Product Selection Guide
If you haven’t quite got a handle on the basic concepts, don’t forget to read our Embroidery Software Basics guide.
If you do have a basic understanding, or got here from there, read on!
Thumbnailer – You will want this
Thumbnailer lets you view embroidery designs in your OS so that as you browse around your computer, you can see the designs without having to open them. Who should own Thumbnailer? Every embroiderer. You will have tons of files and need to identify them easily. Thumbnailer is like having a favorite sewing notion, a great pair of thread snips, or a comfy pen: A simple, inexpensive, amazingly handy thing at your service all the time.
Before we get specific about product titles, the Embrilliance Platform is one program that every embroiderer owns, should own and must know about. The platform is a program that opens designs, lets you type lettering create designs and more, depending on what products you have purchased/licensed.
The Platform can be run in Express mode, which is free to all. Express mode allows the use of .BX installed fonts (every major embroidery font designer has .BX available.) Years ago we realized the world of lettering was difficult – for those selling letter designs, as well as those using them. So we made, for free, a tool to help letter makers map their designs to the keyboard, and Express mode, also free, lets anyone use those fonts as easily as typing. For this reason most of the modern embroidery world uses the Embrilliance Platform, even if it is in the free mode.
Essentials – Start with this, usually
Merge an existing design. Colorize it. Resize it (while maintaining proper density). Add keyboard lettering. These are the basic Essentials – just those simple things that every embroiderer needs to do quite often. But there’s so much more to the world of embroidery, and anything that is seen by us as a common everyday task, we handle that with Essentials. There are so many things built into it, you’ll not discover them all.
Examples: Sending designs to wireless machines, or making specialized USB files for older Vikings. Removing overlapped stitches for smoother sewing when multiple designs are merged, or stacked applique is created. Using applique stitches to create cutting files for electronic cutters such as CriCut, Scan ‘n Sew, and Silhouette. Simulating the stitchout process and being able to insert stops, or remove sections of continuous sewing between stops. Converting design colors to favorite thread brands. Converting to all embroidery formats. Printing templates. And it includes fonts and envelopes to shape lettering for all kinds of projects.
When you don’t want to be a fully-skilled digitizer, but do want to add stitches, borders, applique and other elements, then get StitchArtist Level 1. Combining this with Essentials is a powerful tool with lots of easy and creative tools.
When you’re ready to learn about crafting designs and/or need an inexpensive logo creation tool, StitchArtist Level 2 is for you. You can create just about any design with SA Level 2. If you want to digitize, this is the tool.
StitchArtist Level 3 is for a higher level user – those familiar with graphics tools or other production level digitizing tools will be amazed at what’s included. You can publish your own fonts, for example, at no extra cost, and the fonts have Digital signatures to show you are the copyright holder. Use stylesheets, have more choices for stitch generation, and higher-level graphical operators to be the ultimate in design creation.
And, yes, you can upgrade through the levels of StitchArtist. You can do so at the same cost as purchasing the higher level outright. That means as your confidence goes up, you can add to your tools with ease.
When you want to do more automated design customizing than what’s provided in Essentials, you are looking at Enthusiast. It adds many utilities including our famous automatic Knockdown™ stitching, which flattens the pile of terry or other nap fabric so the design will stand out. There are extra tools for thread palette creation, mirroring in carousel and more.
Have you collected embroidery design fonts? Lots of embroiderers have, and know they’re hard to use. AlphaTricks lets you map sets of lettering designs into a keyboard font: You can type with it, size it, colorize and even put it into templates or make subway art. If you have collected .BX-installed stitch fonts, you can also rename those to help organize.
You got fonts? You need AlphaTricks.
For those of you suffering with collections of stock designs, DRK is an automatic way to reduce the stitch count, add flexibility to the design, and ensure sew-ability. Its patented features relieve stitch count and display ‘inside’ the design so you can see areas of trouble, including a density map, which resembles a weather RADAR look into your design. You can further refine density within individual colors and apply filters to them in order to achieve flatter-sewing relaxed embroidery, when starting with stock designs that are problematic.
Remember that these products all work inside the Embrilliance Platform. You purchase a license which consists of a serial number. The program has an option on the Help menu to allow you to add serial numbers. Do that and then restart the program, and the additional features will be available.
The products don’t really overlap – they do their own jobs, but all within the platform. There isn’t a Good, Better, Best strategy in place, except for the fact the StitchArtist is available in levels. Therefore, Enthusiast doesn’t do what Essentials does, and vice-versa.
So, Back to Me? What do I get?
If you have a machine and you want to play, get Essentials. You will not go wrong.
If you collect designs, get Thumbnailer. Usually, more experienced design collectors have thousands upon thousands of designs to look through.
Graphic Artist? Get StitchArtist 2 (Or 3 depending on your budget and skillset) especially if you are making your own artistic designs. If you want to add your work to others, probably add Essentials. There are so many things it does, that you’ll find yourself wanting it before long. If you consider yourself advanced in graphic tools, go right to 3. You’ll find that, even though it is more costly, it is a better value because so much is in it.
Commercial/stock design user? Get Density Repair Kit (DRK) for design correction of density issues, and Essentials for design sizing, which you won’t understand how you lived without all this time. And our sizing does not kill the fill patterns or create such messes as you may have seen with other products.
AccuQuilt fan? We have a set of shapes, created in concert with AccuQuilt, to allow your embroidery machine to stitch pieces cut with those dies. Also, you can unlock those shapes to resize them and make your own versions, even cut on an electronic cutter.
We hope this helps!
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