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How to Digitize Animal Designs

February 14, 2017

When you’re digitizing animal designs, it can seem challenging to make your designs look realistic. Often you feel like all you have are flat and boring designs, instead of embroidery that looks like it could come alive and run a way. To truly create a realistic design, you need to replicate the animal’s muscles and the direction of fur growth.

Try these tips to help liven up your animals.

Size Matters

When it comes to embroidering animals, size does matter. The size of the design dictates how much detail you can include. Smaller designs require you to skip over some details, so it can be harder to capture features that show an animal’s individuality. When using a larger image, you’ll have more room for details, but you need to make sure the structure is defined properly. If not, the final product will be flat.

Digitizing Fur

Not all animals have the same growth pattern for hair. In order to accurately depict an animal’s fur, you need to closely examine a photo to become familiar with the direction the animal’s fur growth.

Make Guidelines Using Contrasting Colors

An experienced embroidery digitizer will create guidelines to help include specific details from your original plan. You’ll want to use bright and contrasting colors so they stand out from the shades in the image, and make sure you don’t use colors found on the animal. These guidelines will also serve as a reminder to keep the fur travelling in the correct direction.

Place a proper foundation

A proper foundation is key for avoiding puckers around the design and it helps you create density in the final coverage. Begin with digitizing the underlay in the method of run stitches and make sure you have a base underlay using a fill stitch of light density. This will stabilize the majority of the area. When you’re creating a small design, you just need to follow the foundation with a light density fill stitch. For larger designs, you many need sections with a lighter density stitch which have layers crossing over each other, like a grid. The key to mastering embroidery digitizing, is to keep trying out different designs by stitching them out to see what results you’re getting with different densities and stitch types.

Use Sections

You’ll want to use sections of complex fill for large designs; however, ensure you break large elements into multiple sections, and rotate each to sustain the natural direction of hair growth.

Stitch Types

Column and Satin Stitch

A column fill stitch works well for both large and small designs, and is excellent for defining muscle structure. If you find the columns are too narrow you can switch to satin stitches. You’ll want to keep the size of objects minimal to allow for multiple changes in density and other parameters.

Long vs short Stitch Length

Make sure you adjust the stitch length based on the length of the animal’s hair. You’ll want to use shorter stitches for shorter hair and longer stitches for long hair.

Medium Density Fill Stitch

When you need additional coverage, use a medium-density fill stitch over the entire section first. You can then use overlapping columns on top of the fill stitching and adjust density to maintain a balance through the layers.

Follow these steps and you will be able to digitally embroider a realistic portrait of the animal you choose.

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