September '17

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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32 || P R I N T W E A R S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 7 ERICH'S EMBELLISHMENTS ished design. Moreover, it's hard to get your camera perfectly parallel to your sample, but a scanner makes it simple. Before scanning, lightly tug at the fabric outside the hoop to cor- rect any distortion and crookedness; just avoid overstretching. In this way, you can make sure that lines and text are as straight as pos- sible in the hoop so that they'll be true in your scanned image. You can lay a ruler across the hoop, butting it against the mounting arms for a reference line while you adjust. While you have that ruler out, measure the width and height of the design, or at least of an easily measured element. That measurement will let you later check scale in our digitizing software. Now that everything is prepped, you can scan. 2b: Post-processing/compositing. Pull up your scanned image in your favorite image editor. If the quality is good enough, you can use this scan for direct digitizing, but it's likely you'll be adding some guides or redrawing some elements. At this stage, I usually use a raster editor. Rotate the design until elements are straight on-screen, then crop the design to the extreme edges of the embroidery. If your resolution is correct, you may not need to do any resizing, but the cropped image means you can usually resize very quickly by setting one of the measurements in your software to the measurement you took from the sample. Collect any assets you have and the answers your client gave about how the logo should look. Now you can make the most critical deci- sion about your sample scan. If your scan just isn't good enough, you can decide to amend the art with some additional clean assets, or you can redraw everything in vector. The latter is time consuming. That said, you'll have less hassle in digitizing and you'll permanently have art that the client can reuse for other decoration methods. If you decide that you only need to replace some poorly-executed text, recreate the design in vector software. Use the sample scan as a guide to sizing and placement. Save the text or any element you've drawn in a separate file without the scan when you are done. That way you won't have clean text sitting atop the messy scan. If your art isn't detailed, the design wasn't heavily distorted, or the subject matter is organic enough not to show the distortion, you may not need to further redraw any elements. In that case, you may decide to drop a couple of vector shapes at the sizes of elements in the design, like an uncorrupted circle for a sample with a badly distorted oval. Sometimes a simple guideline drawn over the original element is enough to show you where you should compensate differently than the previous digitizer. If you find that the design requires much redrawing in this process, you may want to redraw the logo entirely. Doing so, you can have your customer preapprove your recreated art. Once your design is either redrawn or amended, save the files for import into your digitizing software. If you have done a complete redraw, remember to send it to your customer for art approval be- Top: With the vector graphic in place, I made sure that the size of the graphic was the same as the original sample and started digitizing. With the clean lines and all the elements properly spaced and aligned, it was a quick process. It would have been much harder to work over the scan and try to maintain uniform stroke widths and alignment from that distorted sample. (Image courtesy of the author) Above: The first step to a good image is just getting this garment hooped up, as is it's pretty crooked and distorted. Once you start hooping, it becomes easier to see how you need to tug and tension the material in the hoop to make the design as flat and straight as possible. This is a piece that came in from one of my previous shop's competi- tors. This piece is old, has been washed a ton, is puckered, and wrinkled beyond belief. Moreover, the pull of that fully filled circle distorted the garment, making the circle into an oval.

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