Impressions - September/October 2010 - (Page 68)

DESIGN SPECIFICS: Dimensions: 5.48" x 5.81" • Embroidery Machine Used: Tajima • Stitch Count: 44,000 • Total Sewout Time: About 90 minutes • Thread Type: Madeira • Thread colors: 5 • Thread changes: 7 • Trims: 24 PHOTOGRAPHIC DIGITIZING t ransforming pictures into a quality representation using ink is a daunting-enough process, but doing so using only embroidery techniques may be equally as tough, if not more so. However, an increasing demand among consumers for cherished keepsakes and nostalgic items means that embroiderers who can provide their customers with true-to-life images will be ahead of the curve and have an advantage over the competition. Quality Punch, Torrance, Calif., learned this after producing this month’s featured design, “Baby Face Frame.” The work of art actually was part of the design team’s initial experimentation with picture digitizing. Aijaz Ahmed, the firm’s head digitizer and expert in picture digitizing, says the design team simply wanted to tackle the challenge of creating an embroidery design from a photograph. The results were so successful that Quality Punch decided to submit the design for the 2009 Impressions Awards, winning third place in the “Digitizing Artistry” category. The experimentation started earlier in 2009 when the company wanted to improve its digitizing process. “Until then, it was almost impossible to digitize from photographs and get a reallife look,” says Karen Habe, co-owner of Quality Punch. Problems such as stitch density made the process not very production friendly. Habe and her team started working with picture digitizing, a process by which photographs are converted into embroidery friendly fi les to give a realistic look that is not easily achieved via regular digitizing. Habe says customers love the results and the process also is benefi cial to embroiderers; it involves low-cost digitizing, low stitch counts, and an easier production run in terms of trims and color changes. However, Habe says the picture digitizing process can be complicated. For The Quality Punch team identified its area of focus — the eyes — and duplicated them to ensure the image would not get lost. “From the pupils to eyelids, to [the] shadows under the eyes and finally the eyebrows — the detailing had to be focused on [the eyes],” says Karen Habe, co-owner, Quality Punch. The team also had to decide on an appropriate canvas size; it couldn’t be too large or small, both of which would compromise the design. this particular design, the first step was to make sure the team was working with a clear, high-resolution image. The biggest challenge, Habe says, was selecting thread colors. Even a black-andwhite picture can be difficult to translate into embroidery due to the many details in a photograph, such as shading. After experimenting with five to six different colors, the team chose four greys — going from dark to light — and white twill for fabric. Finally, the team did sewouts of the image several times on the embroidery machine and adjusted densities and colors. Correct stitch density was key, as light stitching would have lost the image’s details, while stitching that was too heavy would have distorted the image. For embroiderers wanting to attempt a similar design, Habe advises using an artistically inclined digitizer. Although picture digitizing is a technological improvement, the best results occur when a highly qualified digitizer works on the back end. Also, be prepared for increased demand. Says Quality Punch’s Ahmed: “After the completion of ‘Baby Face Frame,’ everyone at Quality Punch has given me their favorite photograph to [get] converted.” — Luiza Raposo 68 Impressions >> September/October 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Impressions - September/October 2010

Impressions - September/October 2010
First Impressions
Product Gallery
2010 Top-Volume Decorators
Back to Basics
Inside Outerwear
Technique: Use Proper Techniques to Easily Embroider Fleece
Technique: Water-Based Ink and the Environment
For Screen Printers Only
Online Directory
Tech Tips
Using Layer Styles for Digital Printing
On Design
Business to Business
Ad Index

Impressions - September/October 2010