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Embodee bags US patent for creating 3D Digital Garments
Jun '13
Embodee Corp. has been awarded a U.S. government patent for its unique process of creating and modeling 3D digital garments. Large apparel brands that use the process improve how they merchandise and sell products online.

For the first time, the process makes possible production of an unlimited volume of dynamically rendered garment images at lower incremental costs than conventional photography. Brands can display virtual samples for merchandising to wholesalers and retailers, and finished garments for e-commerce sales.

Any garment is viewable from any angle. This makes it easier for apparel brands to offer multiple design features that their customers can visualize on a 3D model.

In addition, the technology facilitates mass customization, the growing method of manufacturing that enables individuals to customize products online before buying and before the products are made.

The company’s process starts with a single physical garment that’s digitally scanned, stitched, and draped on 3D models, creating virtual renderings true to reality in appearance, size and fit. The Embodee process is now integral to the online operations of some of the world’s most prominent sports apparel brands.

“Apparel imagery is usually produced in a photo studio on a flat surface, draped on a mannequin or worn by a human model,” said Embodee CTO George Borshukov. “Then the photos have to be processed for use in design or in print or on the web. The cost of photography goes up linearly with the number of images taken. Whereas our digital garments can be viewed from all angles, so there’s no need to take multiple photos of the same item in the traditional method.”

Many previous patented innovations in garment digitization focused on providing more cost-effective development and manufacturing of garments from raw materials. Embodee’s invention enables the reverse: taking existing garments from the real world and creating cost-effective yet vivid digital reproductions in any number of variations from just a single sample.

Embodee offers brands and retailers the ease of having images rendered from its servers as a turnkey hosted service. They in turn use the service to digitally merchandise the many varieties of their standard garment products or to enable the visualization of custom apparel products.

The digitization method starts with creating two-dimensional panels of a garment’s individual parts, visually similar to paper patterns used in sewing garments. Along the way key properties are applied.

They include optical properties such as reflectance, which lets simulated lighting accurately showcase digital garments, and physical properties such as gravity, further increasing realism and utility. The process also takes into account fabric weight and weave, and bend, stretch and shear resistance.

Applying these properties creates images comparable to high-end studio photography and significantly better than those from previous computer-generated methods, which lacked realism.

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