Where to Start with Floriani FTCU?

Where to Start with Floriani FTCU?

Everyone is so excited after they purchase their digitizing software.

Now you can edit designs! You can change colors, you can resize the design, you can add elements to create a new design.

Oh….and the thought of being able to digitize your own ideas is amazing!

So you jump right in and install the program on your computer. You open the program and the workspace screen appears all grey and you think…now what do I do?

Where do I start?

I have this amazing digitizing program and I don’t even know what to do with it.

It looked so easy when I saw the demo. But now, I can’t remember what to do. Oh, no!

You click on a few icons, searching for some kind of activity to show up on the screen and nothing makes sense. Confused? Overwhelmed? So you close the program and think, “I will come back tomorrow when I have more time to figure this out”.

And tomorrow, you come back and click around a bit more and a few things show up on the screen. Ok, now you are getting somewhere. Wahoo! But you think,  “I want to do ….xyz….and I wonder. How do I do that?”  Hmmm….

Sound familiar? I bet it does.

I get emails EVERYDAY from FTCU users who write and ask “WHERE DO I START?”

Well, let me help you get started.

Everyone wants to jump in and start tracing an image right away. But how can you do that if you don’t know how to use the stitch tracing tools or even where to find them. Oh and what about how to select a shape or resize a shape or change the thread color. There are basics that you need to learn first and it will make your whole process sooooo much easier if you know these tools before you start tracing!

Here are some basics things you need to know first.

Where to Start with Floriani FTCU?

Step One: Learn the Workspace Tools

  • how to open a new page
  • how to select shapes
  • how to use the selection box to move, resize and rotate designs
  • how does the sequence view work
  • all those tabs in the properties box

Step Two: Learn the Stitch Tools

  • practice the Run stitch tool
  • practice the Fill stitch tool
  • practice the Satin stitch tool – and remember there is 3 different kinds of satin tools – each one is used for different reasons
  • practice the Applique tool
  • practice the Text tool

Now you are ready to start digitizing your own images!

Follow these steps and you will be on your way to digitizing your first design

Step One:  Open a Background Image to trace

  • click on the NEW PAGE icon at the top of the screen
  • on the left toolbar, click on the BACKDROP tool icon
  • navigate to the file that contains the image you want to trace > select the image and open it
  • now it will be on your workspace
  • while it has the selection box around it you can resize it in the properties box – type in either the width or the height – it will adjust accordingly

Step Two: Make a plan – what shape do you trace first?

  • background shapes should be traced first
  • think in layers – work from the “back” to the “front”
  • draw a sketch of the image and number the shapes in the order they need to be digitized
  • make notes of the stitch type that each shape should be
  • make notes of the thread colors you would like each shape to be

Taking 10 minutes to make this plan will save you lots of headaches in the long run. It not only helps you to organize your design, but your design will also stitch in the correct order. You don’t want to trace the “eyes and nose” first and then find out that they stitch out underneath the skin color!

Step Three: Trace the image using the Stitch Tools

Here are the basic digitizing steps to follow.

Select your stitch tool from the top toolbar and use these 5 steps for every shape that you trace.

  • select the stitch tool on the top toolbar (run – fill – satin – applique)
  • left click on the thread toolbar (at the bottom) to select your thread color
  • left click and trace the shape – placing nodes along the outline of the shape – RIGHT click when you are finished to generate the stitches
  • in the sequence view, select the segment that you just traced and on the left toolbar, select the SHAPE EDIT tool – now you can drag and edit the lines of the shape
  • while the shape is still selected, select the COMMAND tab in the Properties box and edit the tie ins and tie offs as needed

Now you have just traced your first shape segment. You can repeat those same 5 steps for every segment of the image.

Step Four: Save your Design

After tracing and editing your design, you will want to save it in two kinds of files. Save the design first as a WAF file format. This is your “working” file. If you need to change the design later, open this file and make your changes and then re-save.

When you are ready to embroider your design, save the design in whatever machine format that is read by your embroidery machine brand.

It’s important to remember that a WAF file format contains all of your digitizing information. This is the file you will want to use to make any future changes to your design.

To save a WAF file:
  • at the top, click on FILE > SAVE AS > navigate to the location where you would like to save your design
  • in the file format box, make sure the file format is WAF
  • click SAVE
To save in your machine format:
  • at the top, click on FILE > SAVE AS > navigate to the location where you would like to save your save
  • use the drop down menu and select the appropriate file format for your machine brand
  • click SAVE

These are the basic steps of  How to Get Started tracing your first design. Of course, there will more advanced tracing and editing that you will want to learn to do.

The most important piece of advice I can give you is to practice, practice, practice and more practice!

Find a simple design to start and move on to more complex images as you become more comfortable. Don’t try to digitize an image of your dog that has a million colors and shading for your first design. Especially when you are first starting to learn to digitize. Start SIMPLE and build your skills and you will be successful!

Would you like step-by-step written lessons and videos to help you get started practicing Floriani FTCU?

You can find over 75 written lessons and videos in the Embroidery Gatherings Membership Club.

The lessons will also show you how to resize and edit purchased designs as well as explain lots of “how to do” questions.

All of the lessons are self-paced written lessons that have a pdf download and you can watch the videos as many times as you would like.

One of the best reasons to join the community, is to have a place to ask your questions and get answers right away.

Click on this Membership Club button to find out more about my lessons!

Learn to digitize embroidery designs -join the Embroidery Gatherings Membership Club

When you join, your membership is a Lifetime Membership and anytime you have digitizing questions, you can contact me at: paula@embroiderygatherings.com. Your questions are important to me and I will send you an answer ASAP.

Paula signature-EmbroideryGatherings

12 thoughts on “Where to Start with Floriani FTCU?”

  1. I purchase this program six months at a show at
    B-Sew-Inn called Embroidery TNT… I never have learned how to use it. Lady said I needed a $400.00 tutorial video Before she would help me. Well I had already spent $2,000.00 so I wasn’t about to spend more money on something I couldn’t use.
    I want it to digitize pictures. What do you suggest for me to do to learn learn to use this program?

    1. Hi Margaret,
      Unfortunately, I hear your story all too often. It took me many tries to learn to use FTCU. I kept giving up and finally I realized that you just need to pick a very SIMPLE jpeg image and start to trace each shape and learn each of the tracing tools in FTCU. Your first tries will be rocky but the answer is to KEEP PRATICING a little each week and don’t stop. It is also very helpful to stitch out any design that you do trace and WATCH it on your machine. Then you will see the stitching sequence and “see” whether you like it or not, or if it works for the design.
      I too, have a membership club that has many written step-by-step lessons (and some videos) to show you how to use FTCU. But, I totally understand that you don’t want to spend anymore money. So, my best advice is to follow what I said above and to just keep practicing. The more you do, the more you will learn. Start simple and learn the basics!

      There are also free video lessons on the FTCU website that you may find helpful.

      Please let me know if I can answer anymore questions for you. I am happy to help encourage you.
      Good luck,

    1. Hi Jackie,

      I am not familiar with Creative Express. I only focus on digitizing with the FTCU software. However, it is my understanding that if you own Creative Express AND FTCU, they are incorporated within the same workspace screen and there is no need to “go out” of creative express to use FTCU. Sorry, I can’t explain anymore than that for you. When I started using FTCU they never had the Creative Express, so I have never used it. I have always used just the FTCU software and love it and never needed anything more than that.
      ~ Paula
      Embroidery Gatherings

  2. Theresa S. Bowen

    I am having difficulty activating the FTCU software. I have the trial software downloaded but cannot get an activation number. How is that done.
    Thank you,

    1. When you purchase FTCU you should of received an activation code. If you do not have that code, then you will need contact Floriani Software support to get an activation code.
      ~ Paula

    1. Hi Judy,
      At the end of most of the blog posts or Digitizing Practices there is a form to fill out to request the pdf lesson. That will add your name to the Embroidery Gatherings mailing list and you will receive any email updates that I send out.
      ~ Paula

  3. I guess I am ready to start learning what I am doing instead of just winging it Please send the PDFs and I will faithfully follow each step Thanks, Cora.

    1. Hi Cora,
      You can get any of the PDF tutorials by filling out the form at the end of the post (above- near my name). The pdf will be sent to your email.

    1. To receive the free pdf for any of the Digitizing Lessons, just fill out the subscribe form at the end of this tutorial and the pdf will be emailed directly to you. Thank you ~Paula

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