Scan N Cut Saturday – Bold Text Not Welding Myth (Kinda) Busted!

Seen a lot of talk lately that folk are not being able to weld text that has the bold option enabled. After some fiddling, fact-checking and solution creating I am pleased to say that I have been able to bust this myth, kinda.

The truth? It’s not true but it is also true. Who knew truth and fact could exist in the one statement!

How did I get to this conclusion?

The quick answer is that it has nothing to do with the font weight, it is in fact to do with the type of font but it does happen when bold is selected, it also happens when any other weight is selected too!

Already confused? I was.

Let me explain.

Oh, and by the way, for clarity, I am talking about the use of Canvas Workspace for PC (or Mac) – e.g. the installed version. This doesn’t apply to the Scan N Cut machine, Canvas Workspace for Web or Canvas Workspace for Mobile as you can’t use True Type fonts in any of those.

Right, back to the sleuthing.

After testing the Canvas Workspace fonts and finding no issues with the bold options in those I moved on to test true type fonts by loading up a bunch of the same words and then changing each to a range of different true type font styles and weights and then running the Process Overlap>Weld function on each.

The result?

Standard true type fonts welded just fine. There was however a common factor in all of the ones that threw up this error message.

That factor is that they were all a new type of true type font called a variable font.

Having said this, I did note that the Process Overlap>Weld function DID work on some words and phrases with variable fonts but not all – GAH! – what gives?!

Well, to understand that, let’s take a look at the font and then that error message again.

First, the font.

Variable fonts are a relatively new format that contains a whole bunch of type weights – e.g. light, condensed, semi-bold, bold, etc – all in the one font file, rather than having to have a separate file for each weight, which has been the case for yonks.

Why does this matter?

Well, in the “normal” true type font format each glyph – letter or number – is a self contained outline. When used with the weld function in Canvas Workspace this presents no problem as it works like any other shape.

In variable fonts however characters are made up of multiple outlines that can be moved and manipulated to give all of the different font weight styles.

When viewed on screen or printed on paper, it is unlikely you would notice any difference. If, however, you remove the fill in a vector editing program such as Canvas Workspace, you will immediately see the difference.

Ok, ok, ok, but WHY is this a problem for the software when using the weld function?!

Let’s take a look at that error message again.

Ok, it is telling us that open paths or self-intersecting paths are the issue so, I loaded up an entire alphabet in upper and lower case, zoomed in to 1000% and started taking a look to see if I could see any of those and … a-ha! I found a couple of corkers!

The lower case e is a good example of a self-intersecting path – you can clearly see how the arm stretches over the path already created by it’s own curve.

In the case of the capital N it is less obvious but you should be able to make out that there are a couple of the internal angles where the path overlaps itself.

UPDATE – Further exploration of this issue has shown that this error message can also be thrown up when using standard .TTF and expanded .OTF fonts too. Why? Again it comes down to the outline of individual characters. END UPDATE

Here is a clear example of how some characters within the bold version of a font can throw up this error and how the regular version wouldn’t.

[ Top = Regular / Bottom = Bold : Self-Intersecting paths circled in red.]

Is this an error in the font? I can’t really say as this is down to if this was planned by the designer.

These are however the challenges outlined in the error code and these are the reasons that Canvas Workspace cannot weld this text. Not because it is bold; because of individual characters within the font or font variations.

Now, is there a hack to workaround this?

Yes, but you’d better really want to use the font that you have chosen.

Why? Because you are going to have to first Convert to Shapes and then you are going to need to use the path editing tools to adjust every instance of this open path/self-intersecting path issue in your word or phrase – manually – every time you create a new word or phrase.

How can you know if you are using a variable font, or if this issue exists, so you can avoid this issue?

In other vector programmes variable fonts are often clearly categorized or identified however they are not in Canvas Workspace at the time of writing this post. Also, as this issue can apply to all font types, there is no sure fire way to identify ‘problem fonts’.

The only way that I have found that you can identify the issue after being presented with the error code is to remove the fill colour and if you see multiple shapes making up a single character or if there are self-intersecting paths.

Now, this post was a bit wordy and you might still not understand. I have therefore put together a companion video to this post that will show you what I have just been on about. Whilst it does specifically refer to variable fonts, the same can be applied to other fonts where this error code arises.

So, if you have nothing better to do, why not have a watch.


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8 thoughts on “Scan N Cut Saturday – Bold Text Not Welding Myth (Kinda) Busted!

  1. You´re really a hero for all work you do to find the answers to errors! Thank´s for all this and your wonderful cuttingfiles/dies.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for this investigation and explanation! I already discovered the self-intersecting paths in some characters, especially in “handlettered-style” fonts! But never would I have guessed it was these variable fonts that were responsible.
    I often make my own sentiments (instead of using stamps) to print and cut in different sizes. In that case i think it’s worth the effort to “repair” the characters to make welding possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. On the moment I hardly do anything with my S & C so I didn’t know about the error.
    But there will be a time I will do more with my S & C and so it’s good to know this.
    Great video John,as always fabulous explanations. Thank you so much, stay safe and have a wonderful evening.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Watched this demo and it is very informative and clearly explains the reasons. It also includes a possible solution if you have the patients. Thanks John, love your myth busting xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You never cease to amaze me. You pull everything apart to help us learn something new. You’re so talented and this has really helped me understand the errors I kept getting. Thank you for your patience and your explanations.
    The group is a great idea, I’ve applied to join.

    Liked by 1 person

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