May '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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22 || P R I N T W E A R M A Y 2 0 1 8 Erich Campbell is an award-winning commercial embroi- dery digitizer with more than 15 years of experience as well as a long-time e-commerce manager, currently the partner relationship manager for DecoNetwork. A con- stant contributor to the industry's content landscape through webinars, podcasts, social media, and more, Erich is an evangelist for the craft, a stitch-obsessed embroi- dery believer, and firmly holds to constant, lifelong learning and the free exchange of technique and experience through conversations with his fellow stitch-workers. As a current industry and fiber-arts blogger and once medievalist-in-training turned tech-obsessed embroidery designer, Campbell brings his varied experience and in- terests to bear as an editorial author for numerous industry publications, a member of editorial boards, and a consultant for product support groups. The Art of Art Software How vector knowledge helps embroidery... but doesn't master it embroidery elements with those skills sharpened in vector design. Though you won't know how to interpret print art into embroi- dery at first, you avoid the struggle new digitizers have with draw- ing and shape creation. As strange as many of the embroidery- necessary shapes and drawing tools may seem at first, your steady hand and understanding of how curved and straight points affect a line will serve you, even with unfamiliar modes. 3. Shape manipulation. The ability to manipulate shapes, merge items, subtract shapes, create compound items, group and un- T hrough the years, designers comfortable with vector soft- ware have been repeatedly told that embroidery digitizing is little more adding a few stitch tools to their existing design workflow. Sadly, additional drawing tools and a palette of fill styles won't give you the grounding in embroidery experience you need to digitize well. While vector skills can't make you a digitizer, here we'll review the benefits of being a vector expert before you digitize, explore difficul- ties rarely divulged before you buy digitizing software, and explore the non-software learning that will prepare you for the real process of learning to digitize. BENEFITS OF VECTOR KNOWLEDGE 1. Art preparation. Being proficient in graphics, you're perfectly ca- pable of preparing quality art before the digitizing process. You understand the importance of high-resolution graphics and vec- tor source for quality reproduction, and you'll have no problem scaling art accurately. Moreover, once you learn a bit more about the needs of embroidery, you'll have a distinct edge on digitizers without vector skill. You can pre-produce adjusted vector art that takes into account the limitations of embroidery and have that art approved by customers before you ever set a single stitch. 2. Drawing skill. Most embroidery software can create shapes us- ing a familiar Bezier curve model, which means you can create ERICH'S EMBELLISHMENTS B Y E R I C H C A M P B E L L Digital preview images can't render even the simplest elements correct to the thread; This piece tests how multiple passes over a single stitch affect the thickness of a finished line or satin- stitch component, where it's obvious, particularly in the 'bean' stitches at the beginning of the samples, how the digital ver- sions look equally thick, but the multi-pass stitched lines are of wildly varying thickness. (All images courtesy the author)

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