Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Designing: Importing digital images into StitchPainter

Now that you’ve started to get a good grip on composition and structure, you might want to try importing images into a needlepoint design program. Here’s...More......the same rose that figured in my recent message on outlining the principal shapes and tracing them directly onto the canvas.

“Ooooh, it looks great!,” you might (hopefully) be tempted to say. Yes, it does. It also turns out to be very complicated to stitch because there are at least ten separate colors just in the rose.

Matching those virtual colors with available yarn colors (something else to keep in mind while designing your needlepoint!) turns out to be less difficult than one might expect. At least with the “gold” version of StitchPainter2, an add-on feature allows you to identify the corresponding DMC yarn color (though, since the last program update was, I think, a few years ago, some of the colors in the module may no longer be available). That, for me, still poses a problem because I work in Paternayan yarns, and—though I asked years ago—they still haven’t come up with a Paternayan color module. Yes, I could look up a corresponding color on charts, but, personally, I really don’t want to have to deal with 10 separate colors for each and every part of my designs.

I prefer to try to work with three, sometimes four shades per color, going from light through medium to dark. That means that I have to do a lot of tweaking of images imported into the needlepoint program. In StitchPainter, some of the tweaking can be done across the board (switching one color for another, for example), while some tweaking has to be done square-by-square (for example, cleaning up edges). It is possible to force the program to use fewer colors, but, at least in my experience, the image doesn’t come out well, so there is a lot of square-by-square tidying that is so much like doing the needlepoint, itself, that I feel like I’ve done it, already, when I’ve only finished the design!

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