Pattern Making Programs

Tips, Tricks & Techniques - anything to help fellow cross stitchers.

Re: Pattern Making Programs

by Crea-Logboek » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:38 pm

In 2016 I used Pic2Pat to convert a coloured drawing of a car to a pattern, and the conversion was good enough for the purpose of the final result. I compared 3 free conversion programs (MyPhotoStitch, Pic2Pat, and Stitchboard). Pic2Pat gave the best result, with the advantage that they show several outcomes listed by the total number of colours needed. Therefore I could make a decision based on # of colours and the amount of detail. (I hope this description makes sense.)

However, now I am working on the conversion of a photo to stitch as a special present for my parents. All the picture shows is 2 dogs (light brown and white), a lot of mud/ clay and sky. The final result should be about 20x25cm on 18ct Aida. All 3 of the above mentioned programmes could not handle it. So, now I am trying to figure out BlendThreads. For a relatively inexperienced stitcher the program seems very complicated, but I am sure I will figure it out (at least the basics). One of the 'problems' I will have to deal with is when to stop tweaking (there are so many options given in the program) and start stitching.
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Re: Pattern Making Programs

by Allyn » Sun Jan 07, 2018 12:38 am

Crea-Logboek wrote:...However, now I am working on the conversion of a photo to stitch as a special present for my parents. All the picture shows is 2 dogs (light brown and white), a lot of mud/ clay and sky. The final result should be about 20x25cm on 18ct Aida. All 3 of the above mentioned programmes could not handle it. So, now I am trying to figure out BlendTreads. For a relatively inexperienced stitcher the program seems very complicated, but I am sure I will figure it out (at least the basics). One of the 'problems' I will have to deal with is when to stop tweaking (there are so many options given in the program) and start stitching.


No lie, that is a very complicated program, however, if you have used other programs, you'll probably be able to tinker with it and figure things out. As far as converting pictures to xstitch, it is imo by far the best choice. If there are any questions we can help with, please ask.
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Re: Pattern Making Programs

by Crea-Logboek » Tue Jan 09, 2018 12:56 pm

When you make your own patterns from a photo or picture, do you make adjustments to the colours if you know where your final piece will be placed?
For people familiar with Richards BlendThreads: do you use the "dark adjusted DMC" file and if so, for what light conditions? Only for spaces with no direct sunlight/daylight or also for darker spaces in well lit rooms? (Talking about the Dutch climate conditions here :shock: )

During my search I haven't been able to find a thread about this issue, so hopefully this is the right place to post this question.
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Re: Pattern Making Programs

by Mabel Figworthy » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:21 pm

Crea-Logboek wrote:(Talking about the Dutch climate conditions here :shock: )

Ah, I wondered from your forum name whether you might be Dutch :-) - leuk om een landgenote te "ontmoeten"!
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Re: Pattern Making Programs

by Allyn » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:27 pm

Crea-Logboek wrote:When you make your own patterns from a photo or picture, do you make adjustments to the colours if you know where your final piece will be placed?
For people familiar with Richards BlendThreads: do you use the "dark adjusted DMC" file and if so, for what light conditions? Only for spaces with no direct sunlight/daylight or also for darker spaces in well lit rooms? (Talking about the Dutch climate conditions here :shock: )

During my search I haven't been able to find a thread about this issue, so hopefully this is the right place to post this question.


I adjust my colors before I bring the image into the program, at least I have in the past. Richard made some adjustments to the files that should take care of the issued I had early on. I would increase the vibrancy (not lighten) the colors so they popped more before I brought the image into the program because it was common for the program (all of them, not just this one) to dull down the colors on conversion. If I over-popped the colors, when they were 'dulled down' on conversion, the resulting output would be close to the original image.

I have never adjusted colors before to take into account where the finished piece will be displayed, so I can't really speak to that.

Richard will sometimes discuss different aspects of the program and his progress on it mixed in with his project updates. If you do a forum search of a phrase (like dark-adjusted DMC), you'll likely pull up a post in which he talks about it. I found this:
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=28246&p=662759&hilit=dark+adjusted+DMC

See if that answers your question. Richard will be along sooner or later, I'm sure, to speak more authoritatively than I can on the inner workings.
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Re: Pattern Making Programs

by richardandtracy » Tue Jan 09, 2018 8:45 pm

The 'dark adjusted' DMC file was an earlier attempt to address some limitations of the standard DMC thread definitions used in BlendThreads, Ryijy Stitch Designer, PCStitch10, PatternMaker and possibly many other programs.

In the standard colour definitions, the colours have been stretched to cover the full range of the colour spectrum. In the standard definition, white is as white as it is possible to get, and black is just as black as it's possible to get. This is not real, there is some reflection from black, and in reality even the whitest thread absorbs light. The nett effect is that on average the DMC colour definitions are brighter and lighter than the real threads, which means the resulting stitched image is darker than the original digital image. This darkening effect is approx 10-12%. Now, it is usually good enough not to be a problem, and the standard colour definitions are good enough for most images, and the stitched image looks almost identical to the converted image when seen in bright daylight - for example in a sun room (where the bright light levels will be very bad for the threads in the long term).

So, that's the standard DMC colour definition. It could be better if you want the best possible correlation between the digital and stitched image.

My first attempt at making it better was to modify the standard DMC colours and simply darken them by the same average figure to get the 'dark adjusted' colours. This is better, but not perfect.

For the best correlation, I needed to get one of evey thread and photograph them all at the same time, the do a white balance check, finally remove any vignetting in the photo and then create a colour chart based on those colours. I did it in Summer 2017, and created the 'ChestnutPensDMC' thread definition file. It showed up a number of errors in the standard thread definition (which did not surprise me as I had one image ruined by an error in the standard DMC definition in the beige swatch, with the stitched image being much darker than it should have been).

Anyway, your best bet is probably the 'ChestnutPensDMC' definition. BUT, I must warn you, I do not think anyone has used it yet for a big project - it's too new. I will use it for my next project (2020 if I'm lucky) but your project will be the test for it if you choose to go with it. Failing that, the 'DarkAdjusted' definition has little risk associated with it and will give a bit of a better correlation between the digital and stitched images.

Hope this all makes sense!

Regards

Richard.
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Re: Pattern Making Programs

by Crea-Logboek » Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:29 pm

Allyn and Richard, thank you for your explanations.

Allyn, I will read the topic you found tomorrow. I did a search on 'dark adjustment' and that didn't work so well. In the quick read I just did, it seems you found the information I was looking for.

Richard, after reading your explanation I might just make (fine-tune) 2 patterns with the same picture: one with the 'ChestnutpensDMC' definition and one with the 'dark adjusted' definition. I am planning on using a coloured fabric that will be visible when the work is framed. If I am lucky, at least one of the two colours I have in mind, will be the same as one of the DMC colours needed for the sky-part of the work. The definition with the highest stitch count in one of the particular colours wins.

An other option would be to compare thread colours I already have in my (small)stash. My laptop screen is not calibrated, so I don't want to go by digital image only.

Thanks again for your explanations. It is great to have a place to ask those specific questions and have them answered by (more) experienced stitchers/ pattern makers.
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Re: Pattern Making Programs

by richardandtracy » Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:23 am

Now that I'm on a PC rather than a tablet I can actually start to illustrate my response. Sometimes I wonder if tablets aren't crippled just to annoy people. [mutter, mutter, hrrumph]

The colour definitions are as below (on the right is the standard DMC, and on the Left is the 'ChestnutPensDMC' definition.
Image
As you can see, there is a bit of a difference between the Original and 'ChestnutPensDMC' colours, but, there is no question that the Original DMC definition is not bad, just needs to be slightly tweaked for those who are determined to gets as close correlation as possible between the digital and stitched images.
Here I have to hold up my hands and say I don't have calibrated equipment either, just doing the best I can with what I have.
The original jpeg photo I took for the colour definitions is in the 'BlendThreads' directory on your machine and is called 'Chestnut Pens DMC Colour Chart Original.jpg' if you wish to see the source image for the thread definition file.

I am using the standard DMC definitions in my Gryff project that Allyn linked to, my current 'Luz' project and also in the completed 'I'm Watching You' test piece project:
Digital
Image
Stitched
Image
The stitched image is a bit darker than the digital one, but it's perfectly OK.
In fact, I was quite pleased.
Very pleased.
Quite smug, if I'm honest. :oops:

If you can bear the whole story (and it is a long one, 14 pages, with a fair few photos missing due to Photobucket's recent change in policy - I have gone back to update some of the more important ones, but not all), the program development to date is here in all it's tedious detail: http://www.crossstitchforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=26159

Regards,

Richard.
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Re: Pattern Making Programs

by Mabel Figworthy » Wed Jan 10, 2018 9:21 am

richardandtracy wrote:Quite smug, if I'm honest. :oops:

And every reason to be. Every time I read more about your program I stand more in awe of your achievements!
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Re: Pattern Making Programs

by Crea-Logboek » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:50 am

In fact, I was quite pleased.
Very pleased.
Quite smug, if I'm honest.

You should be! The result looks great!

If you can bear the whole story (...), the program development to date is here in all it's tedious detail

I will certainly read the story behind the program, just as I have been reading the help files that come with the program. It helps understanding how the program works, what choices you had to make in the programming process, and how it may, or may not, affect the outcome.
There are so many variables to experiment with.

Let's see if I can get the 'add a picture' to work with Google Photos, so you can get an idea of what I am working with:
image

Once I start stitching, I will move it to the SAL-section.
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Re: Pattern Making Programs

by Mabel Figworthy » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:58 am

I had to click on the link to see the picture, but that was definitely worth it :-) - what a cheerful picture of two gorgeous dogs!
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Re: Pattern Making Programs

by richardandtracy » Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:41 pm

That will convert into an absolutely superb picture. I really look forward to seeing it develop.

Regards,

Richard.
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Re: Pattern Making Programs

by Crea-Logboek » Wed Jan 10, 2018 12:51 pm

This seems to work better:
Image

So, this is the picture I have been using to experiment with BlendThreads. We are still in the process of tweaking the photo (placement of the dogs, border, etc), but it is close to the chart creating stage.

Some details:
-fabric: 18ct Aida
-fabric colour: close to the blue/grey of the sky (so no white border around the final piece)
-final size: ~20x25cm
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Re: Pattern Making Programs

by rcperryls » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:14 pm

What a great photo! I can't wait to see it being stitched!!

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