Embroidery digitizing is the act of turning an image or design into an embroidery pattern for a person or machine to follow. This process allows each part of the graphic to be converted into a stitch type. Most programs will allow the final product to be previewed in digital form before it is applied to fabric.
When an image is loaded onto embroidery digitizing software, each of the different colored areas can be converted into stitch types separately. This can be done by separating the color areas and digitizing them one by one or by digitizing the entire graphic so that the colors blend nicely into one another. Each technique produces different results and is used for different purposes—if a person wanted to embroider a flower, for example, he may wish to have multiple colors blending into each other to create a soft effect. On the other hand, if he was going to embroider a company logo with crisp color separation, he would not wish to use a color-blending effect. Most embroidery digitizing software has both of these capabilities built in, and it simply depends on the type of stitch that is used to create these different effects.
Embroidery digitizing may be used for many purposes, including business, casual, and personal use. There are many companies which offer custom apparel and accessories with any design, typically a company logo, embroidered onto the fabric. Many of these companies use advanced and slightly more expensive embroidery digitizing software. For more casual or personal use, the digitizing software may be less expensive and possibly less complex. The less expensive software, however, may still provide any feature that a casual user would need.
At-home digitizing can be a great way to preserve memories or produce gifts. A child’s favorite drawing can be turned into a wall hanging for her birthday, or a person’s favorite animal can be embroidered onto pillowcases for Christmas. Custom digitizing can also be helpful in sprucing up a person's wardrobe. An old shirt which seems a bit boring and is never worn can be transformed into a brand new garment with fun designs.
Learning to use embroidery digitizing software may require a bit of time and practice. A general understanding of the types of stitches involved in the embroidery and what they are used for can be helpful, as most often, the digitizing is done to tell the embroidery machine how it should create the design correctly. In some areas, classes that teach the basics of how to use embroidery digitizing software are offered. It may be helpful for individuals to take one of these classes before using the software to create designs. Those living in areas which do not offer embroidery digitizing classes locally may benefit from online tutorials, instructional books, or simple self-learning.