Embroidery format VP3

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Machine embroidery
Module: Embroidery format
to finalize avanced
2020/05/20
See also

VP3 format is a Pfaff format. Unlike most other embroidery formats. It's divided into stitchblocks. Conceptually it's typical to think of embroidery rather than the set of low level commands which control the machine but as sets of unbroken stitches in a particular color. While this is quite common at the level of embroidery software, most formats typically consist of large dumps of direct embroidery commands with some various cruft for the machines in question.

1 Hierarchy

Within VP3 there are several places where what appear to tags and locations. For example 010 is just before the stitch block and points to the end of the stitches excluding a zero. Outside of that, there's a 050 tag that also points to the end of the stitches, but outside of the trailing \0. There are two sections that appear to point to end of file. 020 points to the end of file and 030 points to end of current design. There is almost always just one design.

A PES2Card utility change-log includes some interesting changes like "Corrected positioning for VP3 multi hoop designs", and "Corrected out of bounds bitmap for positioned vp3 files" -- This document contains no documentation on multi-hoop or any bitmaps linked to or contained within the files. However, as with a lot of embroidery, everything tends to write out the bare minimum and reads the bare minimum.

  1. Files
    1. File Data
    2. Design (Can be multiples)
      1. ColorBlock (Can be multiples)
        1. StitchBlock
      2. Additonal ColorBlocks*
    3. Addition Designs*

Few files have multiple designs. Most have multiple color blocks.

2 Header

VP3 consists of: a magic code, some hoop and design information, a number for the number of stitch blocks and stitch blocks.

Type Bytes Value Description
`string` 5 %vsm% Magic String. ( vsmsoftware produced the format )
`s8` 1 '\0' maybe null terminator for the string.
`16be` 2 byte_length Production String Bytes (N0)
`UTF-16BE` N0 "Produced by ...." Production String


3 File Data 020

Type Bytes Value Description
`s8` 3 \x00\x02\x00 Tag indicates the following is a location.
`32be` 2 Bytes_To_EOF bytes the the end of the file.
`16be` 2 byte_length Notes String Length, 00 for blank (N1)
`UTF-16BE` N1 "" Settings and Notes String. Usually blank.

Note, at the file level the notes data is usually the sum of all the other designs data text. The settings section data is prefixed "Settings:"

3.1 Extends Section

VP3 like most embroidery is y-flipped from common programming languages. Most models put the origin point in the upper-left point programming in quadrant III whereas embroidery is almost always Quadrant I with the origin point in the lower-left. Consequently most overt numbers within embroidery have to be y-flipped.

VP3 however stores all position information as multiplied by 100 as a conversion between the standard units of Embroidery 1/10th mm. This actually gives the units therefore in 1*10^-6 and are micron or (micrometers or micrometres).

Type Bytes Description
`s16be` 2 Right * 100
`s16be` 2 -Top * 100
`s16be` 2 Left * 100
`s16be` 2 -Bottom * 100

3.2 File Count Information

Type Bytes Value Description
`u8` 1 \x00 unknown
`u8` 1 count_threads the number of expected total color blocks, in total
`u8` 1 \x0C Unknown
`u8` 1 \x00 Unknown
`u8` 1 count_designs the expected number of designs in total, usually 1

4 Design Block 030

Type Bytes Value Description
`s8` 3 \x00\x03\x00 Tag indicates the following is a location.
`32be` 2 bytes to end of design bytes the end of current design (EOF if 1 design)
`s32be` 4 center_x Design center. In microns. max_x - half_width * 100
`s32be` 4 -center_y Design center. In microns. max_y - half_height * -100
`u8` 1 \x00 Unknown
`u8` 1 \x00 Unknown
`u8` 1 \x00 Unknown
`s32be` 4 -half_width -half_width, If center_x were made zero, this is the extends.
`s32be` 4 half_width +half_width
`s32be` 4 -half_height -half_height
`s32be` 4 half_height +half_height
`16be` 2 byte_length Notes String Length, 00 for blank (N1)
`UTF-16BE` N1 "" Settings and Notes String. For this design in particular.
`u8` 1 \x64 'd' maybe "dd", maybe 25700 (the 00 in dec end makes that seem like a position)
`u8` 1 \x64 see above
`s32be` 4 4096 Unknown, b'\x00\x00\x10\x00'
`s32be` 4 0 Unknown, b'\x00\x00\x00\x00'
`s32be` 4 0 Unknown, b'\x00\x00\x00\x00'
`s32be` 4 4096 Unknown, b'\x00\x00\x10\x00'
`string` 4 "xxPP" Magic String?
`u8` 1 \x01 Unknown
`u8` 1 \x00 Unknown
`16be` 2 byte_length Production String Bytes (N1)
`UTF-16BE` N1 "Produced by ...." Production String
`u16be` 2 color_blocks_in_design_block Color blocks in this design block

5 Color Blocks

Type Bytes Value Description
`s8` 3 \x00\x05\x00 Tag indicates the following is a location.
`32be` 2 Bytes_to_next_block Distance to the next block. +Seek on this location takes you to the next 050
`s32be` 4 start_position_from_center_x In microns, initial position relative to center_x
`s32be` 4 start_position_from_center_y In microns, initial position relative to center_y
vp3_thread x thread_data Thread for this color block
`s32be` 4 position_shift_in_block_x In microns, first stitch to last stitch difference
`s32be` 4 position_shift_in_block_y In microns, first stitch to last stitch difference
stitch_data x stitch_data Stitch information for this data.
`s8` 1 \x00 End of color_block

Keep in mind the 050 flag ends here, after the 1 byte \x00. The 010 inside the stitch data ends within that block, without the 0. Some explanations miss this point.

5.1 VP3 Thread

In most typical use case of 1 color:

  • 01 00 00 RR GG BB 00 00 00 05 28
  • This reads: 1 thread, standard integration, RRGGBB, zero parts, for zero length, Rayon 40 weight.
Type Bytes Value Description
`s8` 1 colors_in_thread Color Entries. (typically this is 1)
`s8` 1 \x00 Flag between method of color mixing. 0 == hard transition, 1 gradient.
`s8` 6 * colors_in_thread thread table entries Color Elements
`s8` 1 \x01 | \x0A Material 05 is Rayon, 0A is Silk, 04 Cotton, 06 Polyester, 03 Metallic Holographic, ect
`s8` 1 40, 30 This is thread weight. 40 weight is standard. So \0x28 is most common.
`u16be` 2 string_length (N0) Length of Catalog String
`UTF-8` N0 Catalog String Catalog Number of Thread Described.
`u16be` 2 string_length (N1) Length of Description String
`UTF-8` N1 Description String Description of Thread Described. (Eg. Meadow Red)
`u16be` 2 string_length (N2) Length of Brand String
`UTF-8` N2 Brand String Brand of Thread Described.
Type Bytes Value Description
`u24be` 3 RRGGBB Thread Color
`s8` 1 \x0A Color Parts (larger values mean shorter thread), rare to see not \x0A
`s16be` 1 \x00 Length for this color within the thread.

5.2 Stitch Data

Type Bytes Value Description
`s8` 3 \x00\x01\x00 Tag indicates the following is a location.
`32be` 2 bytes_to_end_of_stitch_data Distance to the end of stitches. Usually there's only a trailing 0 left in the color block, then the next color_block starts.
`s8` 3 \x0A\xF6\x00 Stitch start.
`s8` N Encoded stitches Stitches

5.3 Stitch Encode

Type Bytes Value Description
`s8` 2 0x80, 0x01 Enable Long Form.
`s8` 2 0x80, 0x02 Disable Long Form.
`s8` 2 0x80, 0x03 End. (Usually only found in final stitch block)
`s8` 2 x, y Stitch dx, dy
`s16be` 4 LONG FORM: x, y Uses 2 byte encoding for x and y. If 255 or greater, assume this is a trim.

Jumps usually take the form \x80,\x01, x_highbits, x_lowbits, y_highbits, y_lowbits, \x80, \x02, however since there seems to be no way to force a trim (maybe jump away from the stitch location then jump back), threads less than 255 often get sewn.

6 Also See