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«Sfumato Stitch Exercise 1 - Eva Design This booklet is compilation of an on-line exercise posted to Sfumato Stitch group ...»

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Sfumato Stitch

Exercise 1 - Eva Design

This booklet is compilation of an on-line exercise posted to Sfumato Stitch group

(http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sfumatostitch). I used my screenshots and comments here,

organized in 5 lessons just as I have posted them to group. There was usually some discussion

of group members after each lesson. I tried to select some most illustrative questions and

answers and added them to this booklet. I would like to thank to all who contributed with their comments and suggestions. The EVA photo used in this exercise is included in each installation of Sfumato, so you can practise with it.

Lesson 1 Image Cropping, Resizing and Deleting of Background Eva 1a open Eva image in Painter. There is too much background around Eva. Let's crop the image.

Select the Rectangular Selection Tool and select the head with part of neck and shoulders.

Eva 1b Use command EditCrop eliminate the image areas outside of selection.

Eva 1c We need to adjust size of image so that finished design will be of required size. Use command ImageResample to resize cropped image to about 4 inches (10 cm) height.

Eva 1d 2 Let's delete the background so that design will have thin running stitch outline. To achieve this, background should be filled with Lime (light green R=0, G=255, B=0) color. Use Polygonal and Rectangular selection tools to select and delete small parts of background until the whole background is deleted (filled with Lime color).

Eva 1e You should achieve Lime background like is on this picture.

Please DON'T FORGET to save the image with deleted background to disc.

Discussion to Lesson 1 Question: Which DPI setting do you recommend when scanning photos for Sfumato?

Answer: Sfumato uses 128 pixels for 1 inch of final design size. So, if you want design in 4 inches height, image should be 512 pixels high. This does not mean that you should scan with 128 dpi, because photo is usually 3 smaller or larger than design that you are going to produce. Scan the photo so that image has 128 pixels per inch of required size of design.

Question: Why do you refer to Painter and Sfumato as though they were two separate programs?

Answer: I do mention Painter and Sfumato separately because I have designed the two programs so that Painter is basic program and Sfumato is additional module with separate controls and windows. It is easier to navigate through menus and other controls when you know whether you should search it image-editing part (Painter) or among design settings and controls (Sfumato).


Did you know that you can add and substract parts of existing selection ?

If you do some complex selection and you make a small error, or you want to add another part of image to selection, you do not need to make it anew.

Just press the left SHIFT key when making new selection if you want to add new selection to previous selection.

Or press ALT key when doing new selection if you want to substract new selection from previous selection.

The newly added new selection doesn't have to adjoin the previous selection. You can select one eye on image, for example, and then add the second eye, if you want to make the same editing on both eyes at once.

Also, if you make some selection (let's say rectangular selection) and then you make further COLOR RANGE selection, only the pixels lying in intersection of both selections will be selected. It is usefull when you want to edit some color, but only on face, for example. You would select the whole face with polygonal selection tool, in such a case, and then make further color range selection to select just the required color from the face.


-Sfumato crops image so that whole selected area remains in the cropped image. The cropped image is ALWAYS RECTANGULAR, no matter what was the shape of selection.

In first version of Sfumato, there was a function DELETE OUTSIDE OF SELECTION. This function was mostly used for deleting of background around elliptical selection, while the picture (portrait) remains inside the ellipse.

In Sfumato 2.x, I have replaced above function with INVERT SELECTION function, because it provides more freedom for further work with image. You can not only delete outside of selection now, but you can also do all other editing on it.

- If you want to do portrait in ellipse, do the following:

1. make elliptical selection

2. SelectionInvert Selection

3. Delete background (just hit DELETE key on keyboard)

4. make rectangular selection around elliptical part of image that remained

5. crop the image Question: I cannot get rid of the background color. I have made sure that my box is closed but when I hit the delete button the whole screen turns green. What am I doing wrong.

Answer: Sounds like you are forgetting to double click when you close the box, and then hit detete. When you use the star tool and you are sure it is connected you must click again to see the box turn to dashed lines and then hit delete. I experimented by making a connecting box and just hitting delete without first double clicking and sure enough the entire screen turns green.

Lesson 2 Colors, Density and Thresholds 4

Eva 2a Open the Eva image with deleted background (you should have done it in previous lesson).

Hit the Preview button. The previewed design will be in gray tones - this is default color setting. Click on More button to open more controls window. We should enable more colors. Let's use two shades for face and two shades for shirt. This makes 2 color scales plus black.

Eva 2b We will need two color scales. So far we have black (darkest color), white (lightest color) and one scale. White color will not appear in design, because the fabric is white. Check the box no.4 to enable another color scale. There are just gray colors still. Click on color box no.3 to access palette and histogram window.

Eva 2c In histogram and palette you see that both red dots (both palette colors) are just in the center (because they are grey) one on top of the other. Histogram shows large cloud of yellowbrownish colors and thin strip sticking to green-bluish area of palette. Let's place the palette color no.3 into center of yellow-brownish cloud. Then click on box no.4 to switch to next color and place its red dot on the strip that goes to green-bluish area.

5 Eva 2d You see how I have placed the red dots. Green line was placed automatically between the red dots dividing the whole color space into two parts. All image colors that are at the same side of green line as the first red dot will be sewn in Color SCALE 3. All colors that are at the same side as second red dot will be sewn in Color SCALE 4. Hit OK.

Eva 2e You see that new colors have appeared in both scales. Hit Preview button to see result. The colors of face run into collar of shirt. We will have to edit it in next lesson. Also, the stitches are rather loose on the shirt. We should increase their density. Let's have a look at Color Map.

Click on Color Map page in Controls window (above Preview window).

Eva 2f The Color Map shows that the face colors have appeared also on shirt. Also, the darker shade of green is not used on shirt. We should adjust its threshold to get it there and achieve more realistic look of shirt.

–  –  –

Click on Color Scale 4. and set the threshold of Shades to greater value. The Dark Shade will appear on the shirt (see color map in top right corner). Also, increase the density of both Light and Dark Shades. Hit Preview to see result. We will edit the face colors running into shirt in next lesson.

Eva 2h Save your project file (settings and link to image). Click on floppy disc icon in Controls window to save the project file. We will continue with this file in next lesson.

–  –  –


Clouds in histogram mean that image contains many similar colors. If your image contains just few exact colors, there will be just as many litte (hardly visible) dots in histogram (no clouds). You could possible see these small dots by adjusting the Contrast of histogram. Example: if image contains lot of greenish colors, there will be CLOUD in histogram area that corresponds with green part of palette. But if your image contains just ONE green color, there will be just ONE DOT and no clouds in histogram.

7 Question: The outline is black by default. Can it be changed? If so, how? I think it would be nice to be able to use another color (ex. Dk Brown)...besides just substituting Dk Brown for Black during stitch-out.

Answer: if you want the outline to be other than black color, do the following:

-Click on any enabled Palette color box just as if you want to see the histogram window. However, click with right mouse button and not with left.

-The pop-up menu will appear.

-Use "Set Outline Color...." command from this pop-up menu.

You will see that outline color was changed in More Controls window (there is a label saying "Outline in color..."). Also, the number of scale that contains the outline color is UNDERLINED. Of course, you should see the impact of change also in Preview window.

Tip: There is an "optimum" number of colors for each design. If you use less colors, design is not so nice and realistic. If you use more colors than optimum, the stitches layout is worse and embroidering requires more effort.


Usually, you would decide to change threshold of shades when you feel that balance of dark and light shade is not right. Then, you can see in Color Map how the balance changes along with threshold. So, you have immediate feedback and you can adjust threshold interactively to desired value (desired balance of shades in Color Map). Moreover, you can hit Preview in any instant and see how threshold affects the design.

The situation with density is similar. You simply look at preview and feel that density of some color is too low (or to high). Then you would adjust Additional Density a little, hit Preview and see what effect it makes on design.

However, there are no strict rules as to when and how much adjust threshold and density - it is up to your artistic feeling. The Preview and Color Map window just try to provide you as much interactive feedback as possible.


Sfumato uses three types of files:

1.bmp or.jpg image file

2.bmp Color Map file (it is image too)

3.ss2 project file that contain settings and links to image and color map The reason why I did not joined them to single file is that wanted to leave images as separate files that you can

edit also in other painting programs. Now, what happens when you open any of these files:

1. when you open image file or color map in Painter, no other file is opened automatically

2. when you open (load) the edited color map in Sfumato, no other file is opened automatically

3. when you open project file in Sfumato, it will also load the image and Color Map (if previously saved to disc).

It is necessary to save color map separately to avoid of spoiling the previously edited map accidentaly.

You can save/open Sfumato Project file that contains all settings in Sfumato Controls window. There are two icons just next to MORE and AUTO button. One icon is for opening project file and one is for saving project file.


There are several controls in the Scale Parameters window. In this lesson, only three of them are important for


1. SHADES THRESHOLD - it defines how much Dark Shade and how much Light Shade of this scale is used in design. Changing the threshold you change the balance of Light and Dark Shades and you see its effect immediately on the Color Map.

2. ADDITIONAL DENSITY for Light Shade - with this control you can increase/decrease thread density of those parts of design that are of Light Shade of this scale. When you change its value, hit Preview button to see its effect.

3. ADDITIONAL DENSITY for Dark Shade - similar to previous control.

You can change all values in this window by clicking on them with left button (to increase) or right mouse button (to decrease).

8 In this lesson, you are supposed to add more dark green (Dark Shade of scale no.4) to design and to increase density of both dark and light green. Just press the left button on Shades Threshold value, then on Add. Density of light shade and then on Add. Density value of dark shade until you achieve similar values as are on Eva 2G picture.


You can move around the color map by just putting the cursor on top and moving the picture. This also works in the preview screen.

–  –  –

Eva 3e Switch palette to Color Map palette by clicking on button with arrows. You need to have Sfumato 2.02 to have this palette. If you have Sfumato 2.01, you can use Pick Color Tool for picking colors from map instead of palette.

–  –  –

Eva 3g Pick light blue as background and dark brown as foreground color either from palette or from map (image) with Pick Color Tool. Use Replace Background Color With Foreground Color command from Edit window, or just hit CTRL+R. Light blue will be replaced with dark brown. Do the same for dark blue.

–  –  –

Eva 3i Open Eva image in Painter and load edited map into Color Map window. Hit preview to see result. See the layout of colors in previewed design.

–  –  –


The meaning of colors in Color Map Palette is as shown on this picture:


When the Color Map is open in Painter, do not use Preview. Nothing bad happens, but design in preview will look ugly. Preview takes image that is actually opened in Painter and displays it as design with use of all colors and density all setting. So, you cannot preview design when Color Map is in Painter. You need to load it back to Sfumato and also you need to reload the image to Painter.



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