October '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 8 P R I N T W E A R O C T O B E R 2 0 1 9 2 8 P R I N T W E A R O C T O B E R 2 0 1 9 TUG OF WAR To achieve even coverage, each pixel you digitize should extend under any adjacent pixels that run later in the design, expanded in the direction of the stitch angle. Pull distortion means that stitches naturally get shorter. When digitizers trying to execute this style draw perfect pixels that just meet the gridlines, there's some chance that the pixels may separate and leave gaps. In the dimension perpendicular to the stitch an- gle, you'll pull the edges of the pixel slightly back as the push distortion lengthening of the satin stitch column will extend beyond the on-screen shape, particularly if the 'open' end of the current pixel will be on top of an existing pixel. Also, whenever you encoun- ter an edge, the same compensation rules apply. You'll have to balance push and pull so when the open ends of the pixels push out toward the edge of the design and the closed sides of the design pull in away from that edge of the design they meet along a defined, smooth edge so that no pixel sticks out or drops within the intended edge. This means that the shapes you draw will not be perfectly square, extending on one or both closed sides under a later pixel or beyond the intended edge of the design, but refrain- a piece is (think 16-bit styled art vs. 8-bit art), the more semi-manual labor there will be to digitize the design. You will be able to reuse some pixels, but at this point, the process is far from automated. In preparing my art for this style, you need to consider the size of the individual pixels when determining the finished size of the decoration. We want to avoid overly tiny pixels that are hard to execute. Exceedingly small pixels can become less visible from a normal viewing distance, rendering the textural effect less clear. We also want to avoid pixels so large that our satin stitches are overly long and loose. To accommodate both concerns, I settled on making the pixels in my sample piece 2.5mm square. Being an RPG fan, I decided that a classic slime character would be a fun and simple de- sign to sample for this project. Though I was sorely tempted to recreate something from my favorite 8-bit console era to the format, my desire to keep things entirely above board with copyright led me to look for an open-source alternative. To that end, I searched for a likely candidate from*. With the art in-hand, I grabbed a standard pose from the sprite sheet and resized it to make sure my pixels were sized to 2.5mm and that the slime itself was the desired size for my usage. Most pixel art you'll find doesn't have anything in the way of gridlines. To see where the boundaries of your eventual pixels will be, you'll want to either adjust your software's base grid to reflect the size of your pixels and align your art to the grid, or you'll want to import or draw a grid in your software to lay over the art. No matter how you choose to do so, be sure to have the grid guides on and aligned before you digitize. DOWN TO DIGITIZING With this piece potentially being used for caps, I decided to sequence it from the bottom center of the design moving out toward the edges and top of the decoration to spread out the unstable crown of the hat. Though I didn't sample on caps, a bottom-up, center-out approach future-proofed the design for eventual cap embroidery. I decided to fill the largest area of the slime first, being the medium blue, working my way out to the shaded edges and adding other details after most of the area was filled. EMBROIDERY Erich's Embellishments The mosiac-like texture of the pixel style lends dimension and visual interest, even to this lightly shaded little blob of color. As one moves around the piece, the 'facets' of satin stitch almost shimmer and reveal variations of color due to the way they reflect light. * (Many thanks to Calciumtrice, the contributor who produced the original animated slime sprite I chose to use.)

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