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Unraveling the Mysteries of Digitizing Software

(April 2008) posted on Tue Apr 29, 2008

This article offers advice on selecting the appropriate digitizing software for your embroidery operation.


By Ed Levy

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Digitizing, as it relates to embroidery, is the process of creating or transforming artwork into stitches for use on an embroidery machine. The digitizer scans or imports artwork and is then faced with several important software-related decisions before the artwork can move along to the production stage.

Digitizing software comes in many shapes and sizes and varies according to cost and functionality. Such an assortment of software options often leads to great confusion among prospective buyers and opens up several very important questions. This article will describe what digitizing software does and how it works and will examine important features and the role the software plays in the embroidery workflow.

 

What is digitizing?

Developing an understanding of the digitizing process is a key part of selecting the right software for your business. We can break digitizing down into five stages.

Stage 1: the thought process The thought process is one of the most important parts of digitizing. It’s the stage where the digitizer plans the design elements, color sequence, and travel path. If six different digitizers were to complete this process, you would most likely see six different sets of choices. The design elements include determining what types of stitches to use on the various objects within the design. The color sequence is the order of colors from the start of the design until the end. The travel path determines which objects to sew first and how the machine moves from one shape to the next in the most efficient manner. The travel path is very important because a design without an efficient travel path increases the amount of production time to complete the actual embroidery. The thought process is essentially the creation of a blueprint for the design. Imagine a builder who shows up without any plans and just starts hammering nails into random wood. The end result is far less than desirable. Eliminating the thought process leads to the same undesirable outcome.

Stage 2: scan/import The second stage of digitizing is the scanning or importing phase. The digitizer either places the image in a scanner and creates a digital representation of it on screen or imports a previously scanned or digitally created art image from a file.


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