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Embroidery Digitizing Software – Update #3

We took a right turn in our search for a quality digitizing software.  We had been trying to get a copy of Digitizer 10000 activated, and we’re having much luck.  The last progress we made, Janome wanted us to ship back the hardware key to be replaced.  That would be kinda hard to do, since we didn’t own the software yet, we were just evaluating it from our local dealer.

We visited a different dealer a little farther from home, where we actually bought the 350e that we’re using as our primary machine.  He loaned us a copy of Digitizer Pro to try out.  It’s significantly more money than Digitizer 10000, but sometimes you get what you pay for.  If it’ll auto-digitize and require very few manual adjustments, it might just be worth the money.

This copy of Pro also uses a USB key, which I hate.  On the plus side, the key has a key ring attached, so if we keep it, I’ll tie a string to it and tie the other end to the back of the PC to make sure it can’t walk off.  It was also a fairly old version, so I had to download 2 big updates from Janome’s site to bring it up to date.

I’m not overly impressed by Pro’s ease of use.  What I mean by that is it’s not very intuitive.  Windows software should be “windowsy”.  Right-clicks inside the workspace should bring up context-menus, for instance.  A right-click inside Pro’s EasyEdit adds a stitch instead.  That can be a little troublesome to someone who uses a computer all day long and is used to programs acting a certain way.

But, it’s not impossible to use, once you get used to it.  And, it’s no harder to use than any other embroidery software that I’ve tried so far – none of them are very friendly from what I can tell.  I loaded a 3-color 24-bit bitmap and digitized it fairly cleanly.  Keep in mind, I cleaned that bitmap up ahead of time with Gimp to make sure Pro would have a clean image to work from.  Don’t expect to load some fuzzy bitmap into Pro and have it churn out exactly what you want the first time.  That’s just not realistic.

What I’m really disappointed in is that Pro isn’t able to insert knots and trims for jumps.  Even the free Thred program that hasn’t been updated since 2003 can auto-insert knots.  I would expect a package as expensive as Pro to be able to do the same.  From what I’ve found, though, if I want to be able to insert knots and trims, I have to use another program like Embird.

My advice to Janome – anything that Embird can do that your software can’t do – add it.

We’ve got some more testing to do with Pro of some of the more difficult logos we’ve been asked to do.  Once that’s over we’ll have to make the decision whether to spend the money or not.  It’s a lot of money, and so far we haven’t gotten all that many custom requests.  At our current rate, it would take a long time to make the money back.

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