Printable embroidery looks just like the real thing, but it’s more cost effective and can be reproduced onto any printable surface, including waterproof garments, says Rob Smith, director of Wilcom Europe. He explains how this detailed bulldog print was created

(1) Wilcom’s TrueView tool in EmbroideryStudio was used to visualise an embroidered design on-screen. This technology produces an accurate reproduction of real stitches, and we were able to change properties such as the light direction and thread weight. CorelDraw Graphics Suite is packaged and integrated with many EmbroideryStudio versions: together, these software suites can be used to combine vector and printable embroidery into a single design.

(2) Printable embroidery is soft and smooth to the touch, which means that it’s perfect for sportswear and performancewear. Typically, we’d avoid large embroidery designs on these garments as they can be too bulky.

(3) This design was created by netdigitizing.co.uk using manual digitising techniques. As the design was going to be printed, we didn’t need to consider the stitch count; this gave the digitiser an opportunity to use a variety of stitch techniques, providing plenty of texture to the fur and vest. Even non-embroidery experts can auto-digitise simple designs and produce print- ready files with the same TrueView embroidery stitch effect.

(4) The key to producing this realistic design was to use open density to blend the stitches. A ‘random factor’ was used on the Tatami fill to create the bulldog’s fur, and the Florentine tool was used to curve the stitches and add dimension to the bulldog’s body. The Input A method with an open density satin stitch, selecting the ‘jagged edge’ option, was used to create some shadows.

(5) Once complete, the bulldog embroidery file was exported as a 300dpi printable PNG file with a transparent background. With EmbroideryStudio e4.2, images can be exported to any pixel resolution, which is perfect for larger print jobs.

(6) Printable embroidery can be applied to any garment using processes such as screen printing, sublimation, dye/heat transfers and direct-to-garment printing. It can even be used on large billboards, vehicle wraps, mugs, mousepads and other promotional items. The bulldog design was printed on a pretreated black cotton Gildan G64000 T-shirt using a Resolute R-Jet 5 DTG printer and Resolute inks.

(7) If embroidered, this bulldog design has over 94,000 stitches, 15 colours, and 33 colour changes. The machine run-time would be approximately 120 minutes. It took only a few seconds to output as a printed design.