Switching from atoms to bits
The transition from atoms to bits should begin with a fit standard validation. This is in preparation of the development or securing of a viable avatar upon which to work. During the fit standard validation step there should be a review of the brand’s corporate apparel fit standard, including size chart, range, core size, fit model, fit form, key grade intervals and alpha-numeric size correlations in the context of the brand’s target customer demographic and the competitive market landscape. This can be performed in conjunction with a body shape analysis. During the body shape analysis, a review is taken of the client’s current target customer demographic and compared to an appropriate national sizing research study which presents the total customer distribution over the range of body shapes. A strategic recommendation is then made based on fitting and marketing to the brand’s key primary and secondary shapes for the target population.
Companies looking to implement a holistic digital workflow centered around the use of true-to-life 3D equivalents in place of physical garments will have to test the potential of all of the 3D programs in the market to find the best solution for their business. Each program has its plus and minus. 3D is not a single homogeneous entity; in actuality not all 3D solutions perform exactly the same. Different solutions are strong in different areas and not all can successfully and accurately replicate the characteristics of a physical garment. A serious analysis of each software program will have to be done to see what works best in a given set of circumstances. Companies will have to choose the program that specifically addresses their individual needs. They should examine their brand, what kinds of clothing items they produce and the lead times it takes to traditionally mockup a garment, then compare that information to the value of working in a true-to-life, technical 3D environment.
What is the solution being considered?
Make sure you understand what will be expected of you for the implementation of a 3D prototyping solution, what additional costs there may be, the time required to complete the implementation, practicality of speed and learning curve, the training and support needed to successfully implement the new strategy, the process to transfer data, and anything else that you feel may be relevant to the company’s transition.
It will be important that companies looking to implement a 3D solution have a carefully thought-out strategy with specific plans and projects to find the software that best meets their business objectives. Just having a sales rep come in and give a demo will not tell you if a program is right for your organization nor will it answer all of your important questions. Our assessment showed that there could be a huge gap between perceived advantages and real benefits with these programs depending on what it is you need to accomplish. Companies can download demos of the software or request a demo on CD. This will allow them to familiarize themselves with the interface and see how some of the key functions work with issues they have to deal with.
A testing plan of specific tasks along with a wants list will allow companies to focus on what matters: meeting their costs, their concerns and quality goals. This will allow companies to assess which packages offer the most features from their wants list. In addition to software features they will have to take into account quality of training, technical support and documentation.
If the company is going from atoms to bits for the first time, it will be important to get input from its internal users. The people who will use the software are often the best resource in making these kinds of decisions. Many will have good ideas for implementing the 3D solution solutions within your company culture. If possible, talk to a professional who is using the program. They will have developed a good amount of knowledge about the product and their opinion will be honest and informed.
Before any purchase, a final evaluation should be done. Thoroughly review all of the information received from the vendor against the data you have collected from your personal assessments to ensure that the product you are purchasing dovetails with the end use you have planned. Choosing a 3D solution is more than just picking software, it extends to finding the right partner for a long-term journey. Choosing a 3D solution without understand what you want to accomplish as a final product could lead to a lengthy, time-consuming process of figuring out how to make it fit in with your business operation.
Finally, you have to think about what is your goal. The quest for the perfect fit begins with an understanding of a brand’s target customer demographic. But, the real question is, how perfect do you need to be? If you are doing a T-shirt or a polo shirt or a chemise dress, how perfect does it have to be? But, if you are going to produce true sportswear, coordinated separates or high-end dress arena where garments are more complex, then the software has a ways to go.
Scanners and Avatars
During the process of importing blocks into the Browzwear solution, the research team encountered its first challenge. After importing the patterns from our AccuMark system into Vstitcher, we found that there was a huge discrepancy between the avatars and our pattern pieces. Extensive adjustments were made to the blocks until we wondered how are companies in the industry using their blocks to work on the Browzwear parametric avatars?
Part of our research led us to explore using body measurements generated by 3D body scanners. Scans were taken of our two research students. These scans would then be used in the Browzwear 3D solution to generate two designs that would be customized to fit our two researchers. Each researcher performed three scans, two on the Size Stream SS20 3D body scanner and one on the TC2-19 body scanner. In the series of tests performed using the Size Stream SS20 3D scanner, the two student researchers took two scans each. Each scan contained three passes of scanned data. We were able to perform the scans in one pass by using a Batch Process function, which allowed for multiple scans at once. We then used the median value of the three scans to get the best 3D data output and then used that as the basis for developing the avatars.