How to Digitize in StitchArtist Lesson 1 of many – opening the graphic, setting the plan and GO!Posted: December 26, 2014
Between Christmas and New Year’s, I thought I would try to make a couple posts on some of the digitizing functions of StitchArtist. I know many people got the program for Christmas or are thinking about getting the program. I’ve been using it for over a year and really enjoy creating my own designs. I thought that creating a series of posts that follow me through a design from start to finish might help give some insight as to how a “non-professional but always learning” digitizer works with the software.
First, let me say that this project will be using StitchArtist Level 1 just to demonstrate that there is quite a bit you can do with this entry level digitizing program! Yes, it runs on both a Mac or Windows computer and pretty much looks the same on either operating system – so just because the picture/video is done in the Mac version, pretend you are looking at a windows computer and tell yourself “Its ok that my program is not identical, if I click on the same button on my computer that looks a little different, the same thing happens so it’s all good!” YES you can start with Level 1 and upgrade to Level 2 at any time. YES the program is stand alone, HOWEVER, I have other Embrilliance titles installed so when you watch the video, you may see other buttons that you will not have if you only have StitchArtist authorized. I WILL NOT be using any of these buttons, so please do not say “I have StitchArtist Level 1 and mine doesn’t look like yours, why?” Yours will have every function and feature that I actually click on and use in this blog post – I will not be discussing the other programs. If you are paying attention to the other stuff I’m not talking about…stop that 🙂
There are many ways to do any single task – including how to digitize a design. In fact, I would say ESPECIALLY when it comes to design creation because this is a personal and artistic form of expression. That being said, I’m going to walk you thru ONE way that I chose to create this embroidery design – not the right way or only way – but rather, my way. Use this information any way you want!
Before I start any embroidery project, I decide what hoop I am going to use. I’m choosing to create the design for the 5×7 or 130mm x 180mm PES hoop. Deciding this now will tell me how much detail to include – for example I have zero desire to stitch large areas with fill stitches or cut applique shapes the size of pennies – not my idea of fun. I also work in metric because it just makes more sense. I know the difference between a 2mm and 3mm stitch but .078 inches or .118 inches means nothing to me visually – I can’t “see” the difference between those in my head. But I know that a 2mm running stitch is going to be wicked tiny and a 3mm stitch will do decent curves for a running stitch. So the first thing I will do is open my software, set my measurement and hoop.
The most common way to begin creating a design is with using a graphic or picture as a guide. StitchArtist is NOT an automatic digitizing program. Computer software programs have zero creativity and emotion. Creating an embroidery design is an artform and StitchArtist provides you with tools so that you can creatively interpret the graphic into a stitch file. So the first thing I will show you is how to do is setup your workspace and open a graphic into the program. I drew this monkey in a gift box and scanned it into my computer as a JPG file. The important part of this step is that what you open as a background is a graphic file such as a JPG, BMP etc. Formats are listed on the website. The software doesn’t care that you can’t draw – it cares that you choose a graphic on the computer to open. How the graphic got there is up to you!
Once I open my graphic as a background, I size it to fit my hoop and save the file. Saving often it a good plan in my book. When someone asks how often you should save, my answer is that I save as soon as I finish something I never want to do again. I strongly dislike duplicating work. Therefore, I save often.
I have zero intention to replicate the information that is well documented in the manual. Again – I’m not into creating more work for me 🙂 If the manual did not exist or was poorly written, I would have a different opinion on the matter. However, I read the manual. Its a great read – one might even venture to say that it is entertaining and fun! I have a copy in my kindle app so that I can search and refer to it often. The Embrilliance manual makes sense and gives you background information on digitizing practices as well as how to use the various tools in the program. I highly suggest that if you have not done so, that you download the manual from the Embrilliance website and check it out. Not sure where to find it? There is a link on the StitchArtist page to both the FAQ and the manual.
So once the graphic is open in the background – that is the inspiration upon which the embroidery design is going to be created. My “vision” is that this 5×7 design will be part applique with various stitched accents. The monkey is coming out of the gift box, so the first thing that needs to be created is the box and its lid. My favorite drawing tool is the point input – click your mouse and that’s a node. You do not need to have the last click be on top of the first click in order to close a shape – that’s done for you automatically using the close button on the menu bar. And for those that want to get the most our of their software and have read the StitchArtist chapter as suggested, you already know that you can use the Command+right click (CTRL+right click in windows) to end and close the shape in one step.
The Applique stitch properties for Level 1 has two sections – the stitch properties and the tie off properties. (note: Other levels may have more pages to their properties pane.) Hopefully you have stitched a few well digitized designs so you know that locking stitches or ties are important at the start of a color/section as well as at the end. These are called Ties in StitchArtist and you can turn them on or off for each object you create. Yes, I will show you some examples later on in this project of when you would not want the ties to be turned on. You have various options for the applique properties – the style of finishing stitch and its density and width for example.
The Applique object type can have up to 3 parts and you have complete control to turn any of these – on or off. An applique normally has a single run that stitches showing you where the fabric needs to be placed. This is referred to as the Applique Position stitch. The machine would stitch this and stop because it is its own colorbreak. You would place a piece of fabric in the hoop covering this outline. The next colorbreak is another single run (material position) – it holds down the fabric you just placed in the hoop and stops. If the fabric you placed in the hoop was not cut to fit this shape ahead of time (either by hand or die or fabric cutter), you would remove the hoop and trim the fabric. Return the hoop to the machine and stitch the final colorbreak – the finishing stitch.
As you can see in the applique properties, these three “stitching objects” are all part of a single object – so if you reshape the applique shape you automatically reshape each of the components. Kind of cool and saves you a lot of time. You can also turn off any one or more of these depending on what it is you are trying to do. For this example, our applique will have the 3 components – we’ll start off simple!
If you thought I was going to work through this entire design in one blog post – SORRY! If you have the software, I encourage you to play. By playing with the software, you will slowly develop YOUR WAY to do something which may be different than mine – and that’s a wonderful thing to happen!
We have quite a few more lessons coming up so be sure that you subscribe to my blog. And please remember that if you have questions on the software, you will ALWAYS get an answer by clicking on the Contact Us link on the website! This is the best and fastest way to get information on any of the Embrilliance programs.
Until next time – see you online!