Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Trouble with Cricut Design Space and Cartridges

I love the idea of a Cricut machine that is image-based rather than cartridge based - it's where all the other machines are at, and it makes it possible to create images out of pretty much anything. Plus, the precision cutting of the new Cricut Explore is supposed to be phenomenal. I just received the Explore as an early birthday present and cannot really say one way or the other about these new changes - I'm looking forward to finding out more. My main concern as I got started with my new machine was being able to create projects using the Close To My Heart cartridges - I am a consultant, and using these amazing cartridges is one of my favorite parts of the job. So, the very first thing I did once my Explore was set up was to head straight to Design Space and to try to cut out some pieces for an upcoming workshop. And that is where the trouble began.

I needed a specific bow from the Artiste cartridge - I knew exactly what page of the cartridge booklet it was on. However, when I clicked on the Artiste Image Set (or cartridge), this is what came up:


If you have the booklet, you can see that the images are shown in a random order (and this is true for all Image Sets). There is no correlation between the order in the cartridge booklet and the order they appear in Design Space. There is also no way to search an individual cartridge for an image - you must search ALL cartridges you have in your collection as well as all images you have access to within Design Space. So, when doing a search for Artiste Bows, this is what now appears:


267 images, some of which are from Artiste, most of which are not. And scrolling through them all, I still couldn't find that specific bow. When I went back to the Artiste Image Set, I noticed something else - only 519 images appeared to be available (every CTMH cartridge has 750 images). So, I thought perhaps I was doing something wrong and gave Cricut a call.

It turns out that not all the images from all the cartridges have been coded into Design Space. That means that though you have paid for use of all the images, you currently cannot access all the images from your cartridges if you are using Design Space. And Cricut does not know when this will be fixed. 

What does this mean for all of us who have a collection of cartridges we still want to use? First, it has become very difficult to find specific images. Every single machine prior to Explore made it easy to find an image with the use of the booklet and mat set-up. Now, not only is that order lost, but trying to search for an image is difficult because you must search through all image files you have available to you (so, every cartridge you own, plus images you have purchased, and any images that Cricut allows you access to from their library). On top of that, many of the cartridge images aren't even available, and no one knows when they will be.

I am blogging about this for one reason - I want to make sure that anyone who is considering buying an Explore is aware that they will not be able to find images as easily as they can with the older machines, and that not all images are available. If you just want a large library of images you can choose from, then this is not a big deal, and is even a plus - you'll have a lot of choose from. If, however, you are like me and need to access certain images for projects, you're going to struggle. Ultimately, Cricut switched from cartridges to images without providing a bridge for their cartridge-collecting customers.

I'm going to keep using my new machine and will keep an eye out to see if Cricut resolves these issues. In the meantime, think long and hard before spending your money. 

11 comments :

Cathy Arbuckle said...

This has been a major frustration of mine as well. When Cricut sent me a survey about my experience with the Explore, I made sure to mention this as one of my frustrations. Good news though! The Non-Crafty Crafter has taken the time to create PDF copies of the of the Artbooking and Artiste books that include the Design Space codes for easy finding of a specific image. Click here to download them.

Marg Van Patten said...

Excellent commentary. Well stated and very valuable info. I have yet to dive into my Explore to any great extend. I've just been so happy with my Expressions over the years and am in no hurry to enter the learning curve. I'm willing to wait out the glitches!
Thanks for your input.

Morgan Vogt said...

Cathy - thank you for the link! Marg - I'm glad this could help you. I'll keep you posted as the glitches are worked out.

Adeline E. Brill said...

Do check Narelle's blog here for the numbers to easily find the images now..
http://thenon-craftycrafter.blogspot.com/2014/06/cricut-ctmh-artiste-design-space-codes.html

She has both the Artbooking and Artiste booklets done!

Morgan Vogt said...

Adeline - I did check out Narelle's blog and she also has Art Philosophy now! Having those image numbers is a huge help, though I still feel Cricut needs to do some work on their end since not everyone will take the time to do this for all cartridges!

Becca Whitham said...

Morgan, the other thing you might want to check out is the image numbering. I'm guessing Explore counts a multi-layer image as one whereas CTMH probably counts the bottom layer as one image and the top layer as another. That might account for the discrepancy...or at least some of it.

As for finding things, if I put the Explore on "My Images" and then type "bow" in the search engine, all of the bows from cartridges I own pop up. I find that quite easy. When I first got my Explore, finding stuff was a nightmare because they give you so many free images. Once the trial period is over, I'm betting you will find it's much easier to locate what you want.

Morgan Vogt said...

Becca - yes, you're correct, multi-layer images do count as one number; however, there are still images that don't appear (and as I mentioned, Cricut did confirm that not all have been coded). But thank you for pointing that out because that would change the overall total. Also, I found a blog where someone labelled the Cricut booklets with the image numbers, so it makes searching even easier - I'll be posting a link to her website. And you're right - once the trial is over, there will be less images. But I do have a lot of cartridges linked to Design Space, so I'll still have to search through a lot. Plus, I don't always know what to call an image, so I am very grateful for that file with the image numbers.

Becca Whitham said...

Thanks for posting the link for what to call images. That will be exceedingly helpful!! The more I use my Explore, the more I'm loving it, but having a cheat sheet of what to call things will really help. I started writing the names into my booklets for the same purpose. :)

Feiner Art Diner said...

Has this issue been patched, yet? Just purchased an Explore and because of the holiday season, many carts are on sale. Wondering if I should cancel my order.

Morgan Vogt said...

Yes, they've been working pretty hard to fix all of these issues. I wrote a later blog entry about this, but I now think the Explore is worth it - I can't image going back to the older machines!

Unknown said...

I linked my cartridge in design space for my explore air.. but when I go into design space just find my cartridges that is not showing the drop down window the way it says its supposed to