Trace Tool

Studio includes Trace Tool for conversion of raster image into vector embroidery design. This chapter describes the trace tool controls. Another chapter with Trace Tool tutorial is available further.

Main Features

Trace tool allows to convert bitmap image (raster image) to vector design without redrawing the image manually.

Trace tool works in a several steps: 1. selection of consistently colored area (pixels of raster image), 2. turning of selected raster areas into vector objects, 3. filling vector objects with stitches. User specifies the color "tolerance" for selection of raster pixels and "simplicity" of created vector object. High image resolution and low gradation of colors are required to create quality design with the trace tool. Result is an embroidery design that can include various embroidery styles like outlines, fills, columns and sfumato objects.

After conversion, traced objects can be edited as other vector objects in Studio (node by node). When creating embroidery design, the Trace tool can be combined with any other tool in the Studio.

Embird Studio - Trace Tool

Example of image suitable for digitizing with the Trace tool.

Like other creation tools in Studio, the Trace tool can be used with various display modes (Normal, Vector, 3D, 3D Matte, Flat) to display imported raster image behind the digitized design as a template for digitizing, or preview created design in 3D.

Embird Studio - Trace Tool

Before you start selecting the area with the Trace tool, you should choose embroidery style you want to use. Click right mouse button the Trace icon (in the Tool Bar). Panel with Trace styles will appear (picture below). This panel can be invoked also by holding the left mouse button depressed about 1 second on the Trace icon.

Each style is represented by its icon. Hover the cursor over the icon to display the style name. Select desired Trace style and tool will be activated automatically. Studio will switch to raster selection mode.

Embird Studio - Trace ToolEmbird Studio - Trace Tool

Trace styles can be accessed by clicking right mouse button  the Trace icon.

1. Outline, 2. Column, 3. Fill, 4. Sfumato, 5. Carving

Click left mouse button the Trace tool icon to start the Trace mode. First step is to select color areas (objects) from the raster image in the work area of Studio. Cursor with a little black cross and style icon appears in the work area. Click the left mouse button to select an object. Selection options allow to change the way of how the Trace tool behaves by each selection. It is possible to define whether to make new selection and discard any existing selection or add objects of different color to selection, select non-contiguous areas of the same color at once (add similar option), subtract object from selection or intersect the object from selection.

When selection of raster object(s) is complete and all parameters and options are set, click Apply or Generate Stitches button from button bar at top side of the Studio screen, or click right mouse button on the work area to open a pop-up menu with the same options. Raster objects are converted to vector objects and optionally filled with stitches. Carving objects are created like outlines, but they must follow after the fill or sfumato object, as they serve to add texture to those objects. Carvings are not a stand-alone objects. The icon of Carving style (in Trace tool panel) is grayed out if there is no fill or sfumato object in the work area.

Common Options and Parameters

When the Trace tool is active, parameters of respective style are displayed on panel at the right side of the Studio window. Most of options and parameters like color, tolerance, simplicity, edge type and selection options are common to all styles.

Embird Studio - Trace Tool

Auto Color - if the check box "Auto Color" is checked, the color of created vector object(s) is picked from the raster image automatically. Uncheck this option and click the color box to choose the color from palette or define your own color of vector object(s).

Tolerance - defines the color similarity rate used for selection of pixels from the raster image. The value of tolerance is ranging from 0 to 100. Set a low value to select only pixels of a very similar color or set a higher value to select pixels with more different colors.

Embird Studio - Trace Tool     Embird Studio - Trace Tool

Left side: selection made with lower color Tolerance.

Right side: selection made with higher color Tolerance.

Simplicity - defines the complexity/fidelity ratio of object(s) created with the Trace tool. The value of simplicity is ranging from 0 to 15. Set a lower value to get object with high number of nodes and better accuracy. Such object, however, is harder to edit. For easier editing, set a higher value to obtain object with a lower accuracy and low number of nodes. Default value of simplicity is 7.

Embird Studio - Trace Tool

Left side: object vectorized with Simplicity=3.

Right side: object vectorized with Simplicity=12.

Edge Type -  the edges of created vector object(s) can be composed either from lines or curves - depending on the "Edge Type" setting . Select the "curve" edge type to obtain curve elements, which have also the middle points allowing you to change their shape in Edit mode.

Ignore Openings - if the check box "Ignore Opening" is checked, openings (holes) are ignored in the created vector object(s). This option is useful to create overall vector object without holes, assuming that there will be another objects digitized on top of this one, instead of holes (see below example). Uncheck the option to retain openings in objects. (Option is available only for Fill, Sfumato and Column style).

Embird Studio - Trace Tool  Embird Studio - Trace Tool  Embird Studio - Trace Tool

Left side: raster image.
Middle: overall fill object without openings (holes).
Right side: column objects on top of the overall white fill.

Meaning of the Selection options is as follows:

   (Only one of above options can be active at once)

Outline Parameters

Besides common parameters and options, outline objects have several specific parameters. They are identical to parameters accessible via Parameters window, but are duplicated here for easier access

Embird Studio - Trace Tool

  1. Minimum Length of Stitch - measured in millimeters, defines the shortest stitches generated when compiling Outline object into actual stitches.
  2. Maximum Length of Stitch - measured in millimeters, defines the longest stitches generated when compiling Outline object into actual stitches.
  3. Width of the Outline Sample - measured in millimeters, is the width of reference cells along the outline to which the stitches are projected. It is not necessarily the width of finished outline, because projected stitch sample can be wider or narrower than reference cells. Negative value of "Width of the Outline Sample" mirrors the sample. To adjust parameters 1-3, depress the left mouse button on respective value to increase it, or depress the right mouse button to decrease it. Another way is to click on respective icon to open window for setting the value with slider or keyboard.
  4. Outline Sample - outline samples are stitch patterns repeated along the outline. It is possible to set the Single stitch, Triple stitch, Redwork outline or choose from several samples listed in combo box. User can even create and save with design up to five "User Defined" samples.

Other Parameters

Other parameters of vector objects created with Trace tool, like density, angle of stitches, gradient, etc. can be accessed only after finishing the Trace mode, using the common Parameters window.