Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Scanned Photo Charts - A Rant 

A PR blurb from DMC USA triggered a rant around here. It seems DMC will gladly take stitchers' money to convert their photos automatically into cross stitch charts. WRONG, EVIL, BAD IDEA

Now I use top of the line charting software and it has sophisticated ability to turn a scand photo or graphic into a stitching chart. Well what it manages to do is turn out rubbish. To get any sort of stitchable chart one needs to set the parameters (number of colors, stitch size, etc.) very carefully and then spend hours of "cleaning up" the resultant chart.

Marginally more useful is the ability of the program to lay a blank graph over a graphic so one can input a design on the graph, bit by bit, by computerized hand.

Just turning out an automatically generated chart will buy you a lot of single stitches, odd colors and ragged lines. You can improve your result by scanning and turning into a chart a watercolor rather than a photo.

So, if you really must have a stitched version of man's/woman's best friend or your favorite kidlet, plan on doing the job yourself so you can refine the chart and plan on spending many hours cleaning up the computer generated result. It can be done, but it is very labor intensive.

Designer Libby Covington has published a booklet with all the best tips on turning a photo into a decent chart and it includes a disc with trial versions of the various charting programs for you to "try before you buy". Trust me -- listen to Libby if you really want to Chart Your Favorite Memory. You won't regret it.

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