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How to "digitize" images for embroidery?


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#1 Whitethunder46

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 09:11 PM

Anyone know how to "digitize" or what the heck this exactly is? I want to order a few custom items for my bus. (hats, duffle bag, etc.) and they all require the file or picture or whatever to be "digitized." They all can do it for me, but it's like $75 to have my file/image digitized.

What exactly is this? And is there a program anywhere that I can do this? Is this even something you do on a computer? One of the vendors that I'm going to get my hat from said I can bring in the "digitized" version on a CD, so this makes me think it's done through a computer somehow.

So again, anyone know what this is and how I can go about doing this?

#2 Setec Astronomy

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 09:24 PM

Doesn't that just mean the image is already in a computer format? As opposed to a drawing or a hard copy picture? Just ask them what the file format needs to be, and that will give you an idea of what you have to do.
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#3 Whitethunder46

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 09:31 PM

Doesn't that just mean the image is already in a computer format? As opposed to a drawing or a hard copy picture? Just ask them what the file format needs to be, and that will give you an idea of what you have to do.


Well they said it was an $80 charge to digitize for my hat. If that's all it is, why couldn't someone just scan the image and throw it on the computer. Certaintly wouldn't be $80.

Anyways, that doesn't matter, mine is on the computer.

#4 Whitethunder46

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 09:34 PM

Found this: "Digitizing is the process of converting an electronic copy of custom artwork or logos into data that can be read by an embroidery machine."

Now, does anyone know how to do this?

#5 Eliot Ness

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 10:42 PM

Like Mike said you need to ask what file format they want it in. Once you know that there are free programs, like IrfanView, that you can download and will convert the image you currently have to the format they want.

If you find out what they want (file format) post back and I'll check if IrfanView can convert to it. If worse comes to worse you can PM me and I'll send you my e-mail address and if you send me the image I'll convert it and send it back to you.

Edit: It looks like MikeN (in the next post) knows a lot more about embroidery digitizing so I'd follow his advice. If was as simple as converting the file format they wouldn't be charging as much, if anything, to just do it themselves.

#6 MikeN

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Posted 01 March 2007 - 10:50 PM

You want a quality embroidery digitizer to do that for you. Most embroidery shops do the basic digitizing (profile) themselves, then run it through special software to create the stitch patterns (further digitizing). However, QUALITY embroidery digitizing is very specific to the exact logo, the material it will be embroidered on, etc. This is why there are companies that specialize in doing the digitizing. Again... most shops don't use them, and one reason is the extra $.

Just let your embroidery shop do it for you... will be the most cost effective way to get it done.
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#7 Autoeng

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 02:59 AM

I've worked with embroidery machines and there isn't any free software that I've found (unless someone loaded their's onto the internet). You are digitizing the stich pattern. baically an X and Y point for every time the needle penetrates the material. The programs have parameters that they limit the pattern to. For instance a stitch can't be over 1/8" long. Think of it this way, you want a picture of a car embroidered onto a shirt. Overall size is 1" by 5". The stitches can't be 1" long or that wouldn't have any detail and they wouldn't hold up past the first washing.

Sorry buy you will have to pay the charge or find someone to do it free for you. Might be time to visit an embroidery forum. Bet you there is one out there somewhere. Probably as anal as we are....
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#8 kompressornsc

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 03:41 AM

Yep, digitizing is as much of an art as a conversion process. I've seen both good & bad digitizing from $3 per 1000 sts, and good and bad digitizing at $20 per 1000 sts.
I use 2 digitizers-one is $50 for up to 10,000 sts, the other is $12 per 1000 sts. Each one has their own strengths.
Your best bet is to have the embroidery shop do it (if you've seen thier work and it's good).

Digitizing is so cheap anymore. I've been selling embroidery for close to 20 years-when embroidery was done off a punch tape and an average tape was $300-$400.

Or, if have a large order, have it done in China. No digitizing charges and 3 cents per 1000 sts run charge (vs. 50 cents per 1000 sts in the US).
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#9 Setec Astronomy

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 05:00 AM

Oh, I didn't realize they (the shop) were talking about the "programming" of the embroidery machine, I thought we were talking about the first step of getting the design onto the computer. I know from watching a guy do a a simple lettering design for me for a gift while I was looking over his shoulder how complicated that embroidery software is, sheesh! Pretty interesting, kompressor, that it used to be punch tape! Programming of machines sure has come a long way, almost impossible to believe we used to do things that way, just like how we got along before fax machines, cell phones, and the internet.
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#10 Whitethunder46

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 07:20 AM

Thanks guys, you really helped out a TON.

The place I wanted to get a custom done said they would need to send my logo/image to their headquarters to have it digitized. Fee was $80 for this, and then like $15 to have it stitched, plus the cost of a hat from them.

If I paid the money to have the logo digitized by them, would I be able to use it again for future embroidering, NOT from that same company? Basically, could I then send that file to a different vendor to get say a custom duffle bag?

If I can re-use the digitized file, then the $80 would certainly sound more worth it.

#11 kompressornsc

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 08:53 AM

Thanks guys, you really helped out a TON.

The place I wanted to get a custom done said they would need to send my logo/image to their headquarters to have it digitized. Fee was $80 for this, and then like $15 to have it stitched, plus the cost of a hat from them.

If I paid the money to have the logo digitized by them, would I be able to use it again for future embroidering, NOT from that same company? Basically, could I then send that file to a different vendor to get say a custom duffle bag?

If I can re-use the digitized file, then the $80 would certainly sound more worth it.


Some places will copy a file for you. some won't (they're called .dst files). If you pay for the tape, technically it's yours and most places will make a copy for $10-$15.

Your best bet is to do as much embroidery as you can at once. My minimum is 12 pcs.-and I probably loose money doing that (if I could get $15 per logo I wouldn't!). My average embroidery charge is about $2.50.

One thing to keep in mind is that .dst files cannot be resized. The size you start out with is what you will always have. So, make sure it's a size you can use on hats, jackets, shirts, etc. Normally don't want to go over about 3.5" square.

Here's a logo I did for a client recently. To give you an idea, it's 12,350 sts-which is huge. I charge about $6 to embroider this in 12 qty.

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#12 Whitethunder46

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 08:57 AM

Here's my logo: (the basic design) Posted Image

I know the lettering has some shading in it, but when it's stitched, it would just be red and black. Do I need to change the lettering to make it a solid black or solid red before sending it in to be digitized?

#13 BigJimZ28

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 09:46 AM

I am a Mechanical Designer by trade and I have digitized before

and quit simply it is just a map of where the neadle will go

#14 kompressornsc

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 10:09 AM

No, they should be able to work with the lettering even though there is shading. Depending on size, you might even be able to get away with the shading. My first question on that logo would be: Do you want the oval filled? If so, it will remain constant on any color garment. If you leave it open (cheaper), the garment color shows through.
My personal opinion for embroidery is to drop the oval all together-I don't know that it adds that much to the logo and it would be less expensive to do. If you're Ford, yeah, you need the oval, but I don't know that your logo requires it.
Here's the embroidery I do for Ford:

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#15 Whitethunder46

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 10:13 AM

Yea, I would not have the oval filled. I would also like to keep the oval though, I want all of my things to be constant.

Well now what do I do? haha.

Is there a way that you can digitize? or do you just do the embroidering?

#16 kompressornsc

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Posted 02 March 2007 - 11:23 AM

If you don't fill the oval, you'll have to be a bit picky about the fabrics you embroider on. The more solid, the better. What happens when you do an open oval like that with something inside of it is that they pucker at different rates (all embroidery will eventually pucker). And since you're embroidering against the waft and the weave, they pull at different rates.So you end up with a lot of wrinkles inside the oval. Just a warning.

I contract out everything I do-I don't do anything in house.
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#17 racer99

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 01:19 AM

'Looks like your looking for an embroidery digitizer. You can get your text, logo or any graphic digitized at Embroidery Designs Shop I was referred to them through a friend when I needed our race team logo digitized for some t-shirts it cost us only $10

Edited by moderator, 19 September 2012 - 04:38 AM.


#18 rjarauta

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 05:56 PM

Anyone know how to "digitize" or what the heck this exactly is? I want to order a few custom items for my bus. (hats, duffle bag, etc.) and they all require the file or picture or whatever to be "digitized." They all can do it for me, but it's like $75 to have my file/image digitized.

What exactly is this? And is there a program anywhere that I can do this? Is this even something you do on a computer? One of the vendors that I'm going to get my hat from said I can bring in the "digitized" version on a CD, so this makes me think it's done through a computer somehow.

So again, anyone know what this is and how I can go about doing this?


Good evening everyone: The digitize file is file conversion from your art file, jpg, gif, png to the file that most of the embroidery machine uses today. One of this file format is DST. In general when our customer have small orders they have to pay for digitizing, but when they have large orders, we cover for that cost. .

Edited by moderator, 19 September 2012 - 04:37 AM.
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