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Feature Details - Image Importing

The Image Importing feature of Pattern Maker is used to convert a scanned photograph or other graphics image into a new cross-stitch design.  This feature automatically selects colors and uses full stitches to represent the scanned photo or image.  Once imported, the new design can then be manually edited and enhanced as desired.

The source of the graphics image used for importing can be:

  • A scanner.

  • An existing graphics file stored on your computer in one of the following formats:  BMP, JPEG, TIFF, GIF, PCX,  WMF, EMF, EPS (raster only), TGA, PNG, plus more.

  • The Windows clipboard.

When converting a graphics file into a design, the program uses full cross stitches to represent the design.  No other stitch types are used.  The program automatically selects the floss/thread colors based upon the colors in the image.

Importing an image into a cross-stitch design is not an exact science.  The quality of the result depends upon:

  • The detail in the image.  A large amount of detail in the image requires a large number of stitches.  Keep in mind that typical scans of photographs are in the hundreds of DPI (dots per inch) where cross stitch provides effectively 10 to 22 DPI.  It is simply impossible to maintain minute detail unless an enormous design is created.

  • The color in the image.  Some colors convert to floss better than others.  In general, the palette of floss/thread colors is very limited as compared to the range of colors available in an image/photograph.  In addition, the floss colors stored in the program are approximations to the actual colors.

  • The subject of the image.  Images containing people are often the hardest to import since the eye is able to spot subtle irregularities in facial tone and detail.  Inanimate objects and animals are usually less difficult.

  • The amount of refinement.  The best results are obtained when the user experiments with the importing settings.  You should try different settings for the number of stitches and/or stitch size to determine which settings provide the optimum detail.  You should try different color settings to arrive at the optimum palette of colors.   The Interactive Importing method (described below) is designed to help you quickly arrive at the most optimum settings.

  • The expectation of the user.  It must be understood that when converting to cross-stitch, the result is no longer a photograph.  Instead, a completely different medium is used to represent the image/photograph.   In many cases, a stitched cross-stitch design will appear more pleasing when viewed from a distance since the colors tend to blend to the eye.

Two methods are provided for importing.  These include the Importing Wizard and  Interactive Image Importing.   While both provide the same basic options, each provides a slightly different way of presenting the options. 

The Importing Wizard method is good for those wanting the program to lead them thru a step-by-step procedure.  This is helpful when first learning the program.  

The Interactive Image Importing method makes available all importing settings at one time.  The user can modify any setting in any order.  When a setting is changed, the user can then immediately see the result of making that change.  An automatic feature can be enabled so that the imported design is automatically updated after a setting is changed.

The following options/features are available when importing:

  • Color palette to be used by the program when selecting colors.  Several options are available:

    • Specific floss/thread brand such as DMC or Anchor.

    • Specific floss palette created by the user to only include a specific set of colors.

    • The palette of an existing design when importing into that design.

  • Maximum number of colors to use.   Up to 240 colors can be used in a single design.

  • Design size and stitch size.  The size can be specified in stitches or a physical size such as inches or mm.

  • Method used to import.  The typical method is use convert the image into stitches.  However, an image can also be imported as a picture so that it can be traced-over manually.

  • Image adjustments including brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, and cropping.

  • Background selection.  One or more areas can be selected using a 'magic wand' type of tool.  The areas selected are excluded when importing.

  • Foreground selection.  One or more areas can be selected.  These areas are then given more priority when selecting colors.

  • Grid alignment.  The grid alignment feature can be used to align the grid of a scanned chart with the grid of the new design.  This is generally used when importing an image for use as a background for tracing.

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