In his fourth and final instalment of the series for WhichPLM, Amnon Shalev, CEO & Founder of Virtuality.Fashion, continues his discussion on 3DaaS. Virtuality.Fashion, powered by C-Design, believe in making virtual fashion prototyping effortless, affordable, and accessible to everyone.
In previous articles for WhichPLM, I discussed artistic 3D, generated by 3DaaS (3D as a Service) as a solution bridging between designers and other product development team members, presenting new fashion ideas in high resolution, using minimal input materials such as sketches and pictures and a friendly workflow based on a collaborative, online platform.
Creative 3D visualization requires a different skill-set in comparison to CAD-based 3D. Not only does the input data include very basic data, the 3D visualization software platforms are different, generated from the cinematic and video gaming industries. With CAD-based visualization systems the operator (usually a 2D pattern maker) needs to create a 2D pattern prior to “draping “ it onto a virtual mannequin.
Theoretically, almost any artistic 3D visualization software operator can create fashion models, but in reality there’s more to it. The very nature of “sculpturing” a garment (soft surface) in 3D versus hard-surface items requires a different approach. For a garment to look photo-realistic, there are considerations and effects to be taken into account and created using a wide range of software solutions.
Experience shows that creating a rapid 3D visualization, for marketing purposes rather than production, is an interactive process between the designer and 3D artist. Solid 3DaaS platforms offer the functionality to support interactions between the client and the 3D artists with the intention to reach the look-and-feel based on the designer’s idea, fabric properties and fit.
After creating the perfect life-like 3D garment representation, the client would like to share and collaborate on a virtual showroom. A 3DaaS online platform should provide the capability to share and collaborate.
When considering the above, even as a general framework, we can start to get the feeling as to what it will require in terms of scaling up 3DaaS, with the intention to shift the current 3DaaS main application from B2B to B2C.
The need to produce on demand, made to measure garments will increase following the tools already provided and used by both fashion consumers, SMBs and individuals.
Fashion companies already realize that their customers use technology. Consumers are making more use of video and photo functions, expecting sophisticated retail phone experiences. Retailers will need to use technological advancements to design interactive virtual showrooms and attractive apps. Integrating fashion platforms with camera and video technology will be key; companies will develop a “live” strategy to tap into the power of social media live video streams.
For SMBs and individual designers, social media is also a powerful tool enabling sharing new ideas, sell and produce.
The increasing integration between virtual fit, databases, eCommerce platforms, social media and automated production is bound to support very short runs, even in the near future.
3DaaS operation, as the link between the designers or consumers, will employ 3D artists across multiple time zones, collaborating via a dedicated platform that can manage the entire 3D production workflow, supporting almost 24/7 job handling. Obviously, this kind of operation needs to be cloud based, backed up and data protected.
Since current 3DaaS operations are based on volume orders, there will have to be more changes applied to the workflow and some developments to be made on the 3D visualization side with the intention of reducing the “human factor” related to applying the visual effect. It is quite obvious that AI integration, with current 3D visualization software, is bound to happen and contribute to faster, more accurate 3D simulations. In parallel, AI will also improve fabric draping prediction calculations, multi layers’ behavior forecasting, texture applications and rendering performance.
AI, in general, is already integrated in a few 3D visualization software solutions and is making inroads into eCommerce platforms as well as virtual fit apps. The idea is to achieve customized fit, track and learn consumer behavior and support faster production.
One of the defining factors in reaching the goal of decreasing 3D visualization time and accuracy will be the capability to use less input materials. Imagine young designers, even children, uploading hand sketches as the sole input with the intention to have their styles actually produced. AI will substantially contribute to converting fashion ideas to 2D/3D.
The puzzle pieces
Today, 3DaaS already offers easy job upload and 3D creation; imagine the 3D visualization process becoming more automatic utilizing AI? And what if the suggested 2D/3D file end-result was simulated on an avatar using specified measurements scanned by a 3D scanner or mobile app? These technologies already exist. And many other components supporting automated, made to measure production, and consumer behavior analysis are already deployed.
The process of uploading files should be as easy as Ubering your ride: upload your files, the system should suggest a few production options, select your preferred one and order based on delivery lead time, rating and price. Sound like science fiction?