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Friday, October 15, 2010

Alpha Cutter Action and Tutorial

I wrote up an action that will cut up a sheet of letters into individual files.  However, I couldn't figure out how to automate the naming of the files without providing an options file and a mini-tutorial.  So, to use the action to its fullest potential, you need to follow this tutorial.


6 x 6 Grid Template
Alpha Cutter Action and Output Settings Preset

1. The letters for the alpha need to be put on a grid.  The cutter uses will evenly divide any canvas into 6 columns and 6 rows.  This allows for 26 letters and 10 numbers.  If you do not have a grid that you can follow, you can use my Grid Template.  Open up the template or your own canvas in Photoshop.

2.  Select a nice font.  With the text tool, write out your letters and numbers as vectors. Try to position each letter in the middle of a grid square.

 3.  Turn off the layer containing the Grid Template by clicking the eye symbol on the layer palette.

4.  Apply any styles or perform any actions needed to create the look of the alpha.

5.  Install the action if you haven't done so already.  Place the "alpha-cutter.iros" file  some place where you can easily find it.  Mine is in My Documents > Adobe > Presets > Output Settings.

6.  Create the following directory My Documents > Adobe > alpha.

7.  Play the action.

8.  When you reach the pop-up box, read the instructions and press 'Continue'.

9.  You may get a Save for Web warning message if you are using my template as the image is very large.  Click 'Yes' if you get this warning.

10.  Click the Optimize Settings button.

11.  Select 'Edit Output Setting's from the menu that appears.

12.  In the Output Settings dialog, click 'Load'.

13.  Find the 'alpha-cutter.iros' file and load it.  You should only have to perform steps 10-13 the first time you run the action.  You will have to perform steps 10-13 again if you change the settings in the future.

14.  Click 'Save'.

15.  If you created the alpha directory, then the dialog will open in that directory.  If not, then it will open in your last used directory.  You can, if you wish, change to a different folder or make a folder for the alpha.  The default name that appears in the dialog is the name of the file.  So, if you used my Grid Template, then it will be HGG_gridtemplate.

16.  Change the default name to something else.

17.  Click 'Save' and the files will be saved.

When you go to the folder, you can see the individual files.  They will be numbered from 1 - 36.


  1. Hi Spencer :)

    ummm thanks for yet another great ALPHA tut/sction... is there any way possible to print out your tutorials MINUS the blue background, as it sure uses up a lOT of ink, and because I cannot see the small text, I need to big it up, print it out and then try the tutorial you share... any help would be greatly appreciated ...pdq...

  2. Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies, under the Page 3 post on Oct. 15, 2010. Thanks again.

  3. Will you have something similar for PSP????? I use version 8 and would love to have something like this!

  4. To pdq,

    The blue is a background color and should not show up in printing. When I print the blog pages, none of the blue background show up except for the header, which is usually on its own page, so skipping page 1 would eliminate all blue.

  5. Sheila, I wrote up how I cut up alphas for PSP 2 years ago. Please look at my Quick Alpha Tutorial.

  6. Oops, I have it listed on my side bar as Graphic Alphabet.

  7. A big thank you for the most useful tutorial and action.
    I just love it. Because of this tutorial my work with alpha is fun and interesting to do.
    You are the best.
    Greetings from Sweden