Digitizing your own embroidery designs just became very easy!
You've probably been wanting to digitize your own embroidery designs for some time now, but digitizing software has been too expensive and too difficult to operate. Not any more! Now Buzz2Stitches - created by the folks who created BuzzTools, one of the most trusted names in the embroidery industry - makes turning any graphic or clip art into an embroidered design easy! Buzz2Stitches accepts the most common graphic formats and creates embroidered designs in the popular embroidery machine formats.
When I first opened the software, I started with a design that was, in retrospect, too easy. I asked the software to digitize an outline of the state of Alabama. Needless to say, it created a perfectly digitized design that sewed flawlessly. Still, I've seen other products that couldn't do as well. However, what I wanted to check out was how the software joined the various sharp curves in the outline, and how well the thin outline covered the fill stitching below. From a professional digitizers standpoint - and I was one for many years - this was a critical requisite for the software before I would look any further. It manage to cover the fill perfectly, and the various satin joins were made either the same way as I would have done, or in a more than acceptable manner. Chalk one up for Buzz2Stitches.
So I decided my next project should be one destined to make the software fail. I grabbed the "eagle head" clip-art from Arts & Letters Express and asked Buzz2Stitches to try and digitize that. I've done the same piece myself on my professional digitizing software that cost me over $10,000 many years back. I remember it took me about 2 -3 hours to complete. I figured I was about to see this new software crash and burn, but to my surprise, about 5 seconds after I clicked the final "Finish" button on the initial wizard, There was a rendition of the eagle.
Mind you, it didn't do the eagle the same way I had done it with my professional equipment. When I digitized that piece, I used a specialty "Feather" stitch that gave the eagle a special 3D look. It was time consuming, and wasn't as perfect as I'd have liked, but it was nice enough that many of the digitizing community of the day "Oo-oohed" and "Aa-ahed" over it just the same. But did Buzz2Stitches crash & burn? Not a chance. I think most embroiderers would be thrilled with these results. The only thing I didn't like about this eagle is that I would have digitized it with a thin, running stitch outline. This one came out with a very thin satin-stitch outline. However, to my surprise - and to the credit of my maintenance of my old 1985 Ultramatic Jr. proofing machine (what can I say? it still runs!) - it sewed out beautifully, without a single thread break. I discovered that you can control whether you get a satin-stitch outline or running stitches on the 5th screen of the wizard, so I grabbed another piece of clip-art and started again.
OK, I was on a roll. Could I really digitize complex designs that formally took hours - in seconds - with great results? Next I tried a graphic of a stealth bomber. This one would be very small - I had made the eagle 3.5" wide, and it was actually bigger than I would have wanted. - Of course, redigitizing would only be a 10 second job if I wanted to do so. But I adjusted the outline width to get a running stitch outline on this one, and the results were again, very acceptable.
Next, I wanted to try a different setting. I had been using only "cartoon style" digitizing, so I created a logo, and asked Buzz2Stitches to sew this out using the "Text" style function. I was mostly impressed. The software plotted it's sewing path as well as I would have, used "closest-point" connections and followed most of the rules for digitizing text - until it got to the "g" in "logo." A professional digitizer would normally use a "c" and "bar" digitizing style to create a lower-case "g." But the computer couldn't figure this one out, and created the "g" with fill stitches. I'd guess that most people interested in this software wouldn't care about that, and personally, I realized I could edit this small discrepancy faster and easier than I could have digitized the job, so I was still quite happy.
So how far could this software go? I had a piece of clip-art on my computer that I'd been meaning to digitize for years now. It's an incredibly complex logo for the local high school mascot - The "Grand Rapids Thunderhawks." Where you get a "thunderhawk," I don't know, but I knew I was looking at about 3 days work whenever I decided to digitize this in my professional software, so I found the clip and let Buzz2Stitches have a go at it.
So was I jumping for joy to find that Buzz2Stitches had digitized this incredibly complex piece in under a minute? Sorry, not this time. Oh, it created a piece of digitized work that approximated the art alright, but nothing I'd sew out and wear. I'm afraid this one is just too complex for anything short of a professional digitizer to handle. In a way, it's nice to know that my kind will still be needed for a little while anyway, but at the same time, the Buzz products folks are famous for keeping their software up to date. They issue free updates for customers to download on a regular basis. I wouldn't doubt that you'll be receiving a number of updates over the years for this software that will make it better and better. Eventually - Who knows? Maybe you'll be kicking out complex designs like this with your copy of Buzz2Stitches on a daily basis
Should you Consider Buzz2Stitches?
I've put Buzz2Stitches through it's paces for 2 days straight now, and despite it's simplicity of operation, I'm still finding a tidbit here and there that I didn't see before. I need to mention that I tested a number of additional pieces of clip-art, and usually got decent results, but the software didn't always do things the way I would have done. For example, I had a graphic of a cardinal, and his yellow eye was surrounded by black feathers. Buzz2Stitches liked to embroider the yellow first, and then have the black meet up to the eye. I'd have digitized the the eye on top of the black, I'd get better detail that way. I couldn't find a setting that changed the software's mind, but the neat thing is, if you also own BuzzEdit, the two programs can work together as a single program, and you can change the sewing order to place the eye on top of the black feathers.
Of course there were a few other designs that I digitized and considered an out-and-out failure, but I'd still have to say this is the best auto-digitizing software I've tested yet. One neat thing about a software product that automatically digitizes from a graphic is that if you don't like how some stitches form in the embroidery file, you can edit the graphic to make changes. That's much easier than editing an embroidery file. Of course, the price tag of just $299 is nothing short of incredible. For the home embroiderer who is looking for an easy solution to create their own designs, who has no digitizing experience, this is a God-send. For a professional embroiderer, I'd say you still need a professional digitizing software, but guess what? Even though this software won't do everything you need, it will digitize some of your simple designs in seconds, where your professional software might take hours - This product can pay for itself in a couple jobs. Think about that.
$299.95 Plus S&H