Technically, digitizing refers to the process of converting analog information into digital information. For example, scanning a photo into the computer is a form of digitizing.
As it relates to embroidery, it is the process of preparing artwork and applying stitches to create a digital embroidery file suitable for use on a computerized embroidery machine.
WHAT THE MACHINE NEEDS
Once the image has been digitized, it is exported in a format required by the machine. This file is composed of a series of coordinates and a few other basic commands that tell the machine what order to sew the design, when to stop, trim, and change colors, to name the most common. In the past, machines seldom understood more than one format or language. Today’s machines are, well, multilingual and many will read a wide range of formats.
WHAT YOU NEED TO CREATE AN EMBROIDERY DESIGN
To create an embroidery design requires using embroidery digitizing software. While graphics software can used to create the initial artwork, it can’t create the actual embroidery.
Today there is a wide and growing range of choices for the budding or avid embroidery designer. Embroidery digitizing software comes in a wide range of features and prices from free and rapidly shooting into the stratosphere.
SHOULD YOU DIGITIZE?
Many machines, both home and commercial, come bundled with digitizing software. But just because it came with your machine doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best one or the right one for you.
Plus, just because you have it, doesn’t mean that it’s the one you have to use—or that you need to use any at all.
Digitizing is not a simple process even if you have extensive computer experience. Besides, if you are new to embroidery, focus on learning how to embroider first—otherwise you won’t know if a poor sew-out is the digitizing or the sewing technique.
IS DIGITIZING EASY OR FAST?
That depends but likely harder and longer than you think.
What other experience do you have with software and embroidery? How complex is the design you want to create? What features does your software have? Do you know how to use them?
In my opinion, it always takes me longer than I think to digitize a design. And of course, digitizing is only a portion of making a useable embroidery design. You need artwork to start and after digitizing, you need to test. Possibly multiple times.
- From the Mailbag: Questions About Digitizing
- So You Want to be a Digitizer
- Is Your Digitizing Business Making Any Money?