Overview of Digital Embroidery
The world of Digital Embroidery is not much different to the rest of the world. Everything around us has become automated and it is all about keeping in lieu with the ever changing digital sphere. In the process of finding the Utopian dream of ultimate efficiency, the field of digital embroidery came about which revolutionized the way we view this sector of the world. James Brown famously sang ‘It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World’ however with the era we live in it should be changed to ‘It’s a Me, Che, Nical world’.
Embroidery has always been an art form, that is an undeniable fact, but with the utilization of the technology, i.e. digital embroidery, the art form has become far more affordable and accessible than it ever was. The cost of the entire process has been severely reduced due to economies of scale achieved through the mechanization and the process itself has become a lot faster, without ever sacrificing the quality of the design in all of this.
Just like the traditional embroiderers, digital embroideries need artisans of their own kind called Digitizes or Punchers, the highly skilled individuals who are able to turn any design, be it logo, photo, illustration of any kind into a set of specific commands through various software, which are later converted into specific machine readable format, to be executed, i.e. embroidered by the machine on a specific garment.
The art of digital embroidery is not easy, it has a language of its own that takes the time to learn, understand and appreciate, the better the software, the more the digitizer is able to do obviously, still, even the basic features can be a bit complex for a newer user. A skilled and apt digitizer is purposeful and efficient from the get go of the digitizing process. Not only are they mindful of the design and the dimensions to work within, they consider the type of fabric that specific design will be embroidered on and make necessary adjustments, such as compensating for the push and pull and laying proper and more (or less) stabilizing underlay. They ponder over the flow in which the embroidery will be executed by the machine as well by using trims, start and stops functions, choosing color flow among other things just to make sure that the work is completed in the most time effective way possible. Even the flow and direction of the embroidery is an important aspect which is carefully measured by the digitizer, especially when overlaying different colors of embroidery as to not mix the color and become something other than what was desired.
As amazing as the digitizers are, they need embroidery software to do the digitizing process. Each embroidery software varies from the other and the important thing to note here is that the requirement of the software depends on the machine that will eventually embroider the design. For example, if one has an industry standard Wilcom or Tajima embroidery machine, they would need software that is able to create files that are readable by these specific machines. Although, each machine has its own complementary software and can be obtained at a discounted rate, sometimes free, if purchased with the machine still some software are able to generate files which are more universal like DST, which are readable by majority of the embroidery machines of today, not just for their own specific machine.