Sunday, April 27, 2014

What I've been up to for the last few months...


Seven years ago today my in-laws arrived for a visit with an embroidery machine in hand for me. Who knew that gift would be a life changing thing?! There is no way I could have predicted being where I am today. I've loved the adventure of the last seven years! I've shared my entire journey here, but I've been so busy on a big fun project for the last couple months that I haven't taken time to blog about it.

I love fonts. I love using a variety of fonts! I love it so much I even stitched it! Ha!
If you've read my blog though the years, this love of fonts is no surprise to you. :) You know how ecstatic I was to win a subscription to 8CP way back in 2009, how I worked on font images for the 8CP font CD, how I have tried to use a huge variety of those fonts through the years. If you have interacted with me in embroidery and applique groups, you know I have an unusual visual memory and can recognize digitized fonts pretty well. I get tagged in font questions often, and honestly it bugs me if I don't know the answer right away. Ha! Some have even named me the "Font Queen" which frankly I find kinda silly.

BUT after my last few months, I just might accept that title!

Last August I started working for The Itch 2 Stitch, initially just to help answer emails. We got requests for BX format (whatever that was), and I copy and pasted our standard response, that Cristy would not be adding BX format to her fonts.

I finally decided on my own to do a bit of research. The Embrilliance website asks for bloggers to contact them, so as Stitched by Janay, I did. Surprisingly they responded right away and gave me the tools I needed to explore. By that I mean they gave me Embrilliance Essentials AND AlphaTricks.... BUT I didn't install the software for MONTHS. Just got too busy to take on something new. Can you believe that? Totally kicking myself.

Once I got through the holidays and settled into a new routine for 2014, I decided to look into it again. After I played with AlphaTricks for, oh, 10 minutes?! I was enchanted with what I saw, how easy it was to use, and I asked Cristy if she wanted me to run forward with it. We did further research, and then I worked non-stop creating and testing and prepping for launch of adding the BX files to our fonts. 


There is really no way to describe the sheer giddiness I have felt over all of this. So I wanted to make a BIG deal about our adding the BX files to the fonts. Jolson's has had BX format for about a year. This isn't overwhelmingly new. I remember reading his first newsletter. I don't know if I was skeptical or thought it was too good to be true or what, but I completely ignored it. Me. "Font Queen" Janay. I ignored it. 

I chose to make how-to videos for our I2S customers because I didn't buy into it when Jolson's launched. And I completely regret as someone who does custom embroidery that I didn't pay attention until this year. So I made the videos to help out my fellow embroiderers. And I can't seem to stop! My head is swimming with ideas. It's like I've found a new calling :) 
This is the first video in the playlist. Checkout the awesomeness of being able to TYPE digitized fonts instead of merging letter by letter!

This weekend I posted a big BX FAQ in an applique group I am a part of. I thought I should go ahead and post it on my blog, too! So here you go...

Janay's BX FAQ

BX is not a machine format like PES or JEF.
BX is a software installer file used with embroidery programs made by BriTon Leap (Embrilliance Essentials, Embrilliance AlphaTricks, Designer’s Gallery EmbroideryWorks, etc).
Basically a BX file maps a pre-digitized font to the keyboard so you can type text and save as an embroidery design instead of merging and manually arranging individual letters in your software. Cool, huh?!

History:
About a year ago Embrilliance released a new piece of software called AlphaTricks. You can purchase this as a stand alone program and map any predigitized font you own to the keyboard, then use it's functions to type and quickly edit text designs (including respacing the automatic kerning, curving, resizing, and more). They also created the extension .BX so that digitizers could offer their fonts pre-mapped to AlphaTricks users. A couple of digitizers offered the BX format early on, and since March several more have started updating their fonts to include BX files.

What most people may not realize though is that you can install the Express version of Embrilliance and use digitizers' BX files for free. Yes! FREE!

Download and install the full software package from Embrilliance. (NOT the demo, but the FULL program). It is available for Mac and Windows:
http://embrilliance.com/downloads

When you launch the program it will ask for serials numbers. If you have not purchased Essentials, AlphaTricks, or any of their other programs, you have nothing to enter. Simply click DONE. It will say you are running in Express Mode, and all you can do is use digitizers' BX files. That's cool, no complaints because it is FREE!

Then you will need to install the BX files provided by the digitizer. Please note that you cannot install BX files while they are sitting in a zip file. You must extract the files first, then you can install by either double-clicking a BX file (which will install and and launch the program) or drag and drop them into the workspace of Embrilliance (can select multiple bx files to install at once). If you don't know how to extract a zip, in Windows you should be able to right click and select "Extract All". Alternatively, you could drag the BX files out of the zip to your desktop, then drag them into Embrilliance.

IF you want to resize text or merge text with an applique design, you won't be able to do that solely with the free Embrilliance Express version. You will need to do one of two things:
--Purchase Essentials and do it all in one program
--Type and save your name in Express. Then using the editing software you already own, open your applique and merge in the name file and keep editing there. It will likely be faster than merging individual letter files!

Each digitizer will include directions for using the BX files, most likely as a pdf in the zip with your font.

Want to see it in action? These videos walk you through installing and using BX files. Everything shown in videos 1-7 can be done with the FREE version. (I used I2S fonts, but the same steps apply for any digitizers' BX files.)
Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLudPni1FqKxG98Mh0xNYUs7EZcAGxe3sG

Have fun NOT merging!!! 

5 comments on "What I've been up to for the last few months..."

jazzo on April 27, 2014 at 11:01 PM said...

This is awesome Janay...Heck, YOU are awesome Janay. I really do love all that you do.

Melissa on April 28, 2014 at 7:11 AM said...

You've sold me! I must get Embrilliance and make things easier for myself! You are a terrific teacher and I want to keep learning more!

Jean Smith on April 28, 2014 at 7:31 AM said...

Thanks for sharing. You make me want to do better.

gardentilly on April 28, 2014 at 7:31 PM said...

Thank you, the video's are so helpful and amazing myself with what I can do.

Holly G on April 29, 2014 at 9:08 PM said...

That is sooo cool! Now to find some time to try this out. You rock Janay!

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