Photoshop Digital Sewing Thread
Forget hunting for the needle and thread, sew digitally with this Photoshop tutorial and create your very own Digital Stitching. Source files are included and I promise you, you won’t have to spend hours threading a needle!
Step 1 – The inevitable ‘New Document’
Open Photoshop and create a New Document.
For the purpose of this tutorial, we have a document 630 pixels wide by 350 pixels.
Step 2 – Observe
Before we continue, take a look at the clothes you are wearing and somewhere on there, there will be some stitching. Look at how the fibres of the thread cross and twist together and what shadows are created.
This is what we are going to recreate in Photoshop.
Step 3 – Creating the ‘thread’
All we create here is a single stitch of thread as it appears above fabric, as this is all we are ever going to see.
In a new layer with a hard-edged, circular brush and in solid black, draw the following. Don’t worry if yours is not exactly the same as many threads are different and in any case, at the scale we will be ‘sewing’, minor details will not be seen.
Using the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M), select a box around your stitch and making sure you have a transparent background, create a brush present.
To do this go to Edit » Define Brush Preset… give it a name.
Step 4 – Threading the needle…
With the Brush Tool (B) selected, go to your newly created thread brush preset.
In order to achieve a natural sewing effect, we will apply a few settings through the Photoshop Brush Engine:-
You can see now in the preview window that the stitching flows more naturally and so now we can begin ‘sewing’.
NOTE: Depending on the size of stitching you wish to use will determine what you need to set in the Brush Engine. For example, if you are looking for a widely spaced stitch, alter the ‘Spacing’ accordingly until you find something that is suitable in the preview window.
Step 5 – Digital Sewing
Chose an appropriate colour for your thread and using the Pen Tool (P), create a path of your name or a word you desire to have in thread.
With your path(s) selected, right click and apply Stroke Path… making sure ‘Brush’ is selected in the dropdown and that there is not a check in ‘Simulate Pressure’.
Finally apply a subtle Bevel and Emboss for some highlight and shadow.
Step 6 – Final Details
Here is the final effect with some included shadow where the needle pierces the fabric and a basic background texture.
The shadow is created just using an opaque black circular brush on a layer behind the thread and exercising some patience. The background is just a layer with a canvas texture applied to it and two layers above with fibres set at a low opacity in Multiply blend mode.
Step 7 – Digital Stitching a website graphic
Above is another example of how this digital stitching can be applied in the creation of web site graphics.
Some examples of Digitally Sewn Thread
I hope you got something out of this tutorial and if you’ve got some digitally sewn creations, please feel free to share them in a comment! I have also included the source file for this tutorial above which is free for you to download and use.
Thanks for reading!
Alex | @ZenElements