Embird Embroidery Software
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Trace Tool

Studio includes Trace Tool for fast conversion of raster image into vector embroidery design.

Trace tool works in a similar way as selection tool - a magic wand - in graphic programs.

Using Trace tool means doing these operations:

  1. Clicking a consistently colored area (pixels of raster image ), this selects the area
  2. Turning selected raster areas into vector objects
  3. Filling vector objects with stitches

How to Use it

This chapter is focused mostly on describtion of the trace tool controls. More detailed chapter with a step-by-step tutorial on how to use the Trace Tool is available further.

User specifies the color "tolerance threshold" for selection of raster pixels and "simplicity" of created vector object.

Selection is performed by clicking the picture.

When selection of one or more raster objects is complete and all parameters and options are set, click Apply or Generate Stitches button from button bar at top side of the Studio screen, or click secondary mouse button on the work area to open a pop-up menu with the same options. Raster objects are converted to vector objects and optionally filled with stitches.

Result is an embroidery design that can include various embroidery styles like outlines, fills, columns and sfumato objects.

After conversion, traced objects can be edited as other vector objects in Studio (node by node). When creating embroidery design, the Trace tool can be combined with any other tool in the Studio.

Like other creation tools in Studio, the Trace tool can be used with various display modes (Normal, 3D, Flat, etc.) to display imported raster image behind the digitized design as a template for digitizing, or preview created design in 3D.

High image resolution and low gradation of colors are required to create quality design with the trace tool.

Main Features

Trace Tool Styles

Before you start using the Trace tool, you should choose embroidery style you want to use. Click secondary mouse button on the Trace icon (in the Tool Bar).

Icon of Trace Tool

Panel with Trace styles will appear. This panel can be invoked also by holding the primary mouse button depressed for about 1 second on the Trace icon.

If you do not need to switch the style, just click primary mouse button on the Trace tool icon to start the Trace mode.

Pop-up Panel with Trace Tool Styles

Trace Tool - Outline
Trace Tool - Column
Trace Tool - Fill
Trace Tool - Sfumato
Sfumato object. Sfumato is an optional part of the Studio.
Trace Tool - Carving

Each style in the panel is represented by its icon. Clik icon of the desired Trace style and tool will be activated.

Carving objects must follow after the fill or sfumato object, as they serve to add texture to those objects. Carvings are not a stand-alone objects. The icon of Carving style (in Trace tool panel) is grayed out if there is no fill or sfumato object in the work area.

Common Options and Parameters

Most of options and parameters like color, tolerance, simplicity, edge type and selection options are common to all styles.

First step is to select color areas (objects) from the raster image in the work area of Studio. Click the primary mouse button to select an object.

Selection options allow to change the way of how the Trace tool behaves by each selection. It is possible to define whether to make new selection and discard any existing selection or add objects of different color to selection, select non-contiguous areas of the same color at once (add similar option), subtract object from selection or intersect the object from selection.

Meaning of the Selection options is as follows:

Trace Tool - new selection
New - make new selection and discard existing selection.
Trace Tool - add selected area to existing selection
Add - add selected area to existing selection.
Trace Tool - select all areas of the same color
Add Similar - select all areas of the same color (including non-contiguous areas) at once.
Trace Tool - subtract area from selection
Subtract - subtract area from selection.
Trace Tool - Intersect - select subset of existing selection
Intersect - select subset of existing selection.

(Only one of above options can be active at once)

Automatic Color - if turned ON, the color of created vector object(s) is picked from the raster image automatically. Uncheck this option and click the color box to choose the color from palette or define your own color of vector object(s).

Tolerance - defines the color similarity range used for selection of pixels from the raster image. The value of tolerance is ranging from 0 to 100. Set a low value to select only pixels of a very similar color or set a higher value to select pixels with more different colors.

Trace Tool - Effect of color tolerance parameter

Left side: selection made with lower color Tolerance. Right side: selection made with higher color Tolerance.

Simplicity - defines the complexity/fidelity ratio of object(s) created with the Trace tool. The value of simplicity is ranging from 0 to 15. Set a lower value to get object with high number of nodes and better accuracy. Such object, however, is harder to edit. For easier editing, set a higher value to obtain object with a lower accuracy and low number of nodes. Default value of simplicity is 7.

Trace Tool - effect of Simplicity parameter

Left side: object vectorized with Simplicity=3. Right side: object vectorized with Simplicity=12.

Edges - the type of edges of created vector object(s), either straight lines or curves.

Style-Specific Options

When the Trace tool is active, specific parameters of respective style are displayed on the main control panel at the side of the Studio window.

Fill, Sfumato and Column Parameters

Ignore Openings - if the check box "Ignore Opening" is checked, openings (holes) are ignored in the created vector object(s). This option is useful to create overall vector object without holes, assuming that there will be another objects digitized on top of this one, instead of holes. Uncheck the option to retain openings in objects.

Expand Objects - Overlay - enlargement of objects to prevent gaps between the adjanced objects caused by pull effect of the thread.

Outline Parameters

Besides common parameters and options, outline objects have several specific parameters. They are identical to parameters accessible via Outline Parameters window , but are duplicated here for easier access.

Minimum Length of Stitch - measured in millimeters, defines the shortest stitches generated when compiling Outline object into actual stitches.

Maximum Length of Stitch - measured in millimeters, defines the longest stitches generated when compiling Outline object into actual stitches.

Width of the Outline Sample - measured in millimeters, is the width of reference cells along the outline to which the stitches are projected. It is not necessarily the width of finished outline, because projected stitch sample can be wider or narrower than reference cells.

Outline Sample - outline samples are stitch patterns repeated along the outline. It is possible to set the Single stitch, Triple stitch, Redwork outline or choose from several samples listed in combo box. User can even create and save with design up to five "User Defined" samples .

Other Parameters

Other parameters of vector objects created with Trace tool, like density, angle of stitches, gradient, etc. can be accessed only after finishing the Trace mode, using the common Parameters window .

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