Power, Jess, Apeagyei, P.R. and Jefferson, A.M. (2011) Integrating 3D Scanning Data & Textile Parameters into Virtual Clothing. In: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on 3D Body Scanning Technologies. Hometrica Consulting, Lugano, Switzerland, pp. 213-224. ISBN 978-3-033-03134-0

Globalisation has changed the face of the clothing and textile industries in many developed and developing nations. In the twenty first century no longer are clothes manufactured and retailed in specific local regions. Fashion and clothing have joined textiles in becoming a truly global operation. Despite this revolution many authors report that clothing and textiles still lag behind other manufacturing industries in relation to their enthusiasm to adopt new product development processes. The traditional clothing product development route is labour and time intensive and this process often involves a series of fit trials on live models to ensure satisfactory fit is achieved.

Garment design and realisation is a highly specialised domain which demands skills across a wide variety of disciplines. CAD and computation technologies in apparel have existed for a number of years however they have provided separate working environments for those involved in design and garment construction. Whilst each specific system has been successfully integrated into their respective stage of the product design process, they have created a distinctive divide between design and apparel construction. Virtual simulation software could reduce or completely eliminate the intensive sampling stages by providing a true to life representation of the product without embarking in any physical manufacturing. It offers the opportunity to design, produce patterns, create a virtual manufactured garment and test fit in one environment.

Many authors have identified essential components within 3D virtual simulation as; the digital cloning of the human body, the exact input of fabric parameters, precise computation models, and effective joining of the 2D pattern components. Modelling a human form (avatar) and simulating tactile materials involves collaboration across many different disciplines. The human body is a complex form and virtual representation is dependent on accurate physical anatomical landmarking. Modern 3D body scanning has provided the opportunity to obtain sophisticated data in relation to a 3D form. 3D scans generate thousands of data points which can be manipulated to create static or dynamic forms. The animation industry has utilised this technology extensively in gaming during the last century, which has generated much interest within the apparel industries.

Virtual garment simulation offers opportunities in apparel in four distinct areas; Firstly speed to market; Secondly, opportunities for niche and luxury custom made garments where the customer could be the designer of their own garment; Thirdly, in e-commerce, a garment could be selected from a multimedia catalogue and viewed on a body shape similar to the consumer; and finally in the development of fitted garments (sportswear and intimate apparel) where the apparel could be designed with accurate mapping of comfort and support. 3D virtual simulation is set to play an important role within apparel product development in the future. This paper presents a discussion regarding 3D scanning technologies, available 3D virtual simulation software and methods of obtaining the fabric parameters. One commercial system is discussed in terms of the integration between the body scanning data and the resultant avatar, and the inputting of the textile parameters in relation to the fabric representation.

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