I would love to use Illustrator to create vectors and convert for embroidery. Can this be done? Most embroidery software seems to be poorly designed or incredibly expensive.
Are you talking about an embroidery pattern? Or are you talking about artwork to be embroidered in color?
I think I would check the program that does the embroidering and see what formats it supports and what version of that format.
Embroidery machines require formats which Illustrator does not export. Some embroidery software can import paths from some formats which Illustrator can export. But just drawing the shapes doesn't really get you very far.
The embroidery machine is dependent upon a file which plots coordinates, in correct sequence, for each stitch. It's not just a simple matter of drawing an outline and then telling the machine to "fill it with stitches." Because there are many kinds of stitch patterns, all of varying density, the code driving the machine has to explicitly tell the machine where to insert the needle for each stitch.
That, in a nutshell, is why you need purpose-built software for designing embroidery patterns with quality results.
No wonder the price is so difficult to find on embroideryi2 , thanks of posting the link. For $3,500 and no mention of if this works with CC, does not seem logical to invest that much
Egads. $3500 just for a vertical-market plug-in?
This is a case-in-point example of why, as a general rule, I've always avoided mission-critical dependency upon third-party add-ons. Given that Illustrator is now only licensed via perpetual rental, that's an example of compounded dependency: Dependency upon an add-on for a particular host program, the use of which is in turn dependent upon your continued rental payments.
I'm not in the embroidery business. But it's among my wife's pretty serious hobby habits. She's having good results with Embrillance StitchArtist. Better, in fact, than some results I've seen in projects jobbed out to commercial embroidery outfits.
(The ugly truth is, just as in sign-vinyl cutting and other NC output environments, a shop may have the best equipment and full expertise in operating it, but their "front end" staff may still have little or no expertise in vector graphics. I have seen, for example, commercial embroidery shops take the clean vector artwork supplied to them, rasterize it, and autotrace it in their "digitizing" workflow.)
So I do the vector-based artwork in whatever drawing program I feel like using; she imports it into StitchArtist to configure the stitching.
StitchArtist is offered in three versions ("Levels") of increasing functionality, with cross-level upgrades (at break-even pricing) should you find you need or want the next "level" of built-in features. The middle version (Level 2) is well under $400 and provides all the functionality needed for someone drawing the initial vector artwork in a mainstream drawing program.
So you can do the initial drawing in Illustrator, Corel Draw, Inkscape (free), or whatever other decent Bezier drawing program with which you're comfortable, export it to SVG, import it to StitchArtist with a single click of the Vector... button in the options bar of its main window.
In StitchArtist, she (not I) arranges the paths in the desired stitch order, selects and assigns the plethora of stitch types and detail settings, previews the result in an automatically-generated raster-based shaded simulation of the final result, and even plays the stitching in a stitch-by-stitch animation to watch for and correct technical stitching problems (ex: entry/exit of "jump" stitches). The Level 2 version also provides enough Bezier manipulation capability to make any needed tweaks without having to go back to the drawing program. When satisfied, she exports the actual stitch file in the format appropriate for the target machine(s).
Creating the embroidery-suitable artwork is straightforward for any intermediate-level user of most any mainstream vector drawing program, because you're not going to be using any software-specific "live effects" or the convoluted constructs they generate. You just need to be able to draw clean, tidy, accurate and efficient paths (don't autotrace), understand the fundamental constructs of drawing with Bezier paths (open versus closed; simple versus compound, path direction, fill rules, etc.), and otherwise bear a common-sense awareness of the physical limitations and requirements of the fabric and thread medium.
For example, depending on the stitch plan, you may sometimes need a duplicate path; a compound path to be filled with "satin" stitches and another to outline it with "running" stitches (which pretty much exhausts my knowledge of the myriad stitch types, patterns, and settings.)
Thanks for the heads-up on the app, JET. Been looking for something like this for my sister.
Excelent insight JET, Embriliance Stitch Artist Level 3 with current price of $700 ($650 in sale) looks like an affordable option, But after some research I found Embird, a $165 basic software that only needs its Font Engine plug in ($145 extra), to give you vector import capabilities for a little over $300. Never tried neither of them, but I'm downloading the Embird trials to check if it is worth it. Will keep you posted.
i use illustrator to create or convert vector art and save as *.eps. i have to use a CroelDRAW plug-in called DRAWings to import *.eps files in to for embroidery file creation. DRAWings will assign base fabric, stitch color, and has tons of options for stitch type, stitch patterns, underlay (bleed), thread color selections, stitch density, and file export types. Export as *.dst file and send to the embroidery machines.
upgrade pricing is $399, full version is $1799
i did find this illustrator plug in demo, but have not used it...
You can use Illustrator to create the vector but you will still need an embroidery software, Embird is good!
All embroidery conversion software’s are poorly designed. You have to buy professional embroidery software (expensive) if you wanna digitize yourself.
Because it’s not a conversion process. Actually, embroidery file has commands of embroidery machine processing. That means machine operates according to the digitized instructions.
And I think it’s much better to get work done from a digitizer instead of buying expensive software.
I’m happy by using these guys https://zeedigitizing.com for my embroidery need. May help
my digitized photo
Several embroidery programs can import Illustrator files. However, you then have to "digitize" these, which implies sometimes doing changes in the vector art, e.g. make stuff overlap a bit or kill too tiny vectors. Also, vectors that are not polygons or lines (e.g. objects with holes), may not always work. I.e. I found out that SVG files from the Noun Project - Icons for Everything are sometimes difficult to digitize despite their simple graphics.
Stitch Era imports Illustrator files nicely through its API, i.e. you must have Illustrator on the same machine. Personally, I rather use SVG since it's an open source format. Stitch Era can be rented for 2 month at about $36. From what I can tell it has all the features of a professional software. However, the program can hang if it encounters weird vectors, typically ones that are produced by tracing raster images like pictures. Clean these first before digitizing and save frequently.
PS: I am neither an expert nor related to Stitch Era, I am just updating some wiki pages and wanted to check if there was progress with converters, i.e. availability of a cheap Illustrator addon. The embroidery software situations is still bleak for people with low budgets. Computerized embroidery - EduTech Wiki .
If you use illustrator to create paths, you can use those paths, still as vectors, if you import them into inkscape and inkstitch. Thoe are free software tools to create stitch files for a lot of machines.
--- Mats ---
The easy way to do this using Processing with PEmbroider (to find the code online Google PEmbroider and Golan Levin, the developer). It's free! It saves out for almost all machines. You need minimal coding ability and the example files are really good. You can learn enough processing in a weekend to do it. If anyone is really desperate, you can find me on Twitter or YouTube. I will make a video very soon documenting my process.