An Embroiderer’s Guide to Digitizing an Artwork

  • Oct 10, 2019

Embroidery services are big businesses that make millions of bucks every year. The embroiderers have evolved from making basic handmade artworks to refined machine embroidered works. Earlier, it would take enormous amount of grunt work to design an artwork as simple as logos or custom patches. But today, it takes only few hours to produce heavily decorated and intricate designs on a fabric thanks to superfast embroidery machines. 

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Besides, the embroiderers can make use of specialized softwares to set apply a specific stitch type, set the exact number of stitches as well as set sequence of stitches in a design. In technical language, it is called “embroidery digitizing.” Let’s delve deeper into the different aspects of embroidery digitizing and how it works in modern day.

Embroidery digitizing or simply digitizing is a job that involves converting an artwork into machine-readable instructions to apply set of stitches in an artwork where each set defines a specific type of stitch. Embroidery digitizing has significantly cut down on the time and expenses that would cost in creating fancy artworks on a fabric. Today, professional embroiderers can create an artwork in much less time and in much less operating cost.

However, digitizing is a multistep process that involves implementation of different tasks. Unless you have an understanding of each of the steps involved in this job, you will likely to make serious blunders that will cost you time and money.

 

How to Digitize an Artwork?

To give you an idea of digitizing an artwork, we present here some of the aspects of digitizing that will help you pull off this job with success. Digitizing is a combination of various tasks that you should accomplish successfully to get a clean direct embroidery on a fabric or custom embroidered patches. Here they are.

Analyzing a design

Preparing the artwork for digitization

Applying different types of stitches on the fabric

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Now that we know the essentials of a digitizing work, we will now discuss in detail these various tasks of digitizing:

 

Analyzing a Design

Before you digitize an artwork, you first need to analyze the different elements in its design that include the size of design, fabric type as well as the number and type of stitches to embroider on the fabric. 

Besides, you need to consider the white spaces that will be visible in the design as well as the area of fill. All these things should be taken into consideration in order to produce a flawless design on a fabric.

 

Preparing The Artwork for Digitization

Before you upload the artwork on your embroidery machine, you need to set the different aspects of the design to produce an embroidery that really pops. There are nitty-gritty details that need to be tweaked in order to produce a design that meets requirements of your clients. 

However, it is not just a one-step process and needs to be done in sequence. Here is how:

 

Editing

Editing is about making little changes in the design. From changing the colors and setting the fonts to resizing the imagery and aligning the spacing, you will tweak every bit of the design to make it ready for decorating a fabric. In addition, you need to set the fill area that will cover the background of an artwork. If there are patterns in the fills, you need to adjust the spacing and length of the pattern to maximize its coverage on a fabric and reduce the number of stitches.

 

Pathing

Pathing is the most crucial step in embroidery digitizing. It sets the sequence of stitches in a design and sets its course in an embroidery machine from start to finish. Goofing up at this stage can result in longer gaps between stitches, crooked stitches and unwanted loops in the embroidery work.

Therefore, you need to be extremely careful when applying the sequence of stitches in the artwork. Set the pathing only after carefully taking into consideration the entire requirements of a design.

 

Applying Stitches

Applying different types of stitches is another important task to prepare an artwork. Fundamentally, there are three types of stitches that you need to apply in a digitized file of an artwork: run stitches, satin stitches and fill stitches. To get an impeccable embroidery work, you need to set all these stitches in right proportion in the digitized file before you upload it on an embroidery machine.

Most importantly, you need to be very cautious when setting underlay stitches as they help attach the fabric to the backing. Setting wrong underlay stitches on a fabric can cause the stitches to pop or the embroidery will sink into the fabric.

Any goof-up at this stage can spoil the entire design and make it look absurd. Therefore, you should pay particular attention to the nuances in stitching and make sure that each stitch type is sequenced correctly in the artwork.

 

Important Guidelines…

To successfully digitize an artwork, you need to use professional digitizing softwares. Some of the top-rated digitizing softwares in the market are Wilcom and Embrilliance that have the entire toolkit to digitize an artwork like a true professional.

When digitizing an artwork, you should always be wary of the push-pull issue. It is a type of distortion that occurs as a result of various factors including the fabric, stabilizer, stitch type, size of design and hooping. 

Pulling is when satin stitches or fill stitches tend to force the fabric towards direction of stitches and create a shrinkage. This results in unnecessary gaps between stitches and make an artwork look different in embroidery form than what you see on the screen.

Pushing, on the other hand, occurs when running stitches lay down side by side and push each other to make room. This results in a stitches that bulge out in the physical embroidery. To avoid facing issue of push-pull, you can use push-pull compensation feature of digitizing software.

Hope this articles gives an overview of the various facets of embroidery digitizing so that you can build a grounding for this specialized job. Learn digitizing and practice these tips to increase your learning curve in this job.

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