Design Education Solution

The Speed Step package consists of two pieces of interactive computer-aided design software for textiles and graphic design. It is accessible and easy to use.

Speed Step Sketch is used to create initial sketches of garments and other textiles products. Speed Step Painter is used to create styles, patterns and logos ready for printing directly to fabrics and other materials. There is also a 3D simulation function for visualising fabric designs on garments and soft furnishings.

What will this software do for me and my students?

Speed Step Sketch will enable students to create drawings of textile products from a library of objects such as pockets, sleeves, button-holes and stitch styles or draw their own product ideas using standard vector drawing tools. Background images can be loaded from file or scanned in order to trace  selected shapes. The drawings are saved for further design work in Speed Step Painter and can be recorded on a specification sheet. Teachers can create their own items to add to the library of garment components supplied with the software.

Speed Step Painter will allow students to explore the use of pattern and colour in designs for printing on, or transferring to fabrics and other materials. Students can create stripes, checks, all-over prints, logos, woven pattern designs and patterns with repeats and drops. They can experiment with a range of colourways, create storyboards and design specifications. Drawings from Speed Step Sketch can be imported for the application of designs in colour. Students can evaluate their designs by using a 3D simulation with either a drawing or photograph of a prototype product.

Together, Speed Step Sketch and Speed Step Painter create a design environment to support the development of ideas for textile design, but they are also useful in other areas of design and technology where colour and pattern designs are applied to materials.

What does the software do?

Speed Step Sketch is vector-drawing software that was designed specifically to fit the work flow requirements of the garment industry. Its powerful drawing tools, library functions and well organised interface allow you to quickly and accurately create new styles, or modify and reuse existing drawings. This eliminates the need to copy or redraw your sketches and technical drawings again and again. You can add dimensions with labels to your drawing relating to the size specification for the garment. When you are working in scale you can automatically add the measurements directly to your drawing.

With Speed Step Painter you can create or modify coloured pattern styles. If you prefer to work your design on paper or other materials, all you need to do is to scan your artwork into Speed Step Painter which will help you to reduce colour, create repeats and choose colour ways quickly and easily. The software has a wide range of editing and transformation tools for handling graphics. The software easily imports drawings from Speed Step Sketch for filling with fabric designs or logos. Speed Step Painter also has a very powerful 3D simulation function for "draping" your fabric design onto a drawn shape (e.g. figurine) or even a photograph. Use a combination of the powerful tools to create seasonal catalogues and storyboards. There is comprehensive control for printed output to paper, transfer paper or direct to fabrics.

Where does it fit into design and technology?

Speed Step supports the design, development and presentation of ideas using colour, pattern and graphics. It is a design tool that works alongside other forms of modelling such as freehand drawing and the creation of mood boards. It has proved very effective in coursework by allowing the exploration of alternative designs and as a precursor to further development of ideas by drawing.

Its application is mainly to textiles technology as it was designed for the fashion companies, but, as the graphic tools are comparable (and in some instances superior) to other graphics software, it can be recommended for all areas of design and technology.

How does it link with other software?

Any of the images of objects can be exported in a number of graphic formats for use in other graphics software or for creating portfolios. There is a built-in function to place images on templates in Microsoft Word®. Designs can also be sent by email from within SpeedStep Painter and SpeedStep Sketch. Speed Step will import graphics in a range of formats.

Where can it be used in school (e.g. KS3, etc)?

The work flow through Speed Step supports Textiles project work at all Key Stages, also students of Graphic Products will find it useful for developing their design ideas. The software supports the revised National Curriculum and is essential for students of Textiles at KS4 onwards and the Creative and Media Diploma.As there is a student edition of the software that is licensed for home use, students can spend time learning and using the software, which often means that some students rapidly become expert users.