Freehand tool allows to create realistic fur or shading effects as well as sketch drawings with mouse or digitizing tablet within a few minutes. It works like a painting tool.
Result, however, is an embroidery design that can include various embroidery styles like fills, columns, sfumato objects and outlines as well as some new stitch styles like pressure-sensitive columns.
Unlike the other Studio tools, which are based on the precise manual placement of the nodes, curves and lines, Freehand tool allows to draw most of the Studio objects with a free hand. Strokes are automatically converted to chosen embroidery style. After conversion, strokes can be edited as other vector objects in Studio (node by node). When creating embroidery design, the Freehand tool can be combined with any other tools in the Studio.
Like other creation tools in Studio, Freehand tool can be used with various display modes (Normal, Vector, 3D, 3D Matte) to display imported raster image behind the digitized design as a template for digitizing, or preview created design in 3D.
Animation - not visible on the print
Freehand tool can work with any Microsoft Windows compatible mouse or digitizing tablet*. Its use is not restricted to any specific brand of tablet.
Before you start actual drawing with the Freehand tool, you should choose embroidery style you want to use. Click with right mouse button or corresponding tablet pen button depressed on the Freehand icon (in the Tool Bar). Panel with freehand styles will appear (picture below). This panel can be invoked also by holding the left mouse button or tablet pen tip depressed about 1 second on the Freehand icon.
Each style is represented by its icon. Hover the cursor over the icon to display the style name. Select desired freehand style and tool will be activated automatically. Studio will switch to creation/editing mode.
*Tablet pen pressure can be used in Studio only if tablet uses Wintab32.dll driver and this driver must be located in the Windows\System32 folder.
Freehand styles can be accessed by clicking with right mouse button depressed on the freehand icon.
1. Manual Stitches, 2. Outline, 3. Column, 4. Fill, 5. Sfumato, 6. Connection, 7. Sketch Outline, 8. Pressure-sensitive width Column, 9. Opening (hole), 10. Carving
Click left mouse button or tablet pen on the Freehand tool to start drawing. When the Freehand tool is active, parameters of respective style are displayed on panel at the right side of the Studio window. Some parameters like color and After Stroke options are common to all styles (picture below). After Stroke options allow to change the way of how the Freehand tool behaves after each stroke. It is possible to define whether to generate stitches of each stroke immediately or not, whether to finish freehand mode after single stroke or reactivate the tool, whether to create connection to the previous stroke or let jumps between the strokes.
Meaning of the After Stroke options is as follows:
- Another stroke - converts stroke into nodes and allows to add another strokes. When finished, single vector object contains several strokes.
Only one of above options can be active at once. The rest of the After Stroke options include Reactivate tool and Connect to previous object check boxes.
If Reactivate tool is checked, Studio automatically activates Freehand tool when previous stroke is ended. This feature works only with Finish object and Generate Stitches options. To end strokes creation, hit ESC or ENTER (RETURN) key on the keyboard.
If Connect to previous object is checked, Studio automatically creates connection to previous object after the stroke. This feature works only with Finish object and Generate Stitches options.
Above options allow user to configure the Freehand tool behavior. Probably the most intuitive use of the Freehand tool can be achieved by combination of Generate Stitches and Reactivate tool options.
Manual Stitches are used to create realistic fur, shading or other texture. Parameters that are adjustable during the use of the Freehand tool are: Color, Minimum Length of Stitch and Maximum Length of Stitch.
There are several ways of how to change value of the stitch length controls (left/right click on the number or on the icon). They are used in the same way as those in the Parameters window.
Please note: When freehand drawing is finished, strokes are no longer available as a 'freehand objects'. They are automatically converted into respective vector objects like manual stitches, fill or column and their parameters are accessible via respective tabs in the Parameters window.
Outline-type styles include : Outline, Sketch Outline and Connection.
Parameters that are adjustable during the use of the Freehand tool are: Color, Minimum Length of Stitch, Maximum Length of Stitch, Width of the Outline (not available for Connection) and Outline Sample (not available for Sketch Outline and Connection).
Column-type styles include : Column and Pressure-sensitive width column.
Parameters that are adjustable during the use of the Freehand tool are: Color, Minimum Width of Column, Maximum Width of Column, Tablet pressure option to switch on/off tablet, and Simulated Width combo box.
If tablet is present, width of the pressure-sensitive column varies from minimum to maximum column width value, according to the real pen pressure. Simulated width combo box is disabled.
If tablet is not present (mouse is used for the drawing) or if tablet pen pressure is disabled by un-checking the Tablet pressure option, Width of the pressure-sensitive column is defined by selected stroke sample from the Simulated Width combo box (picture below).
Fill-type styles include : Fill, Sfumato and Opening.
There is also Carving style, which is created like outline, but is serves to add texture lines to fill or sfumato objects. Both opening and carving objects must follow after fill or sfumato objects. They are not stand-alone objects.
The only parameter that is adjustable during the use of the Freehand tool is Color. The rest of parameters can be accessed only after finishing the freehand mode, using the common Parameters window.