In a nutshell, digitising is the process of making an embroidery design that can be used on a machine. It used to be hard and time-consuming to digitise things in the past, but now it doesn’t have to be. Today, thanks to new hardware and software, almost anyone can make their own embroidery designs.
First, a little history
The term digitising may also be called “punching” or “programming,” and you may still hear embroidery designs referred to as “tapes” or “cards.” All of these terms are a nod to the history of embroidery.
Embroidery designers used to be called “punchers” because they used a paper tape to punch holes in it. This led to the name “tapes.” I, for one, am glad the process moved along before I started digitising because I’m not sure I would be able to keep up with that. Is it possible to make a design without being able to see it?
Later, when we were in the “computer age,” the word “digitising” came into use because we were making a digital file from a hand-drawn “cartoon” on a large board that looked like a drafting table with a puck. By the mid-nineties, “on screen” digitising became more popular, and by the late nineties, it was the most common way to make embroidery designs.
A few years later,
embroidery began to show up on high-end home sewing machines. Janome was the first brand to offer this feature and soon the big brands joined in as well. To load designs into some of these machines, they used small memory cards. This is where the word “card” comes from.
During the nineties and early 2000’s, software made even more progress. It went from simple DOS systems to programmes for both Macintosh and Windows that were very complex and had many features. As computer hardware got better, the software got better, too. However, until recently, the programmes were powerful, but they required a lot of money and time to use them. And time was the biggest reason not to do it. She also had to learn the software and be good at embroidering, so it was a lot of work for her to learn all of that at the same time! In fact, in the past, it was thought that you had to work as a production embroiderer for two years before you could start using digitising software.
This is because today’s software is not only very sophisticated and powerful, but it is also very easy to use right out of the box with just a little bit of computer and embroidery skills. When you use automatic features, you don’t have to think about how to make a design. You can spend less time at the computer and more time doing what you want to do – like sewing, embroidering, quilting, or even making more designs!
Here is the original question: What does digitising mean? Is it true that designs are made? In the end, digitizing can be broken down into a three step process. If you don’t want to dance, just remember that it’s also like that. You might have to do a lot of “two-stepping” between the second and third steps to get the result you want.
Step 1: The Art
The best way to start embroidering is with a good design or piece of art. The more clean the art, the better. There are a lot of different ways to make art. You can draw it by hand and scan it in, make it in a graphics programme, or choose it from a clip art library. Taken photos are not for the novice or the impatient. If you don’t do a good job with the art, the rest of your embroidery will fall apart.
Step 2: Digitize
Digitizing software is used to bring the artwork into the software. Stitches are made using the artwork as a guide or template. This could be very automated, very manual, or a mix of both. It all depends on your software, your skills, and what you want to do. As an example, you might just click a few options and then you’re done with it. Or, it could mean that some processes are very automated, but others aren’t, like when you buy a car. Most of the time, you won’t be able to make an entire design by clicking on every single needle penetration! They used the tape punchers to do this, as well.
Step 3: Verify
Look at the word “embroider.” I didn’t use it in this step at all. This means that the design is ready to go and you can embroider it with ease. It means that we’re going to watch the design sew and make sure it’s efficient, error-free, and doesn’t cause any extra sewing problems, like thread breaks, that we don’t need. This, of course, means that you need to know how to do proper embroidery. Otherwise, how will you know if a problem is a sewing issue or a digitising one? Check for gaps and muddy details when you remove the item from the hoop. Then feel it to see if there are any lumps or thicknesses.
related blog: embroidery machine needles