October '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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48 || P R I N T W E A R O C T O B E R 2 0 1 5 Ed Levy is the director of software products at Hirsch In- ternational and owner of Digitize4u, an embroidery and digitizing operation. A 23-year industry veteran, Levy has owned screen printing, embroidery, and digitizing business- es. In 2001, Levy began consulting and founded EmbForum, a professional Tajima DG/ML by Pulse software users group. Embroidery Business THREAD ... ACCORDING TO ED B Y E D L E V Y A Game of Telephone How to relay info to your digitizer H as a friend ever told you a story, only to find out that the facts were completely wrong because the story was told from one person to another until it reached you? It's a classic case of telephone; each person heard the story, interpreted what they heard and then retold the story. The more times a story is told, the more chance it has to differ significantly from the original. This is a very common issue when communicating instruc- tions to your digitizer. The more hands that touch the order, the more chance there is of a mistake happening. This can occur either through omission of vital details or an individual interpre- tation of the design. To best understand how to order a design and ensure that the returned digitized file meets your customer's expectations, you must first fully understand embroidery and the digitizing pro- cess. It is not a requirement to learn how to digitize, however, in order to communicate effectively between you and your custom- er and you and your digitizer, it is imperative to learn as much as possible about embroidery principles and settings. ARTWORK It all begins with the artwork. In most cases, a digitizer receives a piece of artwork and is asked to digitize the design and return a file that will run on the embroidery machine. The better the artwork, the better the chance for a quality design returned. Re- member: garbage in, garbage out. While you don't need to be an artist, you should understand the different types of art files. The first artwork file is a bitmap. A bitmap file is based off of pixels and does not retain any intel- ligent properties. As you enlarge a pixel-based image, the image becomes blurry. The more you enlarge it, the more it distorts and becomes unusable. Common types of bitmap images are .bmp, .jpg, .psd, .gif, .png, and .tif. The other type of image is a Vector image. A vector image is a design created in a drawing program and then saved as a vector file format. Vector files are based off math- ematical equations rather than pixels. This means you can freely change any number of object attributes without destroying the basic object. An object can be modified not only by changing its attributes, but also by shaping and transforming it as needed. The example below shows the difference between bitmap and vector and the effect of enlarging the object. Due to the differences, the best file format to send to your dig- itizer is always a vector. Since vectors are property based and are capable of change, I always recommend sending a bitmap image such as a .jpg with the vector for confirmation. In addition to the artwork, the information provided to the dig- itizer is critical. What seems like many trivial items can end up creating a design that does not meet the customer's expectations The image below is a great example of a design that seems straightforward, but can end up causing headaches for you, your customer, and your digitizer. As a digitizer, when looking at this design, there are many is- sues that need to be clarified: Left: Bitmap files are based off of pixels which means that when the graph- ic is enlarged, the image becomes blurry. Right: This image shows how bitmap and vector files enlarge. (All images courtesy Hirsch International) ‚óŹ Beginner This seem- ingly simple design can cause all kinds of is- sues for your digitizer if the desired results aren't properly com- municated.

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