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Submitted on
April 29, 2012


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In this tutorial I'm going to attempt to explain how to autodigitize images into embroidery files. There are many different software programs out there. Here is a link to some free software called Stitch Era:
In this tutorial I'll be showing you how to digitize using PE Design Lite!

This software is best used in conjunction with an image editing program like Adobe Photoshop. I've found that PE Design Lite is quite finicky with colors so you need a high quality vector image of the design you want to digitize.

So the first thing you need to do is find or create your design. Once you have a good quality image open your software.
Note: PE Design Lite has only the most basic of functions. For more embroidery options you'll need to buy/download more advanced digitizing programs.

Step 1: Open software

Step 2: Import your image

This is the file I want to digitize:

Step 3: Click the autodigitize button and the color grid will pop up.

Your digitizing software detects the colors. Depending on the image, you will likely have to reduce the amount of colors so you won't end up with something ugly.

Step 4: I have all the colors I want, but I don't need to embroider the charcoal grey background color so I'm going to omit it. I just click on the color I want to omit and it's crosshatched out.

Afterwards, click finish.

Step 5: You will see your embroidery overtop of the image.

But we don't need to see the image anymore so go to the image tab – display image – display off.

Step 6: It's looking good but it's not finished! Now we need to set the pattern of the stitches and the density. We don't want the stitches going in random directions. That's just not pretty.

Go to the sew tab and then click the Sew Attributes setting. Its box will pop up on the right. Once open you will see 3 options. Understitching, density, and direction. You will likely want understitching for most of your projects.

You will need to do this for each portion of your design. I have six parts to this evil filly eye: the two eye whites, the lighter blue, the teal iris, the pupil, and the eyelashes. For each color I'm going to select to have understitching, 5.5 density, and a constant 45 degree direction. This will keep things consistent and pretty.

Also pay attention to what type of stitch you're using. There are two options: fill stitch and satin stitch. I prefer fill stitches for my designs so I change my stitch type to fill for each color/portion of my design.

We're almost finished!

Step 7: Now we need to set the order in which the design will be stitched. Click the sew tab and then the sewing order/color button.

Now we can see the order that was automatically generated. I don't want my design to be sewn in this order so I'm going to rearrange it. You can also switch your colors.

Now, let's check the simulation view. Click the display tab and then realistic preview.

Chrysalis filly? :]

Step 8: There's only a few things left to do! If you like how your design looks, then save it! Import the design to your embroidery machine and test it out. Hopefully you've got a nice looking embroidery design!

Now, keep in mind that I'm no pro at this. What works for me may not work for you so it's good to experiment with things.

Reminder! This is how to autodigitize using PE Design Lite. Every program is different but the principle is the same. Once you have a nice clean image you can import it, select your colors, create stitches, and proceed to edit your little heart out.

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FoxDenProductions Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2014  Professional Artisan Crafter
Ah, yay~ Thank you so much, Space! I had been really scared and uneasy because I thought I wouldn't be able to make any new embroidery since SEU is charging out the booty to use now. I really appreciate this tutorial! You saved me a LOT of hassle. <3
Frozen - HUG! 
Sapphire-Stitch Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Great tutorial~
Scarlet-Songstress Featured By Owner Jan 1, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hi there! Thank you for your help, I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong and you solved to for me :D My only question is, when it comes to resizing, do you have any tips to make your image the exact size you need? 
PlanetPlush Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2014  Professional Artisan Crafter
I normally hold my pattern up to the screen to get the size. You can also embroider a test design and put your pattern overtop it to see if you need to resize.
XNightMelody Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2013
I recently started using PE Design (6 I believe) and I get to about step 4/5 and my embroidery comes out blocky and misshapen. Defiantly not like how yours turned out here. I'm wondering if I'm missing something if my vector is not correct? I made them High quality.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Please and Thank you :aww:
PlanetPlush Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Can you send me a pic of what your embroidery looks like?
XxMoonDropsxX Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
I know I am over a year late, but I am having a similar problem with my PE Design Plus. ^^; Except it comes out misshapen or out of line--I am not sure why, cause I made the vector high quality, and used stabilizers on my fabric. If you've found a solution, do you think you could share it, please..? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
PlanetPlush Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2014  Professional Artisan Crafter
Do you have a picture of your embroidery? It sounds like it might be the pull compensation.
XxMoonDropsxX Featured By Owner Jul 28, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Um...I can take one, since it's the eyes on my first attempt at a Pinkie Pie plush. xD I'll try to send it via note though, cause I'm too shy to share on the comments... ^^;
Kitamon Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2013  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Just wondering for the interfacing...a person at a fabric store told me to put it under and on top since fluff comes out in between the threads especially noticeable with the black. What do you do?
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