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Hello all. I am working on a project that I'm not sure if there's a better way of doing it and i'm hoping to get some advice. The client wants a photo-realistic cross stitch of an image. I pixellated the image to use as a pattern (attached - just need the woman processed, not the background), and created a stroke x with an emboss effect and shadows. 

Now for the tedious part: I am placing the x on the pattern, recoloring the stroke to match the pattern color. One by one. At this point, it's probably easier for me to actually do an actual fabric cross stitch than the way I'm doing it. There's a lot of PSD actions out there to do the embroidery actions, but none work with AD/AP. I canceled my Adobe, so I don't have access to Photoshop. I looked for an embroidered cross stitch pattern that I can use as a clipping path, but couldn't find any. Overlaying a cross stitch raster pattern doesn't work either (and I can't find a cross stitch pattern large enough to overlay). At my wits end, although, putting the cross stitches on the pattern is pretty relaxing. Please help.

SharedScreenshot1.jpg

Cross Stitch.afdesign

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I'm thinking you're on the right path with the pixellation, although I think rather than recolouring the stitches individually you could try using the blending modes to achieve the same effect and just use a large grid of identical stitches that overlay the colours? You may need to experiment with this, and perhaps have two layers of cross stitch pattern - one for the stitch highlights using 'screen' mode, and one for the stitch shadows using 'multiply' mode. These can then be layered over the pixellated image which will supply the colour. You'd need to ensure the stiches were the same size as the pixellation effect, so that each stitch fits into a pixellated square exactly. To remove the colour area outside of the actual stitches then you could have a white surround for the stitch on the highlights layer. It would probably be a lot easier to make the stiches using Designer as you can utilise the smart duplicate feature to create the grid of stitches a lot faster, but it should be achievable using Photo alone.

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Here's a couple of files to show the idea I'm getting at. There's a single cross stich file with the original cross stich in it (with layers etc.) which I quickly created in Photo using a couple of rounded rectangles and a background square. This would ideally be duplicated up into a grid before exporting as a sheet of stitches for both highlights and shadows. I've also attached a test file which shows a pixellated image with the stitches exported and placed into a grouped item with the layer modes applied. This allows them to be placed over the pixellated image and create a similar effect to what you had but without having to recolour anything (I've imported a single stitch image and duplicated it here, but an entire sheet could be exported so that this could happen in one step). Obviously, I've done this super quick as a demo, and you'd need to carefully match the sizes better than I have here, but it should give you the idea.

cross stitch test.afphoto

cross stitch.afphoto

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Something else I've thought of that goes with the previous idea ... you could use a bitmap fill (using the gradient tool then selecting bitmap in the context bar dropdown) on a couple of rectangles (one for highlights, one for shadows) to create a grid of stitches without duplicating them all separately.

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Thank you very much, Dazzler. Working with a combination of gridwork and a lot of clean up and filters I was able to create this. Thanks for your help. I ended up using a single cross stitch that I liked, extracted the highlights/shadows and then using it to fill in a canvas of cross stitches. Then traced edges then deleting the background, screen/multiply, and adding emboss/shadow effects on a fabric texture. Liked it very much. Thanks for saving me from having to deal with all of that fiddling. 

Cross Stitch sample.png

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