Comparison of Cross Stitch Programs

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Servotron
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Comparison of Cross Stitch Programs

Postby Servotron » Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:17 pm

So I got it into my head to look at some of the different Cross Stitch programs out to see what some of them have to offer. I've looked at eight different programs and made some picture comparisons of the charts as well. I'll try and keep this updated and if you think I've missed something, let me know in your comments.

1. PC Stitch Pro (I looked at version 8, but I doubt it's worse than 9) http://www.pcstitch.com
    Cost: PC Stitch 9 Standard $39.95 (approx £28), PC Stitch 9 Pro $79.95 (approx £56)
    .pat file type
    Import Wizard
    can import commonly supported graphic files
    exports images as .jpeg, .tif, .bmp, .pcx
    Can define between different types of stitches (full, ¾, ½, ¼, etc)
    Uses a variety of different threads including DMC and Anchor.
    Can easily edit and change colours.
    Can print different types of charts (black & white, colour etc)

2. KG Chart 1.09.05 http://www.iktsoft.net/kgchart-en/kgchart/
    free: no cost
    .sth file type
    no import wizard
    can import commonly supported graphic files
    exported image are x2 the original size (ie 72x108 pixels outputs at 144x216 pixels)
    exports images as .bmp, .tif, .jpeg, .png, .ico, .tga, .jp2
    .tif exports as .gif
    only uses DMC thread
    Can easily edit and change colours.
    Can print different types of charts (black & white, colour etc)

3. PM Stitch Creator 3.0 http://www.stoik.com/hobby/stitch/
    Cost $49 (cd optional) (approx £34)
    .cse file type
    Import Wizard
    can import commonly supported graphic files including Photoshop .psd files.
    exports images as .bmp, .jpeg, .tif, .tga, .pcx, png, .fpx, .psd
    uses DMC, Anchor, Madeira and J&P Coates.
    Uses numbers or symbols on charts.
    Able to edit and change colours
    Able to add different types of stitches.
    Can print different types of charts (black & white, colour etc)
    seems to think everything should be measured in centimetres rather than inches (This annoyed me)

4. Winstitch 2009 http://www.ursasoftware.com/WinStitch/WinStitch.html
    Cost approx $47 (£33) (download)
    .chart file type
    Import Wizard
    can import commonly supported graphic files
    can only export into jpegs and webpages
    uses variety of threads including DMC and Anchor
    able to edit and change colours
    struggles with lots of colours?

5. Stitch Colour v2.0 http://home.hetnet.nl/~f2halida0/index.html
    Cost: free
    only opens .bmp, .jpg and .gif
    no exporting of image or chart
    no print preview
    only uses DMC
    no saving of files
    able to resize picture

6. Hobbyware Pattern Maker for Cross Stitch v4 http://www.hobbyware.com/
    Cost: $60 (£42) standard, $120 (£84) Professional
    Import Wizard
    can import commonly supported graphic files
    .xsd and .pat file types
    uses variety of threads including DMC and Anchor
    no exporting of images and charts in standard, only professional.
    Exports as .jpeg, .tiff, .bmp, .gif, .pcx, macintosh picture
    can support different types of stitches

7. DP Software Cross Stitch Professional Platinum http://www.dpsoftware.co.uk/
    Cost: $89 (£75) standard, $149 (£125) plus, $479 (£399) publisher
    .xsp file type
    very basic Import Wizard
    can import commonly supported file types
    export of image and charts in plus and publisher only.
    Uses variety of threads including DMC and Anchor
    supports 75 colours per pattern in standard, 220 per pattern in plus and publisher.
    Supports editing of picture

8. Easy Cross 2004 http://www.easycross.co.uk
    Cost: $54 (£29.95) standard, $90 (£49.95) deluxe, $180 (£99.95)
    .wxs file type
    Import Wizard
    can import common graphics files
    exports as .bmp, .tif, .pcx
    uses variety of threads including DMC and Anchor
Last edited by Servotron on Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Servotron
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Re: Comparison of Cross Stitch Programs

Postby Servotron » Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:43 pm

I've made two pictures comparisons from the different programs, a simple screenshot from Super Mario World, and a more complex screenshot from Street Fighter Alpha II. These are unedited shots, except for the size, and I let the programs use as many colours as they liked. I'll also note how many colours the programs used.

Mario comparison 1.png
Mario comparison 1.png (8.68 KiB) Viewed 14145 times

1. Original sprite. 2. PC Stitch- 20 3. KG Chart- 18 4. PM Stitch- 20 5. Winstitch- 19

Mario comparison 2.png
Mario comparison 2.png (7.46 KiB) Viewed 14133 times

1. Original Sprite 2. Hobbyware- 18 3. DP Software- 20 4. Easy Cross- 20 5. (Not shown- no export) Stitch Colour- 20
These three shots were taken from screenshots from the programs as they either had no export function or it was locked out of the demo version.

As you can see, you get varing degrees of colour from each program. PM Stitch seems to be the closest colour-wise, while KG Chart makes the chart darker than the original sprite. (It was this that made me look into making this guide). Now for Street Fighter.

sfa2 comparison.png
sfa2 comparison.png (31.71 KiB) Viewed 14133 times

1. Original sprite. 2. PC Stitch- 53 3. KG Chart- 42 4. PM Stitch- 52 5. Winstitch- 33?
(Not too sure about the Winstitch count. It gave out a lot of numbers, but once I had taken out all the one with a count of zero stitches, I was left with 33 colours.

sfa2 comparison 2.png
sfa2 comparison 2.png (28.7 KiB) Viewed 14128 times

1. Original Sprite 2. Hobbyware- 48 3. DP Software- 49 4. Easy Cross- 43 5. (Not shown- no export) Stitch Colour- 51

Again, PM Stitch seems to be the closest colour-wise to the original sprite, while KG Chart, Hobbyware and Easy Cross have trouble with the subtle background.

I'm not sure what to make of all this. PM Stitch seems to be better at matching colours to the original sprite, but it does look to me that the exported image is exactly the same as the original image, so it makes me wonder if PM Stitch changes the sprite colours at all and just exports out the same image that was put in. What are everyone's thoughts? Any questions?
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Re: Comparison of Cross Stitch Programs

Postby johloh » Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:35 am

interesting...pm stitch def exports out the best image...but like you said that doesnt necessarily means its a better pattern...because the output of floss colors is the important part...could you compare floss lists of PM and PC? (since those look like the best exports)
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Re: Comparison of Cross Stitch Programs

Postby tnitnetny » Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:25 am

I agree that the list of the dmc threads is a great idea. It will give us a chance to eyeball the thread and the picture and decide which is actually the closest.

I use PM stitch and it does seem to just export the original picture when I am trying to show someone what I am currently working on. I am making a pattern for funshine bear for a child and it gave me more orangey colors instead of yellow. I just eyeballed the colors at the store and will use the pattern for a guide.

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Re: Comparison of Cross Stitch Programs

Postby Servotron » Fri Feb 13, 2009 7:01 am

Mario comparison 3.png
Mario comparison 3.png (5.76 KiB) Viewed 14080 times

1. Original Sprite 2. PC Stitch 3. PM Stitch

____PC Stitch________________PM Stitch____
    310_____________________310
    433______________________444
    725______________________518
    726______________________598
    754______________________743
    775______________________792
    792______________________797
    793______________________831
    797______________________956
    825______________________973
    892______________________3371
    898______________________3706
    917______________________3756
    959______________________3760
    973______________________3774
    3705_____________________3820
    3810_____________________3831
    3838_____________________3838
    3852_____________________3839
    3865_____________________3865

The two programs both use 20 colours, and share 6 of the same numbers. (The ones in bold type). For the curious, 310 and 3865 are black and white. 792 is the dark blue shading on the platform. 797 is the royal (dark) blue around the seat of Mario's dungarees. 973 is the main yellow of the yellow switch. In both PC Stitch and PM Stitch, 3838 is used for the mid-tone blue colour of the platform, however PC Stitch also uses 3838 for the diamond shapes in the background, whereas PM Stitch uses 518 (Wedgewood Light).

Would you like a list of the colours from the Street Fighter pic as well? I can tell you that PC Stitch uses 53 colours, PM Stitch 52 colours, and they share 17 colours.
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Re: Comparison of Cross Stitch Programs

Postby Zopa » Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:26 pm

Also, this thread is amazing, Servotron! I'm bookmarking to come back to later on. =]

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Re: Comparison of Cross Stitch Programs

Postby MyPhotoStitch » Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:22 am

Great post Servotron! It's a really interesting comparison. Out of curiosity, has anyone checked to see how well the suggested thread colors match up with the actual floss colors? I only ask, since there seems to be some differences of opinions between the programs, which would affect the results, and I'd be curious to know which program had a better model of the true floss colors.

For example, PC Stitch and PM Stitch both use 973 for the main yellow of the yellow switch, but according to PC stitch the color is (pardon my use of hex) #FFE300 whereas PM Stitch uses #F8F800 (edit: that's the color from the original) , and http://www.elaida.org/ claims that it's #FFC243 . It's a pretty substantial difference between the 3, color-wise.

I went ahead and spot checking some other pixels in the PM Stitch "preview", it looks like PM Stitch is just using the original image (i.e. all the spots on the PM Stitch I checked had identical pixel colors to the original image).

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Re: Comparison of Cross Stitch Programs

Postby dpsoftware » Sun May 31, 2009 2:43 pm

As the author of Cross Stitch Professional for Windows (DP Software) I would just like to point out that a comparison of the screen previews is not a good indication of the performance of a cross stitch program in colour matching.

As the previous poster has pointed out, the first problem is that some programs show you what you want to see rather than the truth - that is they use the colour values from the original image and not those from their thread colour database.

A second problem is that since the thread manufacturers do not publish colour values, each program author has to determine their own colour values for each colour in the range. Some programs have better representations than others and this is where the biggest errors are made. Screen previews of the better programs show you the actual thread colours but these can only be as good as the programs colour database.

The only useful comparison is to stitch each pattern and compare the results. Unfortunately I don't have the time to do this but if anyone does, I would be most interested in the results.

For graphics like these examples, this is probably the only test needed but if you are starting with photographs then you also need to test a programs ability to reduce the number of colours as you will be stating from many more colours than you will want to stitch with. There are very big differences in the way these programs choose which colours to use and which to discard or merge.

Dave Peters
DP Software

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Re: Comparison of Cross Stitch Programs

Postby lugialady904 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:47 am

ive got a charting program you havent tried.
Jane Greenoff's Cross stitch designer (amazon it) its not brillinant for JPEG. images but works brilliantly for Bitmaps. only prob is... every sprite ive come across is GIF. which makes it a pain when it comes to charting. the colours change when i save as bitmap which makes em look a bit pants really. (diddnt want to swear...) but does have a very large range of thread brands (paterna, mill hill beads, and the traditional anchor DMC and madeira)

i also wouldnt reccomend it for large charts either. pain in the bum to print the colour key as it only has about 9 symbols on a page before it changes to a different page...
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