Approach & Process

Everything You Need To Know About 3D Denim Fabric Simulation

In today's fast-paced manufacturing environment, 3D fabric simulation can raise some genuine challenges, particularly denim. This article will break down some of these challenges and address them.

May 31, 2021
Written by
Tanya Balwani

In today's fast-paced manufacturing environment, 3D fabric simulation can raise some genuine challenges, particularly denim. This article will break down some of these challenges and address them.

Denim can be challenging to digitise for several reasons. While we can't digitise the wabi-sabi characteristics of denim, we can be conscious of specific considerations that allow us to make digital denim a market-ready solution for mills to scale their growth.

Here's a quick guide on what you need to consider before going ahead with digitising your fabrics :

  1. Visual Data Is the technology capable of capturing the inconsistencies and texture of denim?
  2. Fabric Physics - How well is the technology adept at simulating physical characteristics such as draping and performance under different conditions such as light and stretch (tension).
  3. Denim Laundry Data - Does the visual data set facilitate collaboration across various stages in the supply chain?

Visual Data

You may think your denim is blue or black, but it isn't. A computer doesn't see the world of denim the same way people do, which is why virtual fashion will always be a work in progress. It sees the world in binary, i.e., zeros (0) and ones (1). If you've ever looked close enough at your favourite pair of jeans, you'll see tiny dashes of white throughout. Call it character, texture or inconsistencies; either way, that makes denim a challenge for technology to capture and visualise accurately. Colour accuracy and calibration of (digital) denim are crucial because indigo (the dye) and the dyeing method add complexity – due to the lack of consistent colour throughout the fabric.

Testing fades on raw denim fabric with Jeanologia

For proper simulation denim, the technology in question must capture every weave, imperfection, and fade correctly. This may lead you to think that you need to invest heavily in equipment, but that's not true. The quality of your data and the ability of your technology of choice to visualise it is what makes a huge difference —the more inconsistencies reflected in a given fabric, the more data you need to simulate it correctly.

Fabric Physics

The Fashion Design Department at Anadolu University in Turkey published a study that found that the number one challenge in applying 3D systems in textiles and garments is the draping. Despite the positive results that we see with existing technologies, without more data and the ability to process it, the quality of complex fabrics such as denim won't improve.

Further differences in performance, stress, and environment also denim a unique case in 3D digitisation. How it stretches and how it reacts to light also affects the quality of 3D renderings. A virtual garment needs to follow the shape and movements of the human body. Therefore, creating the appropriate fabric simulation must consider these properties and conditions.

To achieve true-to-life simulations, you need to combine three fundamental elements in creating a 3D garment: the body shape you want to dress, the pattern geometry of the model, and the information about the fabric, such as behaviour and visual properties.

Laundry Data

Shirt being digitally altered in Jeanologia's e-designer

As of today, each wash down panel has to be adjusted in real life before it is digitised or even altered in digital environments. For accurate simulation, it needs a rich data set known as laundry data. Laundry data in this context can be anything relating to deliberate treatments, including abrasions and fades.

Digital denim is still in its infancy. Manufacturers and brands who want to make this a long-lasting change, and something that can truly revolutionise the industry, need to collaborate across physical and digital supply chains. Designers and manufacturers should work under the same standards and within the same digital environments. Only then will communication and scalability of processes be smooth sailing for everybody, including the end consumer.

Would you like to see better and quicker decision making? Does it address market demand at top speed?

Join the digital transformation with INDIKON as your technological partner, and step into the future.

Introducing INDIKON – A Cloud-based Image Processing Technology Made Exclusively for Denim fabrics

INDIKON powering the denim supply chain from the bottom up

INDIKON is a product created in partnership between Bandicoot, a Sydney based tech startup that specialises in digitising materials, and INQOVA, a digital consultancy for the denim industry based in Hong Kong.

With INDIKON, we are bringing fabric digitisation into the mill. Brands can now sample digital fabrics immediately from mills worldwide and bring materials straight into their favourite 3D software.

Mills can also share their fabric creations with designers and buyers instantly. And they can make adjustments to countless fabrics digitally at a moment's notice — getting rid of an enormous amount of material waste and logistical pollution.

The solution outputs 4K 3D fabric files compatible with Swatchbook, Material Exchange, and other distribution platforms; CLO3D, Browzwear, Optitex, and other 3D fashion design solutions.

INDIKON enables denim mills to build a better digital product development lifecycle to ultimately reduce waste, time, and logistical pollution that come with physical sampling.

Not quite sure what we mean?

Download a sample set of 3D fabrics
to see the potential this has to bring designers closer to suppliers with accurate, high-quality 3D materials.