To understand machine embroidery digitizing and its demand today, let us first take a sneak peek in history. Decorating fabric using a needle and thread is known as embroidery. We can validate it transpired centuries ago but was it still called embroidery? Guess we’re too late to know now. Archeologists recently unearthed some fossilized heavily embroidered clothes and hats. Upon examining the find, it was confirmed to have belonged to the Cro-Magnon era dating back to 30,000 BC.
DID YOU KNOW? History of Embroidery Dates Back to 30,000 BC!
Fast forward today we live in an era of digital industrialization. Every process is digitized, and so is embroidery. Today the multi-needle embroidery machines are able to stitch a pattern on multiple cloths in a row. Ultimately, the process has increased productivity whilst reducing production costs. Embroidery in the past was done manually and it required a lot of time. It wasn’t good for business hence machines came into play and took over by storm.
People taking a start in the embroidery business or just out of plain curiosity ask me:
What is machine embroidery digitizing?
In the simplest words, machine embroidery digitizing is the process of converting an artwork into a digital file using a software that allows embroidery machines to understand the needle’s path.
Most embroidery machines have software of their own allowing us to control their functions while reading instructions from a file that has been digitized.
Still confused? Read on to get a grab of the entire process.
Preparing a File for the Embroidery Machine – Digitizing Process
Machine Embroidery digitizing is the art of translating graphics into a format that can be understood by an embroidery machine. Using a special software such as Wilcom or Pulse, the digitizer creates a series of commands to guide the machine how to sew a pattern. The process involves working stitch by stitch and depending upon the design’s intricacy, it can be time-consuming. As you go around the artwork placing every needlepoint, you go on mapping the entire route. After all the points have been defined the file is saved in an embroidery format and uploaded to the machine.
Although simple as it may sound, there’s a lot more to digitizing than meets the eye. The process makes you feel like a painter, an artist who is creating art with a twist. You have to paint one stitch at a time flowing with the mechanical attributes of the machine. The process continues until all the stitches are complete and you have an embroidered design on the screen. Only an expert digitizer understands which stitch type goes where and the directions to command so that every second can be saved during production.
I’m Not An Artist, Does It Mean I Cannot Be a Digitizer?
People with artistic sense have the ability to understand designs better than a normal person. However, in the process of embroidery digitizing, you don’t need to be an artist. The task at hand is not to create artwork from scratch but to use an already created image and transform it into something readable by a machine. You simply follow a certain set of rules while understanding the situation and deciding what comes next. I have been a commercial digitizer throughout my career without attending art school. So, if you’re aspiring to become a digitizer and never studied art that makes two of us.
Where Can I Learn to Digitize?
At first glance, the digitization process seems very confusing. Even the software can be scary enough to discourage the weak-willed. Embroidery digitizing is a skill. You can acquire it through repeated practice, resolve and desire to learn. Sadly there’s no actual school where you can learn it as a subject. Professional digitizers today have either learned digitizing from a senior, or through trial and error.
It is natural to be curious about the time needed to get skilled in digitization. As per my observation, I can assure this, you only need a week’s time. By then you can completely comprehend the functions of your chosen software and begin working on the designs. To be able to work as a professional digitizer you require practicing a lot. Most people take the initiative just for the thrill of experiencing something new. Embroidery digitization can be dry which is the reason most people stop practicing after a couple of days. Without dedication, determination and the will to succeed you don’t achieve anything.
How do I start Practicing?
Before starting your practice I suggest you do some research. Clear all the doubts in your mind so that you can focus on one goal i.e. to become a digitizer. To begin with, you’ll need a home embroidery machine, any brand will do, and a software. Some machines require special software so be sure to read the instructions in detail that come with the machine.
Do you own a digitizing software already? If not then read our comprehensive guide on buying the best embroidery digitizing software.
To begin with, you’ll need to have a digitising software installed on your computer. After the installation is complete, explore it and try to figure out what the different buttons are for. Every software comes with an instructions manual which can give you a good start. The next thing you need are some designs to practice upon. I suggest you to choose simple ones so that the passion to learn does not die. We desire to learn everything overnight, sadly it isn’t possible with digitizing for embroidery. Practicing takes time and the more you practice the better you get.
Test your digitized file on an embroidery machine to see the outcome of your hard work on fabric. Unless you achieve satisfactory results you require more practice. Some designs are complex and require advanced skills to manage. Even the digitization process becomes lengthy which is a reason why my advice will be, climb the ladder step by step. Once you get acquainted with the basic techniques and important stuff, you can consider yourself as a beginner digitizer.
I wish you the best of luck in your journey to learn the skill of embroidery digitizing.
Absolute Digitizing offers custom machine embroidery digitizing service at a $5 per artwork with a quick turnaround time. Visit our Pricing page for more details.