Learn to Digitize with Generations

I’ve taught digitizing theory for years but never tied it to a program except in house when working with the Cactus Punch digitizers and our program of choice.

Why? Because to get really good at a program, you have to use it on a regular basis. Pair that with the fact that “I’m a Mac” and you can get the idea.

My company produced embroidery designs and I also taught embroidery techniques and digitizing theory. We didn’t sell machines or software and I didn’t have time to learn home programs.

Learning a new program takes a lot of time and during that time productivity is low.

I’m still getting requests to teach digitizing and after doing some investigation, I found two products for the home market I like: Masterworks and Generations. Generations has the advantage that it is not tied to a machine company; it’s “non-denominational” shall we say and works with any machine (as does most home software these days).

MasterWorks is available only from BabyLock dealers. It’s advantage is being able to work with real vectors, which is how I’m accustomed to working.

The original plan was to write a course that was primarily “how to digitize like a pro” while using Generations as the platform.

Theoretically, once you learn to digitize in any program, you should be able to digitize in any other program that has the proper tools. And, as the original plan went, once I finished this course, I should be able to substitute content for another program like Masterworks. At this point, all I can say is “we’ll see.” This is a HUGE undertaking!


The Generations company (Notcina, located in St. Louis, MO), is a very agreeable bunch of people. They can provide you with a trial of the program, you can work out a payment program, and you can trade in a dongle if you have software that you haven’t figured out.

I can’t tell you how many people I talk to who say, “I can’t buy another program until I learn 6X.” Why are you depriving yourself of something you want because you have something you can’t use? Trade it in! Do be sure to tell ’em I sent you! (I want to stay on their good side!)

In Australia, contact my friends at Echidna Sewing Products for similar deals.

Note: Due to lack of support by the manufacturer and newer, more modern products on the market, the sale and support of Generations has been discontinued by most former distributors. However, if you still own Generations, it still functions and the course is still valid.


The course is an in-depth college-level course designed to teach you the how’s and why’s of digitizing. It is the ultimate course because it is written by a master digitizer with 15 years of professional experience producing stock, custom, and contract designs.

On top of that, the course is proofed by none other than Andrea Bommarito, the lead support person and software liaison for Generations. It is also proofed by two educators in Australia who have been teaching Generations for years to make sure what I say is valuable content and what users need to know. Each Unit is very thorough—you will not complete one in an afternoon.


The course is divided into 8 units. Unit 1: Getting Started shipped in mid December 2009; Unit 2: ABCs of Keyboard Lettering ships the end of January 2010 (end of this week as I write!). Each is about 180 pages. Each starts with a quick start tutorial, a quick and easy way to show you how simple it is to get started.

The rest of the unit digs in deeper because there is a lot of power under the surface and while easy, it’s not always intuitive how to access it without a little help.

If you go through the step by step tutorials, you will learn Generations—and how to digitize—in an organized, thorough, and professional manner. You may have an embroidery business, be interested in starting a business, or just want to make your own designs now and then. Why not make them professional? Within a few units, you’ll easily be making designs that are way better than those sites with a bezillion free designs.


Two things really set this course apart from other tutorials available:

  1. It’s taught by an experienced professional digitizer with real world experience (and a B.A. in art)
  2. It offers a feedback opportunity with me or some other qualified person I choose

Yes, there are plenty of courses to teach you how to use your software but most are written by users who’ve figured out a few things or educators who can teach you how to push buttons but don’t fully understand theory because they are not professional digitizers. I will teach you how to apply proper theory and embroidery design while learning to use the software.

The second thing is what’s really valuable to you. In each unit, there is a final project, sort of like a final exam. I’ll give you a scenario with a list of criteria based on the content covered to that point. You then have the option of sending the completed project to me for evaluation.

I’ve even included a custom program with Unit 1 (in Filemaker of course!) to track your project’s details and facilitate the sending.

Post Update 2013: While the course is still available, evaluations are no longer supported. I have discontinued any relationship with Generations & Noticina and do not provide support for their software

Post Update 2016: Windows 10 no longer supports QuickTime video, the format used for the course videos. Videos will work in older versions of Windows, which were available when the course was written. There are no plans to update this course.


The units ship on a CD and in addition to the PDF training materials, I also include videos demonstrating some of the content. I know that people learn differently.

Some are visual learners, some are auditory learners, and some are hands on. Most likely, you are combination. The course is designed to involve as many of these modalities as possible.

The course will tell you when to watch a video or you can watch them before you start reading for an overview. The videos are designed to be short and to the point and because they coordinate with the written material, there is no need to take notes.


Since each unit is based on its predecessors, I highly encourage you to not skip any. Even if you do have some experience in Generations, I recommend you start with Unit 1.

The course is designed to take you to the next level after Anatomy of a Design: How to Think Like a Digitizer & Become a Better Embroiderer so that e-book is a requirement for the course.

  • Unit 1: Getting Started with Generations
  • Unit 2: ABC’s of Keyboard Lettering
  • Unit 3: Color, Graphics, & File Formats
  • Unit 4: Stitch Types and Attributes
  • Unit 5: Creating Pattern, Texture, & Dimension
  • Unit 6: Designing with Manual Punch Tools
  • Unit 7: Advanced Manual Punch Tec
  • Unit 8: Specialty Techniques

Units are targeted to ship every 6-8 weeks until the course is written. The goal is to have the entire course completed by August before my next visit to Australia.

Post Update: The entire course is complete! No waiting for future units!

There are digitizers and then there are smart digitizers, the ones who know how and why they are doing what they are doing. If you really want to learn to digitize like a pro, this is the course for you! 


  • Anatomy of Design is an e-book designed for embroiderers who want to understand what’s going with designs and therefore make better choices when selecting designs, fabric, stabilizers, and threads
  • Looking for something a little less daunting? Try some of the quick projects to learn a technique in Generations. There are even some free ones to get an idea of how the course works.
  • Generations course materials (courses and projects) – bundles are available at even better pricing!
  • Building Block designs – small, simple elements for combining, all digitized in Generations for ultimate flexibility in that software.



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