Creative articles about embroidery

Lesson 22: BERNINA Embroidery Software V8: Morphing

In response to my lessons, V8 users asked me to explain a specific topic. This time I will tell more about Morphing.

What is Morphing via the BERNINA Embroidery Software V8? The reference manual learns us, that the Morphing feature allows you to transform object outlines and stitches in novel and interesting ways. They are additive in the sense that more than one effect can be applied to a given selecting. 

Via Morphing, your embroidery design(s) can change their appearance dramatically, but don’t overdo it:

  • Avoid poor quality embroidery, don’t use too much of the effect: less is more when it comes to morphing. Experience is essential, so practice to see what changes and how much, so that the original can still be recognized.
  • Use larger stitch spacing – increase it by about 20%. If you leave the stitch spacing too small, it will distort the stitchout, building up stitches at one point and leaving gaps at another point.
  • Avoid Morphing Satin stitches – in some objects they become too long. You can use Satin stitches and also Fantasy stitches/fills, but they won’t keep their original appearance. Ask yourself if the effect is still what you want. 
  • Increase the underlay margin to avoid it projecting outside the cover stitch. You can edit the underlay, even after morphing, if necessary.

Let’s make a start: drawing a point of a star, using the left toolbar ‘Toolboxes’, going to ‘Digitize’ and ‘Closed object’. With each left click (there are four) a node places a point: the first on top, then bottom left, one up for the middle, bottom right = four clicks. You don’t have to place another click = 5th, on top of the first. If you are certain you will close the object after the fourth click, just use ‘Enter’ and the object is properly closed. Use the Select tool to place nodes around this object = selecting it.

From this point, there are two options: 

1) Use the icon ‘Morphing’, General Toolbar.

2) Use the docker ‘Morphing, on the right of your workspace. If you want to use this docker for a longer period, click on the ‘pin’, to place it downwards. It works like an actual pin on a Bulletin Board: then the pin faced downwards, the docker stays. Click again, and the pin faces to the left, which makes it disappear in a couple of seconds.  

With this docker, there are 8 different features:

1) Pinch – Use Pinch to pinch the object outlines and stitches together in the morphing center, while pulling outer stitches away from each other.
The center of the object is indicated. A small black bar to the right of this morphing center can be used to push and pull. Hovering over this bar with the cursor of your mouse shows you the Pinch Factor: set on 45 by default, which means that – as soon as you use this option – your object is pinched/pressed inward.  By pushing or pulling the black bar, you can change the value of pinching, to press the object less (push bar to center/0) or more (pull bar outward) op to the value of 100. If you want to see the effect more clearly, de-activate ‘Show Artistic View’.  

In the middle of the process of pulling, I have made a screenshot: that is why you can see black lines left and right of the object, while shifting to the new position. Once you release the mouse button, it sets to the value of that pinch point.

Activating ‘Show Artistic View’ again, shows that there is a bulk of stitches in the center (Pinch 100), which will be difficult to embroider. Remember that – if something works on your screen, it doesn’t always work with your embroidery machine. But it is good to know what happens when changing something. 

2) Punch – Use Punch to punch the object outlines and stitches away from the morphing center, while stretching the object outlines and stitches around an imaginary sphere.

Again, just stitches and outlines/underlays, while using this option. Again, the morphing center moves while pulling the black bar. And yes, there is a sphere-like change around the morphing center, the effect working its way outward. 

Moving the bar to the center, the morphing center turns to ‘normal’ again, but pulling it all the way to the right (Punch Factor 100), the sphere is more clear. Also the Underlay is distorted, so if you want to embroider it this way, remember there is less firmness at that point.  

Have you noticed the line, over which the bar moves? It is displayed as a solid line, up to the bar, to show the actual movement/factor, and dotted up to where you can move the bar to the furthest.

3) Ripple – Use Ripple to apply a wave pattern radiating from the morphing center, like dropping a stone into a pond.

With the first click, the ripple frequency is set to 40. You can see not just a bar to the right, but also a bar upwards (showing green with my object, because of the dark color. If you have your star point in a lighter color, you will see a black bar).

Like this: only now I have pulled the bar to the far right – Frequency 100. 

Moving the vertical bar to the far top, there are even more ripples, but again, ask yourself if this is doable on your embroidery machine. But certainly fun to discover the effects.

4) Twirl – Use twirl to twist the object outlines and stitches around the morphing center, creating a swirling effect like a whirlpool.

Keeping the object as it was with Ripple, it changes dramatically, moving the factor to 50 or more, distorting the stitches even further.

Going back to the original (first) star point, it looks less distorted, and makes a beautiful swirl.

Moving the bar to the far right, Factor 100, deactivating ‘Show Artistic View’ to get an idea how stitches and underlay will be made, shows me that again, there are build-up stitches which will bulk up the embroidery. 

especially with the points: they are almost stacked together, which will be hard to embroider. But again, this is for learning purposes. To actually embroider something like this, you will need to edit it to change the density or build-up stitches. 

5) Skew Horizontal – Use Skew Horizontal to slant the object outlines and stitches horizontally to the left or right.

You can see a line protruding left and right of the star point, morphing center in the middle. Default opening at Skew Horizontal Factor 10, you can move the bar to the far left or to the far right, as much as you want to. Again, if you cannot see the bar properly, change the color of your object.

Moving the bar to the far left = Factor -100, this is what you get, 

or to the far right = Factor 100. 

6) Skew Vertical  – Use Skew Vertical to slant the object outlines and stitches vertically up or down.

Again, leaving the star point yellow to show the bar more clearly. Skew Factor on 10 by default, when opening this option for the first time.

Moving the bar up, factor 79 at this moment, skews the star point to the left – you can see that I was still moving, while new lines appear to show the new placement: after releasing the mouse button, the object is set. The left lower point will be pushed down, the right lower point will be pushed upwards, depending on the Skew Factor. 

Moving the bar down, factor -83 at this moment, skews the star point to the right- you can see that I was still moving, while new lines appear to show the new placement: after releasing the mouse button, the object is set. The right lower point will be pushed down, the left lower point will be pushed upwards, depending on the Skew Factor. 

7) Wave Horizontal – Use Wave Horizontal to move the object outlines and stitches to follow a horizontal wave pattern.

Starting with the original star point again, two bars appear: The horizontal bar is set on Frequency 20 by default/first opening, the vertical bar is set on Amplitude 15 by default/first opening  

Making the star point white again, for clear view, ‘Show Artistic View’ deactivated, I have moved the horizontal bar to 82 and the vertical bar to 59, which gives it a fun effect. 

Activating ‘Show Artistic View’ again, changing the color in pink – why not? – shows the distortion of the stitches. This is why there is a warning with Morphing: don’t push it too far!’

After changing the full stitch to a Satin Stitch, you can see how bad the embroidery would be. This shows you it is essential to try different fill stitches, to see if an object is still ‘ok’, before bringing it to your embroidery machine. 

8) Wave Vertical – Use Wave Vertical to move the object outlines and stitches to follow a vertical wave pattern.

Same effects as with option 7), but the functions of the bars are vice versa: horizontal bar is Amplitude 15 and vertical bar is set on Frequency 15, by default.

Moving the bars to Amplitude 98 and Frequency 72, just for practice, it changes the object into this interesting shape. 

Gave it a pink color again, and it shows me there is not too much bulk at this time, so the actual embroidery should not be a problem. 

With the last Morphing shape, I’ve used ‘Mirror-Merge’, left toolbar ‘Toolboxes’, to make a wreath. This is a wonderful feature, with many options, which I will show in a separate lesson. So practice again, as much as you can!

See your next time!

Happy Stitching
Sylvia Kaptein
Sylvia’s Art Quilts Studio


TIP: what I have shown with a star point gives a certain effect. Try different shapes and objects, to master the Morphing effect.

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