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Embroidery Digitizing Software – Update #1

(written by Jason)

Well, so far NOT so good.  I got the software all loaded up, downloaded the patches from Janome and got it all patched up as well.  I started it up and it seemed to be working, so I moved on to cleaning up the logo that I was going to auto-digitize.

I use Gimp for image manipulation, not because it’s easy to use, which it isn’t, but because it will do just about anything, which includes converting an image from 24 or 32-bit BMP to an indexed BMP of 2 colors.  You’ve got to clean the image up after conversion to get it looking like you want, but it gets the job done.

So, I pulled up my logo in Gimp, converted to 2-color indexed, and spent about 30 minutes editing pixels that I knew would cause problems with the Janome software.  I actually had it looking pretty good, and had high hopes that the Janome software would be able to do most of the design cleanly and not have a lot of manual work to do after.

I switched back to the Janome software and inserted my image.  Looking good.  Time to digitize.  Unfortunately the “Click to Design” option on the menus was greyed out.  I dug into the manual, and clearly I should be able to digitize at this point.  I tried it again – same results.

Finally I went to Janome’s site and searched the Forums.  After doing some reading, I found out that I need access codes for the USB license key that comes with the software.  Without the USB key inserted, the software won’t even load or run.  Amazingly enough, it isn’t good enough to just have the USB key, you have to also load access codes onto it to be able to use the more advanced features of the software.

Now, I have opinions about hardware license keys, but in general, I can’t stand them.  It’s another thing to keep track of.  But if that’s what it takes, I can deal with it.  Superglue a cord to it and tie it to the computer somehow, whatever.

What really gets on my nerves is that I spent all this time prepping the image and loading and patching the software, and I can’t do anything with it.  I like my gratification instant, and having to wait for the Janome dealer to try and come up with access codes isn’t making me very happy.  I’m even a little concerned that she won’t be able to come up with them and I’ll have spent the time for nothing.

But, I try to tell myself, any lesson learned it worth learning.  Even if we can’t get the codes and we’re back to square one, I’ll have learned a few things.  I should have tested the software when I first loaded it, before I spent all the time patching it and prepping the image.  I’d have known right away that we had a problem and wouldn’t have done all the other work.

2 Responses to Embroidery Digitizing Software – Update #1

  1. The only software I have from Janome is Customizer, but haven’t been really impressed. Worthless program for my 400 bucks. Would Embird work for your needs? It’s so much cheaper and does a lot of stuff. It’s a great program. You may need Editor on top of the basic program, but even for the additional price, it’s worth it.

    You can get a 30 day trial of both the basic Embird. Just enjoyed reading your entries when I found your blog and thought you might like the info.

    I hated paying the money for the Viking 4D Extra software I bought when purchased my Topaz for more embroidery space than the Janome 350e, but even the basic software that comes with the machine will convert formats which my 400 dollar Customizer can’t do.

  2. Unfortunately Embird doesn’t seem to be able to auto-digitize. We’re hoping to have at least a majority of the design automated with minimal cleanup. I’m not sure how reasonable that is to wish for. The Digitizer software would have been our first attempt.

    Customizer came with our 350e. I don’t think it’s really meant to do much other than simple combining of designs, some font work, and +/-10% scaling of existing designs. I can’t imagine paying $400 for it, so I’m glad it was included.

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