Common Ground: Glass

This is a review of Glass Eye 2000 that appeared in the IGGA newsletter Common Ground: Glass, reprinted with their permission.


The original edition of Glass Eye, a Computer Aided Design (CAD) program developed specifically for stained glass artists, was released in 1996. The innovative program, which was developed by Dragonfly Software, has been sold to thousands of people in over 40 countries. In June 2001 the new version of this program, which Dragonfly refers to as the "Glass Eye for the 21st Century", has been released under the name of Glass Eye 2000.

The IGGA was loaned a beta version of this software and for several months I have been testing its capabilities and new functions. Installation was easy and straightforward. My testing was done on a PC running Windows 98.

After the installation, I was surprised at how easy it was to begin using the program. You create patterns in two different ways. Drawing is accomplished by using small "knots" or points on the screen to define your shape. Once you create the knots, the program automatically draws the lines and curves (similar to "connect the dots"). You can easily modify the shapes by relocating the knots. There appears to be no limit to the complexity of the shapes you can achieve. I was especially impressed with the ease with which the program draws smooth curves. In addition, the program can handle leadlines of virtually any width (or even no width at all, useful for doing patterns for fusing).

A second way to create a pattern is to import an existing image. You can do this directly from a scanner, or by importing a file. Unlike the original Glass Eye, which could only handle a single file format, Glass Eye 2000 handles most popular file formats, including JPEG and TIFF files. Once imported, you can trace the pattern and then modify it if desired or just rescale and print out.

The printing functions of Glass Eye 2000 also worked well. The program allows for printing actual size patterns or resizing to fit on a page. Really large patterns are automatically "tiled" or printed on multiple pages that can be taped together.

In addition to improved file handling and printing capabilities, Glass Eye 2000 also boasts several major enhancements. Probably the most useful of these is the library of glass samples from Armstrong, Bullseye, Kokomo, Spectrum, Uroboros, and Youghiogheny. These samples can actually be incorporated in your patterns, giving you a much better impression of how the finished work will appear. It's even possible to add more images to the glass library (or even to design your own glass colors).

Other enhancements included in Glass Eye 2000 are automatic piece numbering, a calculator for cost estimation, the ability to put text annotations on the drawing, and an extensive built-in Help function. The automatic piece numbering was especially impressive, with the ability to precisely fit the number in the right place on each piece, no matter how complex.

Glass Eye 2000 is an impressive package. It allows even the novice to quickly and easily design and print out patterns. It's well worth looking into for those who do a lot of pattern design, especially considering the available of a free month long trial at the Dragonfly website ( If desired, you can also download a free pattern resizer. Dragonfly also has a library of over 340 patterns that is also freely available online.

The one quibble I do have is the decision by Dragonfly to offer the software in two versions: Standard and Professional. The Standard edition has the full drawing and printing capability, but it has only limited text, piece numbering, and image import and export functions. More significantly, it also lacks the library of glass samples and the ability to assign prices to glass.

~ Brad Walker

Common Ground: Glass is published quarterly as the newsletter of the International Guild of Glass Artists, Inc., a 501(c)(6) nonprofit corporation. The IGGA is an association of artists working in glass as an artistic medium, seeking to share experiences and a passion for glass with all interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, all submitted materials become the property of the writer or Common Ground: Glass and cannot be reproduced without permission.

© International Guild of Glass Artists