Digitizing

What is Digitizing?

Digitizing is the art of creating stitch files that can be read by embroidery machines.  A digitizer can create files from their own artwork (and supplied by a customer) or they can use commercial clip-art.  A digitizer is someone who creates the stitch files.

What is underlay stitching? 

Underlay is a set of sparse stitches outlining the final design added to stabilize, lay down the nap of the fabric and support the stitches to prevent the design from shifting or puckering.  The underlay stitching will be covered by dense stitches and invisible in the final embroidered work.  The most common of these is a grid pattern, although a center or column underlay is often used with small lettering.

What is Density?

Density is the distance between individual stitches in a satin column or rows of stitches in a fill.  The closer the rows are to each other, the more dense an area of stitches is.  This is usually measured by counting the stitches per inch (SPI).

Preparing Artwork for Embroidery Digitizing

A digitizer uses very specialized software to communicate with the machine.  He/she must tell it where to stitch, how to stitch, in which direction, in which order and which color.  He/she also tells it when and where to start, when and where to stop and how close together to place the stitches.  There are too many factors to list.  A digitizer has many, many elements to consider when creating a design.  Different digitizing software packages allow different types of control over a design.

Embroidery Sew-Out & Design Testing

After a design is digitized to an embroidery format, it is tested to see how it stitches out.  Any imperfections are fixed and it is tested again.  A digitizer is a highly skilled artist who has honed his/her craft through many years of experience.  While some designs are fairly easy to do, those with fine detail, small text and lots of color changes require more set-up time.  Digitizing is a careful process that requires time and experience to be performed correctly.  The digitizer must know how the stitches he sees in his embroidery software will embroider on different fabrics.  A well digitized design will enhance your garment, so it is important to have an embroiderer who provides quality digitizing.

Here are two examples:

digitize

digitizing

What Does it Cost?

The cost of having a design digitized depends on the complexity which translates to “how many hours will it take.”  For most logos and designs that are not very stitch intensive, the average cost is $25-$40.  If the design is something that I can use in the future, I will absorb part of that fee.  One last note:  not all designs are suitable for digitizing.  I have been sent very intense black/white line drawings with way too much detail. Thread is not the same as ink, so be aware that some requests just can’t be fulfilled.