Process images

The auto-digitizing tools provide everything necessary to automatically digitize shapes in electronic artwork without manual input methods. Even if your artwork looks ready to stitch when inserted into the software, however, it will need to be image-processed before conversion. Processing makes it easier for the software to recognize distinct areas in the artwork. These areas then become the embroidery objects of the finished design.

The image preparation process does the following:

  • Reduces colors to a specified number
  • Reduces each block to a single color
  • Removes anti-aliasing, noise and dithering
  • Sharpens outlines.
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Depending on the quality of the scanned image, you may need to touch it up manually before processing in your software You would normally do this in order to eliminate backgrounds, flood-fill solid areas with color, or add outlines, close gaps, or reinforce outlines. See also Edit artwork.


Use Artwork > Prepare Artwork for Embroidery to prepare bitmap images for automatic digitizing by reducing colors, removing image ‘noise’, and sharpening outlines.

Prepare artwork for embroidery

Use the Prepare Artwork for Embroidery tool to prepare images for automatic digitizing. This function automatically flattens colors, sharpens outlines, and reduces noise. Areas enclosed by a black outline are reduced to a single color. To prepare images...

  • Scan or import the image to use. See also Supported artwork.
  • Depending on the source, you may find dithering, anti-aliasing, or other sources of 'noise' in the image. If the image contains outlines, these will generally be 'blurred' by anti-aliasing.
  • Select the image and click the Prepare Artwork for Embroidery icon. The image appears in both ‘before’ and ‘after’ preview panels. Note the number of colors in the original. The software automatically detects the main color blocks and reduces colors accordingly, as shown in preview.
  • Use the scroll button on your mouse to zoom in and inspect details.
  • If there appear to be too few colors to provide all the detail you want, use 'Processing options' to increase color count.
  • Manually locate and merge like-colors as necessary:
    • Holding the <Ctrl> key, click like-colors to select.
    • Click and hold 'Locate' to preview.
    • Click 'Merge' to merge like-colors into a single color.
  • The 'Min color area' setting affects the size of color area used to generate embroidery objects. While it doesn’t affect the image, it does affect the embroidery result by filtering out smaller areas of color. A smaller tolerance generally results in more detail and a greater number of embroidery objects. Selecting a larger tolerance generally results in slightly less detail but reduces the number of embroidery objects. It is useful for 'noisy' images with lots of small areas. It works best with JPG files which are inherently more noisy.

  • Click OK to process the image. Image colors should be reduced as per the preview. The artwork can now be auto-digitized. See Auto-digitize embroidery.

Use Artwork > Save Artwork As to save a backdrop as a separate file after image processing and/or editing.

Save processed artwork

All images placed in the design window, whether by scanning, pasting or inserting from hard disk, are saved together with the embroidery design in the EMB file. After editing in the embroidery software or third-party graphics application, you may want to save the image out as a separate file. To save a backdrop as a separate file...

  • Select the image.
  • Click the Save Artwork icon. The Export dialog opens.
  • In the Save In field, select a folder, then select a format from the Save as type dropdown list.
  • Enter a new file name and click Export.
  • This file is not referenced by the EMB file. Any further changes to it are not reflected in the embedded image.