Digitizing a realistic animal

By: JonRPatrick | Posted: 10th November 2010

One of the biggest challenges faced in embroidery digitizing field is the skill of making realistic animals. Your designs may look dull, flat and boring and it seems impossible to get that real look. But there are some tricks that would bring those furry pets to life. Remember that in order to get a real look, your design must look alive.
We will discuss some extremely important embroidery digitizing tips to get natural fur over that muscle structure.
You can use a drawing or a photo of animal for digitizing. However, when digitizing an animal design for a real look, always use a photo. Suppose you have to digitize a design of a dog for its owner. No matter which picture you take always study it thoroughly to define the path you will take for digitizing and mark the questionable areas and points. Even in a high definition picture, the dark areas might mask the most prominent features of the dog. It is recommended to get a printed photo in hand while digitizing. You have to decide according to the size of the design as to how much details you need to include in the digitizing. Smaller designs are more of a trouble than the large ones. But in large designs if the structure is not defined properly, sew out will come out real flat. In small designs, you have to skip many areas of details so you must have to look and identify some prominent features of the dog or the animal which reflects its personal identity.
You need to study and get familiar with the direction of the hair and muscle structure while digitizing a realistic fur animal. Without the proper hair direction and defined muscle structure, your design is dead. So this is a done deal!
Let us see how we can convert hair and muscle structure into stitches with an embroidery digitizing software. Firstly, create guidelines using some bright and contrasting color using the embroidery digitizing software. I have mentioned bright and contrasting color because you do not want to mix the guidelines drawn with the colors found in the picture. These guide lines will act as a reminder to keep the hair of the fur traveling in right direction as well as to include the particular details which you have planned initially.
Start with digitizing the underlay in the form of run stitches to stabilize the majority of area. In a smaller design follow it with a light density fill stitch. Larger design may require more sections of light density fill stitch with one layer crossing the other one making a grid. This foundation is required to avoid puckers around the design and to contribute to density of the final coverage.
Choosing right stitch type and parameters are the most important things for final appearance of design. For large designs, use sections of complex fill but do not break large objects into multiple sections. Rotate each to maintain the natural direction of hair growth. Column fills stitches work considerably good for both large and small designs. If columns become too narrow, you can use satin stitches. Use satin columns or column fills with a long stitch length to define muscle structure such as legs. Keep the size of objects minimal to grant multiple changes in density and other parameters. Adjust the stitch length according to the length of the animal’s hair. If the animal has got short hair, use shorter stitches and vice versa.
Use these tips and see how this improves your embroidery digitizing ability to create a realistic embroidery animal design.

Mary Kate is the sales and support administrator of Stitch Graphic Interchange. You can find more information or ask her questions about embroidery digitizing on Stitch Graphic Interchange.
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