using a scanner to import images.
All screenshots are from Silhouette Studio, version 4.1
To calibrate your camera:
- Click on the PixScan icon on the right of your screen to open the PixScan Panel.
- Click on “Show Calibration Test Card”. An image will appear on the screen that is a white page with rows of small black dots. Print the calibration test card.
- Take a photo of the test card using your phone or camera. Pay attention to the following:
- Place the printed image on a flat surface.
- Hold the camera parallel and in line with the calibration image.
- Do not zoom in when taking the photo.
- Lighting should be even.
- The photo should be clear and crisp with only the calibration dots visible.
- Download the photo from your camera to your computer.
- Click on the “+” sign at the bottom right of the PixScan Panel and navigate to where you downloaded your calibration photo. Open the photo in Silhouette Studio.
Your camera or phone should now be listed in the profiles available and you are ready to use your PixScan mat.