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English => Quilt Assistant => Topic started by: wulfae on 31 August 2013, 18:10:15

Title: Experiences using the program.
Post by: wulfae on 31 August 2013, 18:10:15
First off, fantastic!! I'm really excited to have a program that is designed to do this, since I haven't really designed paper piecing patterns before and can use all the help I can get.

I'm coming from an art background more than a quilting one, so I'm always using photoshop and flash keyboard shortcuts.

Here are my impressions!

My immediate problem was zooming, and controlling it. I have a 21UX cintiq (, which is a monitor from Wacom that you can draw on. Not the one linked, but that's close enough. As such, I am using my stylus and not my mouse. The zoom on the mouse wheel was a nice surprise when I discovered it, but what I would really love are some keyboard shortcuts to zoom. Specifically (since they're pretty standard photoshop ones) control + and -.

It would also be nice to not have the project you are working on snap to the upper left corner of the screen when you maximise the window. I was able to get around that a few times by keeping it in the window, zooming to an appropriate level, and then maximising it.  However, if I adjusted the zoom level at all, it snapped to the upper left corner of the screen.

I am in love with the photoshop option of having your canvas in the middle of the screen, and then being able to move it so that whatever corner I'm working on is in the middle. Specifically, 'full screen with menu bar'. If you're unfamiliar with the option I'm talking about, here's a video explaining it in exhaustive detail. ( (sorry.)

I also use the photoshop hand tool  ( up with the spacebar) to move the image around the screen, instead of the scroll bars on the bottom and side. It's a little easier to just move it from a point, instead of having to adjust two settings.

The piece that I'm trying to do is a very large applique piece for the background of a very large pictorial quilt, so it's not quite what your program was designed for. However! Here is how Quilt Assistant has worked for me, so far.

I tried to zoom in to the level I wanted, and then maximise, but the image was caught on the lower right corner of the screen. I couldn't manipulate the scroll bars to work on it at all, so I basically had to just work on it in a window. I wasn't able to replicate the error, so... Not sure what happened there.

I was also having difficulty doing lines that ended at the division I wanted them to end at. It kept extending to the next one, which was annoying.

When I try to right click with my stylus, it won't recognise it. It thinks it's just a normal click. I'm not sure how hard it is to have the program work with wacom drivers, and I know not many people have cintiqs, but I'm sure there are some users with bamboo or intuos tablets in the crowd.

It would be nice if I could somehow indicate an irregular outline, even with just a heavy paintbrush line. That would also be nice for indicating details like embroidery or something like that. I just tried to add in a border that I was going to make all the same group and name something else, but it changed all of my names. Also colours, for some reason, I just had to re-colour it. Then I was trying to rename groups in the shape tree, which I just learned about in the pdf documentation, when I learned that you can't 'undo' a name change. I got a nice, friendly 'Don't Panic' message. (Combined with the dolphin image used in the first tutorial, I'm going to conclude that you are a Douglas Adams fan, haha.)

Is there a way to add stitching order? Mine goes A>B>C ABC>D F>G FG>H etc. Eventually it all connects. I just wanted to write it down now, while I'm thinking about it.

I also really, really like that you've added in ways to print something larger by having a glue edge. I was confused at first, since it wasn't mentioned in the documentation, but once I thought about it for a second, it made perfect sense. Thank you!! Some of my pieces are too large, even with the paper set to 11 by 17. (Which I will be printing on, at staples, eventually.)

I don't seem to be able to scroll through the pages using the scroll button on my mouse, I have to click the little arrows next to the page number. It would also be nice to have an indication of just how many pages this is going to be, without having to go into the full preview window and then click that little arrow until it won't show any more pages.

I think that is everything! Thanks again for the program, I am really excited to do the next ten bookshelves I need to do and then print it off and start! The paper piecing is making the background of this quilt much more exciting.
Title: Re: Experiences using the program.
Post by: Arnout on 02 September 2013, 08:17:25
Thank you for the extensive feedback. I am not a Photoshop user myself, but there are definitely some interesting workflow suggestions in there. It might take a while for me to be able to process them, but meanwhile: enjoy your design work!


P.S. Yes, the "Don't Panic" comes from Douglas Adams, the dolphin is coincidence.
Title: Re: Experiences using the program.
Post by: wulfae on 03 September 2013, 15:46:54
Haha, I am nothing if not verbose. I have no programming knowledge, so I never know how difficult something is to actually do within a program, but there you go.

I think I also solved my 'irregular outlines' problem... I'm just not going to select them to be printed, and it'll be close enough. I plan on printing the actual size picture of what I'm doing anyway, so I'll be able to match up my edges there. I saw you mention that in another reply, but it wasn't in the tutorials or documentation, so that was why the confusion.

I've done about half of my bookshelves, now I just need a little more time to finish 'em!
Title: Re: Experiences using the program.
Post by: wulfae on 26 October 2013, 18:02:18
Used the program a bit more now, and I finally went to printing things.

I ran into a pretty big problem... When I created my art, it was at 72ppi. I assume that's pretty standard, since that's what screens can actually display, and is what most pictures on the internet have. I just assumed that it would be the same dimensions as my photoshop image (my mistake!) and went forth and did all my work.

Turns out it was about three times too big. So I just went and printed out all the pieces I needed to do on 11 by 17 paper... Turns out I can print it myself on 8.5 by 11 paper on my home printer. Sooo... Now I'll need to double check the sizes for all of these images, and fix them all.

Is it a problem with the ppi? What is the program assuming? How does this (input) become this (export)? I used a .png, is that why the image size went from about 32 cm to about 154cm? (That is actually bigger than my entire quilt, haha.)

Here are some other suggestions from working on a rectangular design over the past couple of days.

It would be nice if I could click a point (vertex) and then shift or control click to select more. Then you could right click and go 'merge' so you could have some control over just where the program is going to merge. Sometimes it would *completely* ignore the point I was desperately trying to get it to merge with, in favour of one much, much further away.

When I'm trying to fix the little circles that appear, I seem to always do more damage than I fix. Sometimes the circles don't make much sense... What's wrong? Is the line bent? That's okay, I'm having a division of pieces right there. They are named, Quilt Assist, do you see that they are separate pieces? Is the angle too sharp? I'll fix it... Suddenly, all of my angles are wrong! So many more red circles! Don't judge me, Quilt Assist! How is this line wrong, anyway? I remember putting it down, it was a single line.

This seems to stem from two things. I would be great if I could constrain the axis that I can move the point on, so it slid along the line that *isn't* bent while I fix the angle of the line that *is* bent. By holding down shift, maybe? That's the usual constrain in adobe products.

The other thing that would help is if you could select the entire line, instead of only moving the line from one corner to another. There have been times where I want to rotate a line, and I basically just need to draw a new one.

Drawing a new line only works, however, if it's *cutting into* what I've already done. If I want to make those shapes bigger, then I some how have to extend all of those lines. An option that would allow your line to 'snap' to the previously created lines would be *so handy*. I can never seem to drag my mouse the same way, and I wind up creating tiny little pieces.

Sometimes 'remove line' and 'remove corner' don't work in editing mode. I also found myself usually switching back to 'design' mode so I could just right click and get rid of lines right away, without having to select something from a menu.

Getting rid of colours myself, by right clicking and choosing 'discard' from the colours window that pops up in 'colour' mode. Sometimes the program will get rid of vastly different colours, while leaving the two that are nearly identical the same. I then have to manually recolour, hoping I find the one little piece that is the wrong colour.

Having a 'reduce colour' button in the colour window would also be very helpful. Having to go through the edit>reduce colours step was a little time consuming.

Can I please turn the automatic colouring 'off'? Or just be able to freeze it to the colours I already have in my palette/design? It was frustrating when I had already gone and reduced all the colours I needed to 14, fix a couple of lines, and then back and my number of colours is back up to 26!

It would also be handy to be able to designate certain lines as 'seam lines' and have them be thicker, or something. Sometimes I'll get an error where Quilt Assist will want me to straighten up a line, and I look and tell it 'no', because that's a different 'patch' of the pattern all together.


Forgot to put in how excited I am to try to make my pieced pattern! I definitely like how you can colour multiple pieces by just clicking and dragging, as well as how you can select or deselect the same way. Using the right click to deselect felt very natural! I also am excited to see the printing option for fabric usage. Looking at it, it means I definitely bought enough fabric. Whewph!

I really enjoy the basic functions of this, it's really nice to be able to draw a bit of a line and have it automatically extend as far as it needs to. Much easier than photoshop or other image editing programs where you need to worry about keeping the ends neat.
Title: Re: Experiences using the program.
Post by: Arnout on 27 October 2013, 13:13:43
The software doesn't really look at the ppi information as it is stored in images. When you import an image (create a new design based on it), you specify the size of the design, from which the ppi-value follows. You can change the size of the design later from the "Edit" -> "Change Image/Size" menu.

When you export an image, no specific ppi setting is saved, so you would need to manually correct that in e.g. Photoshop before printing. The idea of the exported image for me was just to have some sort of printable sample, but not to any specific scale.

Clicking an merging points: there are some rules and constraints in the software itself which may make it impossible to merge some points, so this could be causing merges with points further away.

The red circles usually indicate line segments that have a close to zero angle (extend each other), but are slightly off. This may cause problems with the automatic "name shapes for paper piecing" function, since the software would conclude that the shapes involved are not properly paper piecable.

As it is, it is tricky to fix those issues. Better to either accept them, if they cause no harm, or try to avoid them from the start. The "Snap to Corner" and "Snap to Angle" functions should help to avoid most issues, if the design isn't too complex.

Again I see some useful suggestions for improvements, however my spare time is limited at the moment, so for now they end up on the wish list.

Thanks again for your feedback,
Title: Re: Experiences using the program.
Post by: wulfae on 28 October 2013, 15:38:11
I'm confused then... How does the software generate sizes at all? It knows how many pixels are in the image, because it mentions that along the bottom of the window. How does it interpret 906 pixels as being nearly 38 inches?

I was also just using the 'exported' image as an example. The real problem was when I went to Staples and printed everything, only to realise it was printing as if the design was 38 inches instead of 30cm. All of the pieces were huuuuuge. Good news is now I'll be able to print them off on my home printer, on 8,5 by 11 paper! Woop woop!

I went through and made sure that all of my previous works were the right size, and it was interesting that the larger images that I imported were usually closer. However, the sizes varied ~10cm larger and smaller, with no clear reason why some would be bigger and others smaller.

I understand why the PPI resolution isn't there, it likely won't ever *be* anything other than 72 ppi for most people using the program, and most people don't really need to see and potentially get confused by it.

If the software is just pulling numbers out of  the air, I'd rather they weren't suggested at all. I assumed that they had looked at the picture, and had it be the same dimensions as the picture, since they were automatically generated.

I hope you spend your free time doing whatever it is that makes you happy, because none of us ever seem to have enough of it! Ultimately, I was able to make a pattern that I hope I am actually capable of making, so I was able to use the program. And free is a much better price than 200$ for something I can't even try a demo of!
Title: Re: Experiences using the program.
Post by: Arnout on 29 October 2013, 21:51:52
Of course the software has some idea of ppi internally, it's just that this information isn't included in the exported image. I use an existing library function to create the exported file, and I am not even sure whether or not it includes ppi information in that. If it does, it is some sort of default value; out of thin air, as you say.

The relation between actual size and exported image size also depends on the current zoom level in the software; the further you zoom in, the larger the exported image becomes. So that may explain the varying sizes.

Title: Re: Experiences using the program.
Post by: wulfae on 31 October 2013, 15:24:55
I'm sorry to keep replying, but I'm really not talking about the exported images. I'm talking about when I imported something that was 906 pixels wide, which I then worked on not knowing that the software made it 30 inches big. Then, when I printed the pattern pieces (not exported an image, that was just an example I was showing a friend which should have tipped me off to the size problems) the printed pieces were going to re-assemble to give me something that was 30 inches big, instead of 30 centimetres.

So not really any problem with the exporting of an image, it's the printing of the final pattern.