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PREMIER+ ECQ Drawing Tools

by Elaine Theriault

Yesterday I showed how easy it is to get your artwork onto the PREMIER+ ECQ software canvas.

Are you excited about the possibilities of creating your own embroidery designs? Or your own cutting files for the digital cutter? Or quilting designs for the long arm robot?

Premier + ECQ design software

I’m super excited about how easy the PREMIER+ ECQ software is to use. I’m not afraid of the blank canvas and I’m excited to see what I can create today. The one thing I’ve learned is the more I play with the software, the easier it becomes to work with.

Let’s get started.

Note: This post is not meant to be a tutorial. My goal is to show the capabilities of the PREMIER+ ECQ software. The excellent Reference Guide and the online help (accessed by the ? in the various components of the software) will have you creating your own designs with ease.  

Drawing Tools

I’m going to start in the Draw tab today. There are three tools I can use to draw designs. These three drawing tools are located in the Design Panel on the right-hand side of the screen.

  • Point Draw allows me to place points on the canvas and the PREMIER+ ECQ software will connect the dots as I place them to get a shape. I can use this method to make curved or straight lines.
  • Bezier Draw allows me to create gradually curved lines with greater control on the curves than I would get with the curves in the Point Draw.
  • Freehand Draw is exactly that. Use the mouse or tablet to draw as I would with pen and paper.

The blank canvas from the DRAW tab

I’ve tried all three drawing tools and all have loads of options to make smoother lines, curvier lines, and some other changes. OK – so I’m a novice at the drawing end of things, but I was able to easily create some simple shapes.

The drawing tools will take some practice to get used to – mostly because my drawing consists of making stickmen. However, these drawing tools are so easy to use, I can’t wait to spend more time learning all the tricks that make creating shapes very easy. Remember the ladybug from the previous day? That design was created using shapes. So I’m not talking about creating one huge design – I’m talking about combining shapes to get one design. That doesn’t sound hard at all.

This is where I find the tablet comes in handy. It’s just like using a pencil and paper. So if I can doodle it or draw it on paper, I can recreate it here in the software.

I’ve got to schedule time on my calendar to visit these drawing tools in greater depth.

Shapes created with the Point Draw, Bezier Draw, and Freehand Draw

In case you’re not familiar with a tablet as an input tool, here’s a picture of the one I’m using. It’s an old one but as long as you have the drivers you’re good. I was able to locate the drivers after a quick chat session with the support team from the tablet manufacturer.

It’s a bit tricky to use, only because I don’t have a lot of experience with the tablet, but once I got the hang of it, it’s just like using a pencil on paper.

A drawing tablet

Trace

Wait – there are still more ways to get a design onto the canvas. This time, I’m going to use the Trace feature. Essentially, it allows me to trace an existing design. Here’s the best part – I don’t have to do the tracing – PREMIER+ ECQ traces it for me. I know – that’s amazing.

This time, I’m going to the View tab where I can load an image into the background that I can trace around.

View tab

I grabbed my huge children’s coloring book I recently purchased with the idea of using it for creating embroidery designs and other design inspirations. I took a picture of one of the outline pictures with my phone. I sent the photo to my computer where I cropped it so just the image of the ice cream cone appeared. I saved it as a .jpg on my computer.

Line drawing of an ice cream cone

I loaded the photo of the ice cream cone as the background. You’re not restricted to line objects. You can use photos as long as the image you want to trace is somewhat clear and well-defined. You can change the tolerance levels as well to assist in tracing.

Then I selected the Trace tool from the Design Panel on the right-hand side of the screen. There are three different types of trace tools – Trace Lines, Trace Area, and Trace Area and a Hole (in case there is something that requires a cutout). The options for each section of the drawing tools are immense. This makes PREMIER+ ECQ an incredibly powerful design tool.

In this case, I chose the Trace Line tool and the ECQ software traced the outline of the ice cream cone. I didn’t want the little bits inside so those were not selected, but depending on the tolerance levels you set, they can be selected as well.

The lines of the ice cream cone are traced with the assistance of ECQ software

In the photo below, you can see all the components of the ice cream cone design now appear in the Film Strip on the left. Should I want to make modifications to any section of the design, I can choose the appropriate section and make whatever changes I want to just that line.

Now that the design is traced and saved, I removed the image of the ice cream cone from the background.

I can’t believe how easy it was to take the image from the coloring book and create a design with it. Super simple!!!

The ice cream cone design created from a coloring book page

Multiply

The last feature in the design area is called Multiply. This is where I found the drawing tools were extremely useful. I start by going into the Multiply tab. Here I can select the type of multiply I want – circle, vertical, horizontal or tile. I select the number of repeats I want and I’m ready to design.

In the photo below, I’ve chosen a circle with 8 repeats.

Multiply settings – a circle with 8 repeats

Now all I have to do is make some marks (lines) in one section of the circle. Each mark I create is then mirrored and multiplied into the rest of the sections. It’s so amazing to see the design appear before my very eyes. In my design, I drew a long triangle shape and then some lines.

It took just a few minutes, but you can play with this tool forever and some very creative and exciting designs can come from it.

My preliminary mandala design

I wanted to tweak some of the lines and make sure they were connected which will become important if I choose to export this mandala as a quilting design. I used the Zoom tool to zoom into the design and found some of the lines were not connected. No big deal. By selecting the lines from the Film Strip, I could then drag the ends of the lines to where they met with the next line.

Zoomed view of the preliminary mandala design

That process was so simple! And if I didn’t like the curve of a line, I could easily manipulate the points to change the line. I changed one line and ECQ replicated the change in the other sections.

I think I’ll be playing a lot with this tool!

The completed mandala design

What do you think? PREMIER+ ECQ is a pretty cool design tool. There are so many ways of getting a design onto the drawing canvas or creating a design from scratch. Once the design is on the canvas, there are numerous ways in which it can be manipulated.

However, I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet. That’s what I can do with these designs once I’ve created them.

Tomorrow, I’ll be showing some of the ways the files can be exported. Be sure to come back – it’s going to be super exciting!

Have a great day!

Ciao!!

This is part 3 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 2: Creating artwork with PREMIER + ECQ software – draw, lettering, design

Go to part 4: File export possibilities in PREMIER+ ECQ

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