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Embroidery i2

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Old February 12th, 2016, 10:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
Wildgoose Wildgoose is offline
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Default Embroidery i2

I am starting a new thread in hopes of attracting an answer specific to the Embroidery i2 plug-in for Adobe Illustrator.

I am an experienced AI user but am just a fledgling at learning to digitize for embroidery. I prefer to use a mac and the i2 plug-in appears on the surface to be the ticket for those of us in my situation. HOWEVER there is no good way to demo the program without dropping a minimum of $200 on their 1 month demo. I am not skilled at digitizing enough to feel comfortable throwing away 200 clams just to test drive the program. I'm afraid that with my lack of skills and knowledge in digitizing I will not know enough at this point to recognize key missing elements that I would want to have in a program. I am hoping that someone who is a skilled digitizer who uses Wilcom or perhaps a similar well known mainstay program AND who is also versed in Adobe Illustrator well enough to not be hampered by it's well documented steep learning curve that has evaluated the i2 plug-in. I am finding this to be a tall order as no review I have read seems to meet this criteria. I plan to spend the next several years learning to digitize and I would prefer to do it on my mac and with a program that in the end will have ALL the same capabilities of the venerated Wilcom program. I don't want something that is just a bunch of automated tools and not fully capable of all the things you pro's do with the dedicated programs. Conversely it would be foolish for someone unfamiliar with AI to attempt to review this plug-in due to the extreme nature of learning AI (often taking years of itself to master) as they would just be frustrated out of their minds with the AI methods of operation. The vectorization and line drawing capabilities of AI would make child's play of most of that part of the process for a guy like me who does that all the time in AI.

In short I don't really want to have to learn a complete new program that would also require me to purchase and maintain another computer if I can avoid it. Think of it in this way, You want the newest hottest program on the market that is purported to be the do-all end-all you could ever own (this is Wilcom) however it only runs on a Linux based format so you will be having to set up and learn Linux in order to use it. That is about the best comparison that I can come up with of where I sit. I hate Windows. I have a laptop with windows 7 although it is suspect and runs slow and I rarely use it for anything important. I absolutely don't want to have to spend many hours over many years plucking away on that thing or one similar when I have my beautiful mac sitting there. I am pretty disappointed with the Pulse family of products that has no cost free trial available and can completely see why there are not very many users out there. $200 is nearly 6% of the total $3500 purchase price. That's like having to spend $1500 to test drive a car. Even though you could apply 100% of that money to the final purchase if you decided you liked the car would you take the drive? I wouldn't, then throw in the added curve ball that you are new to driving and not sure what kind of car you really want to end up with once you perfect your driving skill and say that whatever car you buy you may be stuck driving the rest of your life. Silly marketing campaign IMO. I would love it if they had a non working demo where you could design all you wanted but couldn't export a working file. That would make more sense and let you spend a little time on the test drive without any risk of hard earned money. <rant complete>

So if anyone who fits the narrow confines of this query happen along I would LOVE to hear from you. I have posted this on another forum as well and am hoping for the right person to chime it. At the end of the day can this i2 program do all the things you would be able to do with Wilcom or similar? That is the question. I will eventually take the $200 test drive but not until I feel I know what I need to know and I hate having to fumble around with a totally new program over on my windows laptop in the meantime. (currently own IDS, and I thin it is lacking as well as frustrating in the vector design department)

Paul
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Old February 14th, 2017, 02:22 AM   #2 (permalink)
mari_asu mari_asu is offline
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Default Re: Embroidery i2

Paul, have you tested that I2 software? I'm new to embroidery and wanted to know if that software is any good. I know Illustrator very well, but very limited on funds so don't want to waste $200 for nothing. Thank you!
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Old February 14th, 2017, 11:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
digidana digidana is offline
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Default Re: Embroidery i2

hey paul. not sure if this will help or not. i don't know i2. i didn't even know that illustrator HAD an embroidery plug in. but i watched a 10 minute tutorial of it on youtube and i have some thoughts.

my first thought was that the tutorial seemed to work fine on the perfect artwork that they were using. what happens when your customer sends you crappy artwork, or a picture of a sewout on a garment that isn't laid flat. would you have to create an illustrator drawing if it first and then digitize it? i think there are some digitizers out there that only work from great artwork, or will create artwork from the original to digitize from. i never have. i do the drawing and straightening while i'm doing the digitizing. to me it seems like having to draw it first, THEN digitize would be a waste of time.

from what i saw on the youtube....it looks like i2 does all of the basics. different stitch types, you can set densities, stitch direction, etc. it has some of the fancy stuff too...fill stitches with patterns, motif runs. but honestly, in the 20 years i've been digitizing, i could probably count on my hands the number of times i've used that stuff. one thing i would check is to make sure you can create your own keyboard lettering. it does true type fonts, but i didn't like how it did the cornering on letters like "A".

i used a not-so-popular software for 20 years then switched to wilcom last year. in both cases, learning the software wasn't the hard part. the hard part is actually learning the digitizing. pathing, what will work and what won't, etc.

the reason i initially thought about switching to wilcom was because more and more people were using it and wanted the .emb file. then once i did more research on wilcom, it has some pretty great features that i didn't have in my old software. the biggest one i think is that it will read in a dst file and editing is minimal. in my old software, it basically read in a dst file as one big long running stitch. so i couldn't select a satin stitch or a fill and change any of the parameters.

i would also ask about editing files. how hard is it to move one group of stitches before or after another? how do you remove a block of fill stitches from underneath another block of fill stitches? can you create your own default parameters for fill/satin stitches? can you view just satin stitches or just fill stitches? can you choose hard or soft nodes? i only saw hard nodes in the youtube. does it add lock stitches with a trim?

i would also ask about support, training, do they charge for updates, how often do they send out updates? this was another reason i switched to wilcom. my old software company just kind of quit growing and seemed to have lost interested in the digitizing software.

so...my thoughts are, that if you're serious about getting into digitizing, come up with a list of questions, see how they answer them. find a way to see the software work. whether its through another digitizer that uses it, or maybe at a show? maybe they could do a demo video for you showing answers to your questions. if working on a mac is priority number one and you're familiar with illustrator, then i would say that its your best bet. hope this helps!
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