Would You Like To Learn How To Digitize Like A Pro In The Fraction Of The Time It Normally Takes?
Embroiderers! Are you ready to take your embroidery design to the next level? You can make your own designs easily by letting a program do it!
Digitizers! Are you looking for someone or something to help you make sense of your digitizing software? You can master your software and the secrets the pros know for creating beautiful, smooth-sewing designs.
No matter where you are on the embroidery spectrum, you’ll be digitizing your first design within the first few pages of this course. Even if all you’ve done is load the software on your computer and you’ve never ever before digitized
Who Am I To Make Such A Bold Claim?
I’m Lindee Goodall, the founder and former owner of Cactus Punch, a 1997 Impressions Magazine Digitizer of Distinction, winner of the Stitches Magazine 2002 Stitch-Off Creativity award, and veteran guest on many PBS sewing shows.
My love affair with digitizing started in 1994 when I bought a tiny little embroidery machine with very basic digitizing software. And like all love affairs, it had its ups and downs and many battles. Both the machine and program were painful to use, but I persevered because I was hooked. I believed I could make that little machine do anything, all I had to do was figure out how—and I didn't know a soul who knew anything about digitizing.
At first I learned by trial and error and there were many frustrating—even tearful—moments. Even if I wanted to take classes, back then, none were available for home embroiderers. Eventually I found out I needed to go to commercial shows to get bits and pieces. I traveled great distances and when I got home, I spent weeks applying the tidbits I managed to write down in my notes, working out the best way to get the effect I wanted. I have shelves of notebooks crammed full of cryptic notes, quickly sketched ideas, articles ripped from magazines, and PowerPoint presentations from my own classes.
Over the years, I've taught many digitizers, including the ones that worked at the original Cactus Punch, nearly all of whom came to me with absolutely no digitizing experience. Many of you have seen and sewn the work they produced. Many of those digitizers won awards for their work.
Now for the very first time, I've taken that experience and all those notes and organized them into a course so that you too can learn the same skills. This is the course I wanted to have when I was learning to digitize. One that went beyond the manual, led me step by step through making a design, while also explaining why—the underlying theory. A course that also provided information beyond the digitizing process like: What's up with file formats? When and why should you change stitch attributes? What are some design principles you need to know about? How do you work with color? What do you need to know about typography? How do you create realism? What’s the best way to do appliqué?
If you too have a passion for embroidery and a desire to make your own designs, let me share that experience with you—minus the frustrations!
How Do You Create Designs Without Digitizing?
Since the word “digitizing” often conjures up a lot of hard work, it’s a good thing to know that today you have other options for creating your own designs.
One way is to use auto-digitizing software. With these specialized programs, you simply insert your image, click through a few simple dialog boxes, and Voila! Your design appears on screen and ready to send to your sewing machine. With well-chosen artwork, your design sews very well.
That’s why this course is based on Generations digitizing software and why you can create your first design without any prior experience—before you even really get into the course. So at this point, you might be wondering…
Just Why Is A Professional Digitizer Teaching Auto-Digitizing? Isn’t That Sacrilegious?
Let's face it, we live in a time-crunched, fast-food, remote-control, instant gratification society. We want it NOW! Auto-digitizing is the perfect no-brainer, instant reward, effortless way to make an embroidery design. With good auto digitizing software, a total novice with only basic computer skills can make a sewable design with the right artwork.
OK, then so…
If It’s So Easy, Why Would You Need Instruction?
Because at some point, in addition to wanting it now, you will want more. Usually this can be boiled down to more control and more choices. And that's precisely when you need a qualified guide to lead you through the "learning labyrinth."
Why A Labyrinth And Not A Maze?
To qualify as a maze, a design must have choices in the pathways and many of those choices are dead ends. This is what learning any reasonably complex program feels like without a planned approach. You feel lost and you aimlessly try different approaches until you are so frustrated from running into walls that you simply abandon the whole thing concluding it is a hopeless waste of time, money, and effort.
Labyrinths, on the other hand, have one pathway that leads inexorably from the entrance to the goal, albeit often by the most complex and winding of route. You can’t get lost.
Imagine being lost in large, complex, unfamiliar city with lots of one-way streets. Without a GPS, the city is a maze but with a GPS, it becomes a labyrinth. A good instructor with a well-planned course is your GPS and turns a digitizing program maze into a labyrinth. It is still complex but the dead-ends are removed.
Two Kinds of Digitizing Educators
Instructors who teach digitizing generally fall into one of two categories:
- Sewing educators who teach how to use the software, often one particular brand
- Professional digitizers who teach digitizing theory
The Sewing Educator
The first group seldom has a professional digitizing background. They may work for a sewing machine dealer or not even work in a related field at all. They haven't digitized hundreds or thousands of designs that have been sewn successfully by thousands of embroiderers with a wide range of machines and an even wider range of skills. Most of them teach you to be "button pushers" with little or no explanation for why you should—or shouldn't—do something in a particular way. Often they are simply passing on what they've been taught or figured out from the manual.
Have you ever taken a digitizing class where you were taught which buttons to push to create, say, a rose? Your rose might even have sewn out reasonably well but what did you actually learn? Anything that might help you digitize what you really want? Sure, learning all that theory might not seem interesting when all you want to digitize is your cat, but what about the next project and the next and the next one after that?
The Professional Digitizer
The second group, professional digitizers, typically has years of experience creating production friendly designs in high-end, commercial software. They know what is required to produce a design on a cap versus a shirt, they understand pathing, how stitches react on fabric and how to set stitch attributes for optimal results. They teach theory but rarely as it pertains to a particular program, especially home software.
This is exactly what I did for many years. Why? Because "theoretically" (pun intended) students should know how to use their software from reading the manual. And since theory is left out of the manual, this is the obvious content to teach.
The Problem with a Manual
Of course, the problem with the manual is that it is written by someone who knows the software, but possibly knows little or nothing about digitizing. So although the functions of the buttons may be explained, they may not be explained in a way that makes it apparent when or why you might use them. Also. some manuals may not get updated as the software gets revised. Some manuals simply add addendum chapters to the end.
Most digitizers who teach do so as an adjunct to their primary business, which is digitizing. They know their software very well but learning every program on the planet is simply not feasible, let alone cost effective. So these instructors teach what isn't in the manual. This approach works well for someone who has a fair mastery of the software and it streamlines both the teaching and learning process.
The Problem with Digitizing
The problem with digitizing is that most of us have no prior relevant experience when we start. My background was free motion embroidery, a lifetime of sewing, a degree in art, and a decade of computer programming and graphics. All great skills to have for a digitizer but I knew absolutely nothing about creating an embroidery design. Worse, my machine and software came with a woefully inadequate manual and only two designs. No other designs were even available for it!
What Kind of Instructor Should You Look For?
You really need both!
When you're starting at or near ground zero, you need someone who can "translate" the manual into something that makes sense and organize it so you are learning it in the right sequence. Simply working through every menu and tool icon sequentially is just random data, not helpful information. You also need someone to lead you through creating a design and explaining not only what to do but how to do it and why, in other words, the theory.
The Learn to Digitize Training Series is exactly that: digitizing theory in plain English as it applies to learning and using Generations.
How We Learn
Although we often talk about a learning curve and draw it on a graph, learning really expands more in a spiral fashion rather than a slope.
Think of a beautiful garden. Imagine you are suddenly plopped down in the middle of it and you find yourself on a path that spirals outward. As you walk the path, you may see the same flowers several times but each time you see them from a different angle and you notice new things about them. As you begin to relax, you take in the scent of the flowers, the light breeze, and the warming rays of sunlight. You hear the pebbles crunching under your feet. Butterflies and hummingbirds are flitting around. As you amble ever outward, the garden starts to become more familiar, less foreign. If you have a tour guide on your stroll, you’ll learn the names of the various flora and fauna and likely see more than on your own.
Learning to digitize is like walking that garden path. At first you are lost in the software. When you are lost, you automatically tense up and learning is difficult, you feel anxious and frustrated. You may even feel helpless or hopeless. With the right guide however, you begin to see things and learn how to use them, at first in simple ways and as you walk that spiral path, you'll come back to those tools and learn more about them. In just a short time, the software will start to become familiar. You'll learn the landmarks, the icons are recognizable instead of strange unintelligible hieroglyphics, the menus meaningful instead of collections of unknown commands. As you start to relax, your learning will speed up and the spirals become larger.
The more you learn, the more you'll want to use the software. You'll learn to think "in stitches." Once you reach this point, the sky's the limit! Now you can take a theory-only class and you'll be able to apply it immediately. You'll also find that once you've mastered one digitizing program, it is relatively easy to master another. At this point, you're well on your way towards becoming a master digitizer.
So What Is The Secret To Mastering Digitizing?
It's learning the theory and understanding how to apply it in your software. It’s creating and sewing lots of designs. It's being able to analyze those sew outs for quality and knowing the difference between flaws that can be corrected and those that are "an embroidery fact of life."
When you follow this course, you are benefiting from the wisdom and experience of a professional digitizer who has taken the time to learn the same software you use. You can benefit from my insights and experimentation while avoiding the pain of trying to figure out just what the manual means or how a function that's in the software but not in the manual works.
The Ultimate Digitizing Course for Generations Users
In this course you’ll not only have the instructions you need to use the program efficiently, you’ll have the theory to use it effectively. Videos demonstrate the techniques in the software. The workbook/manual provides step-by-step fully illustrated color screen captures. Exercises expand on your learning and review questions lock it in. Each unit starts with a quick start tutorial to whet your appetite for the topic and ends with project to simulate a real world use of the unit’s lessons.
You can do as many or as little of the suggested exercises as you like but I guarantee if you do them all, by the end of the course you will be well on your way to becoming an accomplished digitizer.
The entire course is in PDF format, which makes it easy to search through any of the documents. Hot-linked table of contents and other embedded links make it quick to jump to related information. QuickTime videos play outside of the manual although some units have a few, small embedded videos in the PDF.
This course is specifically designed to follow and expand upon my first e-book, Anatomy of a Design: How to Think Like a Digitizer and Become a Better Embroiderer. In fact, this book is a prerequisite to the Learn to Digitize course.
Is This Course for You?
- Ask yourself the following questionsWould you like to learn to digitize or digitize better?
- Would you like to learn more about Generations in order to create better designs faster?
- Do you live far away from knowledgeable educators?
- Do you have a schedule that prevents attending live classes?
- Do you like to learn in the comfort of your own home whenever it's convenient for you?
- Do you like to learn at your own pace, spending time where you need to and skipping ahead at other times?
- Do you like to have a reference that you can continue to refer to and learn from as your skills grow?
- Would you like to learn not just how to punch buttons in your software but how to really learn to digitize like a pro?
- Would you like to have a professional digitizer who uses your software teach you how to digitize?
If you answered yes to any of the above, then read on…
"you’ve done the BRAIN DUMP I so desperately wanted!!! I have been devouring your units as they are released"
I had the good fortune of taking your “Digitizing 101” Class in Tucson, AZ while you owned Cactus Punch. At the time I remember thinking all I wanted to do was hook up a cord and download your brain into mine…like a computer dump!
The class was thorough, well organized, and so full of information. I also remember thinking there was so much I learned, yet in three days I knew there was much more you had to teach and I had to learn.
Well, I just had to tell you, you’ve done the BRAIN DUMP I so desperately wanted!!! I have been devouring your units as they are released.
You have written what I would truly consider a college course on digitizing for embroidery—I cannot find that at any college or university in the United States!!! I find myself reading over and over again the unit I have just gotten, practicing what I learned, and eagerly anticipating the release of the next unit. You are truly building our skills needed to become digitizers, not just design users and editors.
Thank you, Lindee, for all many hours I imagine you are putting in creating these units. The information I receive far exceeds the minimal cost for each unit (are you sure you are charging enough for all this information?)
I know I would have to literally spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars (not to mention the time for travel and away from home) to get this information piece meal at other seminars and classes. Then I'd have to go back and see if I can put it into practice with no feedback like you are so generously offering.
Thank you, too, for the profound effect you are having on those of us who wish to study under you---you are making it possible for me to actually become a professional digitizer!
What’s In the Course?
The full course is divided into 8 units. Each unit is designed to build on the previous using the spiral method. Topics introduced early on are revisited and expanded upon. Digitizing is best learned at the computer and the sewing machine. Plenty of examples are designed to get you to think and analyze the results. Digitizing is more of an art and a science rather than a series of fixed “recipes” to follow. As you master the software and theory, you will be able to create designs on your own.
All units ship on disc and contain all the necessary pdf files, images, videos, and other content necessary to complete each unit.
Learn To Digitize with Generations Course Overview
"Lindee made it so simple, video, and then step by step instructions”
I just finished the Unit 1: Course Overview for learning to Digitize, training series written by Lindee. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. I have been trying for a few years to learn the Generations Program. (My daughter has been navigating around the program for me.) I wanted to learn, and learn I did. Lindee made it so simple, video, and then step by step instructions. My flower sewed out without any trouble. I am thrilled! I need to go back and try it without the book. If not, I always can do it again. Definitely well worth the price. Thank You, and I will keep reporting on my progress.
Unit 1: Getting Started with Generations
Learning your way around a new territory can be disorienting until you discover the significant landmarks. New and complex programs are no different. Get a guided tour of the Generations workspace. Auto-digitize a design and learn how to change its stitch types, angles and colors.
"I like the combination of text and video"
I have finished Unit 1 and am going to read it again before I start Unit 2.
You have a gift! It's not easy to write instructions and yours are excellent. They are not too wordy and they tell what we need to know. I also like the yellow highlights.
I loved doing the tulip design. I stitched 3 samples. I changed the density to 4.5 and liked it much better. The good news is, I know why I changed it :-). I found myself thinking "what if?" That's a new concept for me. I have stitched the finished design out and plan to put it on some placemats as an appliqué or inset. I did digitize the design in a 180 X 130 size. I also did a little editing with divide with a line. I wanted my flower stems behind the leaves. It was fun to figure out how to do it. I have paint shop pro and adobe essentials but I couldn't figure out how to alter the graphic so I altered the stitch file. (I think that's the right term).
I've been exposed to so much good information that I can't remember it all. As I go back and read again, I'll make notes.
You really put a lot of work in the lessons and I appreciate it. I like the combination of text and video.
Unit 2: ABC's of Keyboard Lettering
Customizing designs with lettering is very popular and programs that offer the ability to convert any TrueType font on your computer would seem to provide everything you need. However, producing embroiderable letters is entirely different than typing into a word processor for printing. Learn the basics of typography and important factors to consider when choosing fonts, designing logos with lettering, placement and size. Discover the myriad ways you can control, place, and manipulate text.
Unit 3: Graphics, Color, & File Formats
Art is the heart of every embroidery design. Learn how to select and prepare artwork for an optimal result. You’ll also discover many ways to customize your design experience by creating custom hoops, fabric swatches, and custom thread palettes. Extra material in this unit explains all about file formats, which to use and why, color and design theory, and how color works in Generations. A lesson on scanning images, as well as how to optimize scanned images in Generations, is also included.
Unit 4: Stitch Types & Attributes
If art is the heart, then stitches must be the skin since this is the visible part of the embroidery. Learn the differences between Area and Line types, which stitches work with each type, how to control stitch settings, how to create your own custom settings and attach them to fabric swatches, pathing basics, travel stitches, and advanced underlay usage.
Unit 5: Creating Pattern, Texture, & Dimension
Generations offers myriad ways to quickly and easily add interest to your design through motifs, stamped patterns, embossing and gradient fills. The program comes pre-stocked with a nice variety of specialty patterns and motifs, but what's even better is you can create your own. Discover how to control these effects to get artistic effects while avoiding overly short stitches these effects are prone to create. Gradient fills are a digitizer's dream and once you learn how to control them, you'll find all kinds of uses for them.
Unit 6: Manual Techniques 1-Working with Punch Tools
Now that you've mastered stitches and their attributes, it's time to start applying them to objects. Generations offers a variety of common shapes with adjustable nodes to make digitizing easy without any drawing skills. In this unit, we'll investigate the Punch bar tools more thoroughly and how to master their control nodes. We'll create some useful design elements that we'll turn into Building Blocks and work with the Object bar, with special emphasis on the Super Align tool and the Reshape tool.
Unit 7: Manual Techniques 2—Working with Create Tools
You now have a solid foundation in digitizing and it's time to take the big leap to full manual digitizing using the Create bar tools. We'll apply what we've learned about stitch types, direction, and density along with the design theory discussed in Unit 3 to digitize realism by beginning to digitize fur, feathers, and foliage. During the process, we'll also expand our knowledge of pathing and discover techniques for perfect corners and curves. Finally, we'll look at editing in Generations, in particular with regards to tweaking up letters created with the Insert Text tool.
Unit 8: Specialty Techniques
Interested in appliqué cutwork, fringing, 3D foam, and Photostitch? In this last unit we'll discover methods for creating a variety of specialty techniques as well as discussing their uses, advantages and disadvantages. We'll also go beyond the bounds of our hoop and look at ways for planning, digitizing and sewing them.
What If You’ve Already Taken A Similar Course?
I didn’t learn everything I know about digitizing and embroidery from one course or one instructor. I still take classes on subjects I’m passionate about. I wrote this course because I took a similar one on this software and it didn’t make sense to me. I worked through that course 3 times and still couldn’t use the software.
I believe that when you are interested in a particular topic, you should learn everything you can about it. Different instructors teach differently and different students learn differently. I am both a teacher and a student when it comes to digitizing and embroidery. Keep an open mind and new information can constantly flow in.
Read what Trish wrote to her dealer…
" In the first few pages I found things that I had never noticed before in the program”
Just a quick line to let you know what I think of Lindee’s course. I had previously completed the full Digitise-wise course and when Lindee’s course “Learn to Digitize” was mentioned I thought why would I want to do another digitizing course on Generations, especially from the beginning. However I relented and opted for the introductory offer of Unit 1 and I am so glad I did. In the first few pages I found things that I had never noticed before in the program. I have also learnt so many new and wonderful tools that the Generations program has to offer. I thought if this is what I can learn in just one unit imagine what I will be able tdo when I have completed the full course so promptly rang Echidna and ordered it.
Thank you once again to the Echidna team for a great product. Gary thank you for convincing Lindee to write this program and Lindee a big thank you for all your hard work in putting this together for us.
Yours in Embroidery,
A Bonus Option with the Course
One of the advantages we had as digitizers at Cactus Punch was sharing ideas and seeing each other’s work. Every Monday morning we gathered around the break room table to review the previous week’s designs. And of course, if one of us got stuck on a design, there was always another digitizer to ask. That’s the part that’s missing from distance learning programs.
To build in some of that missing element, you have the option of sending your work in to be evaluated. If you still have nightmares from grade school about big red marks all over your papers you poured your heart into, this is not that kind of evaluation!
In fact, you don’t even have to send in your sew-out. Simply complete all the pertinent information in the custom program that comes with unit 1 with all the pertinent information, drop in your design file and a scan of your sew-out, then click the button to email it. You’ll get back some constructive feed back not just a pass/fail notification. By having the scan of your design, I can annotate right on the jpg areas for you to check in your design.
Once again, see what Trish says…
"So much better than a pass/fail or completed"
Just a quick line as a follow up on Lindee’s course. I submitted Unit 1 for evaluation and got my comments back today. I was absolutely delighted with the detailed explanations which Lindee had taken the trouble to write. Her comments were encouraging and her feedback has given me something to work on and therefore able to improve my digitising skills. So much better than a pass/fail or completed.
What It’s Not
This course is not the party line from the program's company. You won't find me dancing around funky things in the program or telling you it will do things it can't. This course was developed by a professional digitzer applying real world skills and testing the results in the program.
This course is not about just punching buttons in your software. Learn to make intelligent choices based on the design's requirements. Become an intentional digitizer by making deliberate decisions based on proven, professional techniques and theory, not some home embroiderer's notion of what can be done.
This course is also not a project based tutorial where you only learn the steps to create a particular design. If you want that type of instruction, see my Quick Projects.
So What Are You Waiting For?
There’s no time like the present to learn a new skill. The great thing about digitizing is there is no age limit! As long as you can use a computer, you can learn to digitize. Little kids can do it and so can those approaching a triple digit chronological age. Learning new and different things has been proven to keep the brain sharper! Furthermore, digitizing doesn’t take any athletic prowess—a very good thing for me!
Special Limited Time Introductory Pricing
Since the course is still being written (I’m just wrapping unit 4 as I write this) each unit is priced at $59.95, which will go up when the course is completed (contrast that with the fact I could easily produce a design collection in a long weekend that sells for the same price).
It takes me approximately two solid months to research and write a unit (that means dedicated to the project and not traveling or other work). So far, the first 3 units together comprise just about 600 pages and 3 hours of videos.The fourth unit is 186 pages and also contains quite a bit of video.
This course is not just an appetizer, it really has meat!
3 Ways to Order:
You can get started by dipping your toe in gently or jumping in all the way! Anatomy of a Design is required reading for the course. If you don't already have it, get one of the the bundles.
Unit 1 Bundled with Anatomy of a Design
- Get started with the Unit 1 and Anatomy of a Design Bundle. Normally these two products would cost $96.95. You can order them together for $79.95 and save $17 off the cost of the ebook by purchasing this bundle - a 46% savings!
Get One Unit at a Time!
- If you already have Anatomy of a Design, you can get the Learn to Digitize course one unit at a time. You can order each course as you're ready to start.
Best Deal: Get the Full Course!
- If you know you're ready to just do it, order the full course now. Get all 8 units (remaining units will automatically ship as completed) plus Anatomy of a Design for $399! The current price for all 8 units is $479.60. But I plan to increase the price of each unit from $59.95 to $79.95 once the final unit is complete, which will make the course a total of $639.60. Add in Anatomy of a Design and that's another $37.
Ships in 24 Hours!
When you order directly from us, your product often ships the day your order is placed! Although the files are too large for download, your orders are shipped promptly from Tucson, AZ. Free shipping applies to orders within the U.S. only and to countries with similar shipping costs.
Don't wait on promises for other courses!
You want to to learn to digitize now! Why wait on promises of other courses? Get the premier course for learning Generations and how to digitize like a pro now! This is the course that was written by a professional, independent digitizer, embroiderer, speaker, and educator with over 15 years of experience.
Other Products Available to Maximize Your Generations Experience
Already using Generations? Would you like designs digitized in Generations and available in .gen format? Eight 20-designs collections are currently available. Instant download! Find out more here...
Would you prefer project based training? Quick Projects enhance your Learn to Digitize course and can stand on their own. Instant download! Find out more here...
I am a professional digitizer, embroiderer, speaker, and educator. I am not affililiated wih Generations, Noticina, Midwest, or Emb Seminars in any way. Generations is used in thia course to teach proper digitizing while also learning the software. This course is currently not available for other digitizing programs.