If You’re Still Digitizing, You need to read this now!

By: Aubrey Richardson

Still digitizing, huh??Why?? If you’re still digitizingI’m guessing you either enjoy it or feel as if you have no other choiceavailable to you.? I realize there arecertain individuals who get satisfaction from creating or reproducing an imageby hand.? The very process of plotting orpunching points (also known as nodes) can be very time consuming and become atedious job.? Once you’ve completed acomplex or intricate piece of artwork, it’s only natural to feel a sense ofpride for a job well done!

I can remember as far back as 1982, when personal computerswere just beginning to be introduced into the Awards & Engravingindustry.? Digitizing was painful!? This was long before the development of computeraided design (CAD) software.? Alldrawings had to be created from beginning to end with no mistakes or you had tostart all over from the very beginning.?You sure didn’t want the phone to ring or have a customer come throughyour door while in the middle of any drawing!!

A few years later we were blessed with CAD programs thatenabled you to digitize logos and images much faster.? Using software commands to create vectors,curves, ovals, arcs and numerous other short cut keys, allowing you to improveyour work and in many cases enhancing the original artwork.? Certainly one of the coolest things was beingable to stop, save your work and pick up where you left off at another time.? Whether it was later that day, the next dayor sometime the following week.? It wasnice to not feel “married" to the system and be able to take a break if needed.

As computers became more and more popular, hardware andsoftware progressed quite rapidly.? Itwasn’t long before people were talking about scanning and converting theirraster files into vector formats.? Manyindividuals retired their digitizing pads and began the “on screen" clean upprocess, believing this was their salvation from the point to point digitizing,we all thought was so nice in the beginning!? Well, I must say for me it lacked the lustersome were boasting of over the phone.?Most all tradeshow demonstrations were what I would refer to as, “smokeand mirrors"!

Honestly I thought it was more challenging to scan and cleanup my artwork as opposed to simply digitizing it from scratch.? To me it was much easier and faster tocontinue to use CAD software and turn out a drawing that was much cleaner, withfewer points and maintained a much smaller file size.? Most digitizers were (and are) concernedabout the overall byte size of the finished logo.? This was greatly due to the limitations ofnumerous proprietary systems.? Forcingthe digitizer to be mindful of their final output and keeping points to aminimum.

Through the years of now more than two decades, computersand software as we once knew it, has come a long, long way.? We’ve all seen dozens of “state of the art"programs and hardware improvements to fill a small garage!? Yet many of us still find ourselves lookingfor that “perfect" solution that would allow us to stop fretting over artwork.

Well, my friend … I have a solution for you.? Let me give you an analogy or rather acomparison of digitizing (or scanning, it’s really all very much the sameinvolved process), versus mowing your yard.?Yep, you read it correctly … Digitizing vs. Mowing!

Think about it … just because you can mow your yard, doesthat mean you should?? (Again, I realizesome people get satisfaction and pleasure from mowing, my wife loves to mow ouryard).? Much like I stated at thebeginning of this article.? You may do itfor pleasure or feel as if you’re stuck with it!? You may choose to push mow with your standardhand mower or step up to a riding mower and sit comfortably within the leatherseat.? Either way, you’re still “married"to the task at hand.

Digitizing = Hand Mower (push from point to point)

Scanning = Riding Mower (scan across the land)

You’ve heard it and read it many times, “your time ismoney".? Most of us at some time oranother have chosen to hire someone to do our yard work.? Whether it be mowing or simply raking leaves,we’ve shuffled the chore to another individual or company.? So I pose the question to you, “Why don’t youhire someone else to do your digitizing?"?Choose a respectable service and send your artwork to the professionalsfor digitization.

With technology as advanced as it is today, you can email(or fax) your logo to the pros and have it back within 24 hours (two businessdays for some).? This creates a win-winsituation for all parties involved in the process.? You win by saving time and money (remember,your time is money)Science Articles, not to mention the mental challenges that may arise shouldyou continue to do everything “in house".?Your customer wins as well!? Theyreceive a top quality reproduction of their artwork in a digital format.? This could and should open up more avenuesfor you to “lock in" their business for life.?Giving you the slight edge over your competitors and versatility tocreate more quality products and services for your clients.

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