PE-Design Embroidery Digitizing Software: Getting Started
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Posted: Saturday, October 08, 2005
by Deb Schneider
Windstar Embroidery Designs
What is PE-Design?PE-Design is an embroidery digitizing software system available from Brother dealers and though the 'PE' stands for Personal Embroidery, don't let that fool you. It's a robust system that allows for some pretty advanced digitizing and embroidery and is an excellent program to begin learning the art of embroidery digitizing. The Graphical User Interface (GUI) or What-You-See/Interact-With-On-The-Screen is colorful with large, intuitive buttons and fly-outs. It's also organized very well with no clutter for a large workspace.
PE-Design allows the digitizer to convert a digital picture to stitches and save it in a format that can be read by the computer in your embroidery machine. The image can be one you've hand drawn and scanned, one created in another imaging program such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, or JASC Paint Shop Pro, one you've captured (legally, of course) from the Internet, a CD or floppy, or a digital snapshot from your digital camera. Whatever the case, the original image must be in .jpg, .gif or .bmp format.
The PE-Design full product package includes a card reader/writer. It must be plugged into a USB port in order for the program to run. Though you can install the program on any machine, it can only function on the machine where the reader/writer is installed.
Once you've created your design, you can save it in Brother (*.PES), Husqvarna/Viking (*.HUS), Melo (*.EXP), Tajima (*.DST) and Pfaff (*.PCS) formats. It is a Brother product, so its native format is PES.
What Does It Cost?
The program will probably run you somewhere between $1,000.00 and $1,200.00, but if you are purchasing an embroidery machine or are a good customer of the shop and don't mind a little dickering, you might be able to negotiate a substantial savings. It never hurts to try. Here's a tip: Before you buy ask your dealer if any major upgrades to the software have been announced. If a major upgrade is forthcoming and you are in no hurry, you may want to postpone your purchase. Major upgrades come with a price, usually in the range of $250.00 to $300.00, and must be purchased from a Brother dealer. Though a major upgrade is usually worth the investment, you don't want to purchase the software one month just to have to shell out more money a few months later. Minor upgrades, from the current version 6.0 to version 6.03 for instance, are free, and are downloaded from the Brother web site.
Commercial or Home-based?
PE-Design is designed with the home-based digitizer and personal embroiderer in mind. That means that many functions or settings are automatic with limited manual control available to the digitizer. Commercial digitizing software is just the opposite: Functions and settings are in the hands of the digitizer and automatic settings can be adjusted and saved. Of course, commercial digitizing software will cost five to twenty times more than PE-Design. Still, in the hands of a skilled and creative digitizer, PE-Design produces excellent embroidery designs.
Beginning to Digitize
As with any sophisticated software be prepared to practice, practice, practice and use your creativity to explore and push the program to its limits. Learn the fundamentals of what makes a design sew out perfectly, then look at the designs you like with an analytical eye. Ask, "How did they do that?" and try to recreate the technique. With time you'll develop your own style and find your digitizing niche.
Many shops offer digitizing classes. Ask to sit in for free on a few before making a time or financial commitment. If all the instructor does is follow the booklet that came with the software, save your money. You'll probably teach yourself quicker.
Speaking of the manual: It is 262 pages and was obviously written by a team very familiar with PE-Design and the English language. It is well organized with plenty of images and screenshots, is very easy to read and covers the basic use of every tool in depth. It is not a digitizing teacher. Use it to learn the tools, it won't take long, then practice, practice, practice.
The Bottom Line
If you are interested and excited about learning to digitize your own embroidery designs, whether for personal use or to sell, I think PE-Design is a wonderful way to get started. Its reasonable entry fee and easy to use and learn interface, will allow you to reach new creative heights in all your embroideries.
Machine embroidery design digitizer Deb Schneider offers her embroidery designs and PE-Design training on her website, Windstar Embroidery.
This Article has been viewed 41,534 times. (Not updated in real-time.)More comments
» left by Donna Jones from Lake Charles, La. 3 years 86 days ago.
I have pe design 6.0. Can I add greek letters to my true type fonts characters. I have seen a menu where you can click greek and the letter will be added to that font charaters. Can you tell me how to get to that menu in pe design?» left by Anonymous 3 years 86 days ago.
Hi,As far as I know, the only way you can have a font available in your drop down box is to install the True Type font in your Windows font file. Once done, the font would appear in the drop down box in PE-Design and could then be used as a pattern for manually digitizing text.However, the system can attempt to convert these to digitized fonts. But, these letters are not pre-digitized or manually digitized fonts when you use them, they are rendered completely by the software program and in many cases with certain fonts, are poorly converted or completely unusable. In order to create a manually digitized font you would need to do this by hand with the manual punch tools.With the newer version of 7.0v there is a Font Creator module which assists in manually digitizing and saving fonts in proper proportion and style. If you are interested in this function, please visit your local Brother Dealer for a demonstration on how this function works in the newer program versions.Deb SchneiderWindstar Embroidery Designs
» left by Dave Tracey from Tenerife 3 years 52 days ago.
Hi there, I have just decided to get out my Brother 180D machine but i have a problem, I have all the gear the card reader, dongle & the leads but no software, is there anyone out there who could help me. Many Thanks Dave
» left by Anonymous 2 years 279 days ago.
The orginal computer the reader was installed has died. Now what? How can I use the program on a new computer? Do I need to buy a whole new PED? I am sure there have been others with this problem. Computers don't last forever. When mine crashed, this was the only thing I was worried about losing. Any help would be appreciated.» left by Anonymous 2 years 279 days ago.
If you have a registered copy of the Brother PED software program, please see your Brother dealer for assistance. I'm positive that they will be able to help you reinstall your software and security device on a new computer.Deb Schneider
» left by samara from OK 2 years 262 days ago.
Great to find such a helpful site! I just purchased le design 4 off eBay (it was a great deal and I am a beginner with a Brother pe180d.) Will I be able to download fun fonts and Greek sorority letters from online and use them to embroider and to the full 4.5x4.5 size?) Is so, is there a free site that is best to use ...or a great one to buy fonts too? I am going to be doing sorority shirts with names. Thank you so very much!
» left by Rey Perez from Bernalillo,NM 2 years 208 days ago.
Are there any classes being held for digitizing. We have a home based business and purchased our6 head Brothers in July but would like to get training videos or attend classes.
» left by wendy stock from vic australia 1 year 281 days ago.
Ihave pe design 6, when I make a design the folder does not transfer to design data base, how do I make this work
» left by Debbie Goins from Illinois 1 year 13 days ago.
I have pe design 8 and went to one class as well as a couple of one-on-one sessions from the Brother dealer. Getting ready to retire and will have more time, but have forgotten what little I learned already! Is there a PE Design for Dummies type of book? I really don't understand the directions that came with my program.
» left by Chris from Tulsa, OK 357 days 17 hours ago.
I have had PE Design 6 software for many years but haven't used it. I recently created a design and successfully saved it to my card writer. On the embroidery machine display it looks like the design is all there but it only stitches out a portion of it. In the software, Layout and Editing, it stitched out all of it with the stitch simulator. What am I missing?
» left by Chris from Tulsa, OK 357 days 17 hours ago.
I have PE Design 6 but haven't used it until recently. I created a design and saved it successfully to my card writer. The machine display shows the entire design but only stitches out a portion of it. (in Layout and Editing, it "stitches" the entire design using the stitch simulator) What am I missing? Thanks for your help!
» left by Debbie from United Kingdom 318 days 12 hours ago.
I have PE Design 7 and have purchased some font designs. Can you tell me if it is possible to import these files in to font directory and if so how is this done so that I would be able to type a complete word or is it only possible to import one letter at a time.