3D Body scanning is a technology that produces a 3D model through scanning. An individual stands in the scanners view, while it captures his body image and produces 3D images within seconds. The scanner uses a series of light sensors to produce a 3D image. Images are captured in 360 degrees within a short period of time along with body measurements and human body surface. This data is archived or further processed according to the requirement.


3D body scanning and digitized images are used in mass customization of apparels, where the consumer is measured three dimensionally, and through the digitized image seen on the computer screen, he can choose a garment with a style that goes with his choice.


The technology of three dimensional body scanning is used in diversified fields. A renowned application of this scanning process is in the field of custom tailoring. People are of various sizes and shape. This created a problem of fitting. Manufacturers needed more accurate information to produce perfect fitting garments. Customizing garments to correctly fit the consumer depends on the availability of comprehensive set of measurements. Progression in the field of Information Technology comes to the aid of retailers and manufacturers through the procedure of 3D Body Scanning. In this process, individual measurements can be obtained more accurately and quickly. The 3D scanned data contains standardized tailoring measurements like chest size, body size, circumference, and also a complete 3-D data of the individual. This new technology is changing aspects of the apparel industry.


3D body scanning:


It is a fast, accurate and easy process. It includes a scanner and measurement extraction software. The scanner extracts hundreds of images of the individual and the software automatically extracts thousands of measurements. The consumers measurements are taken through the scanner digitally and a digital twin is created by the computer on the screen. Based on this image on screen, the computer confines all the measurements that match almost with the consumers actual, individual measurements.



A 3D model is created by digitizing the surface of the individual. The scanner generates number of 3D images of the consumer. Each image is a partial 3D model exhibiting a single view of the consumers structure. To create a 360 degree image of the consumer number of images are taken and all images are aligned in a proper format and one final 3D image is created. Once the image is created, the measurement extraction software installed in the computer takes hundreds of individual measurements from head to toe. This data is then forwarded to the manufacturer who uses his creativeness and creates the garment in a very short time with the exact measurements that matches the consumer.


Types of 3-D Body Scanning:


1) Laser Scanning:



This technology consists of using laser rays to project unto the human body. Light sensors capture the measurements. A laser beam scans the consumers body in a fraction of a second. It is a contact free and does not have any health hazards. The scanner uses low power micro waves to illuminate the human body. These waves easily penetrate the clothing and reach the persons body. To avoid offensiveness of the light beam only eye-safe lasers are used. The computer software then analyzes the high resolution pictures of the human body and decides the exact tailoring measurements for that individual. Within seconds, hundreds of measurements are taken from head to toe to create the exact 3D data. The scan takes hundreds of individual measurements, despite only a few will be used when tailoring the garment.


2) White light body scanning:


This system uses a white light based scanner, and measurement extraction software. Hundreds of images are captured and automatically accurate measurements are extracted through the software.












A series of light fringes are projected into the individual whose measurements need to be taken. 3D information is acquired by analyzing the deformation that the projected light reflects after touching the consumers body. An integrated camera captures the series of images and exhibits the series of deformation in the reflected light. The projection and image formation takes only a few seconds. From these images the measurements of the surface of the object, that is the consumers measurements are obtained. This method is superior than laser technology in a way that data capture happens in a very short time period and also digitization of the entire surface parts are made possible.


3) Combination of Modeling and Image Processing:



In this process 3D measurements are not used, but 2D images are used to extract and generate 3D information. Three images of the person, two from the front and one from the side in acquired, and measurements are calculated based on the body silhouette. The produced computer models are very realistic. This is less expensive when compared to the other two ways of processing.


3-D Body Scanning in the Apparel Industry Linking Tradition with Technology:


Human body shapes vary by age, way of life, and geographic location. A research among American women revealed that the average waist size of a white woman is 33 inches, 34 for Hispanics and 35 for black women. But the current trend in the apparel industry is mass manufacturing and marketing. Garments are tailored only for the standard hour glass figure. Clothes that fit correctly on the shoulder might hang loosely from the waist, resulting in fitting problems. Many surveys showed that almost 50 percent of the women surveyed were not able to find well fitting apparels under the current sizing system. Manufacturers and retailers lacked the individual consumers accurate body measurements to create perfect fitting garments.


3-D body scanning technology is useful to develop custom fit garments, size prediction, virtual try on, custom pattern development for home sewers etc. It enables the retailers to quickly collect three-dimensional data for each consumer, and provide individualized sizing and design features. It allows consumers to take advantage of the modern form of custom tailoring.


Once the consumers personal data is created on the computer, it is then transferred to the manufacturer online. This makes the tailoring process quicker and by eliminating middlemen and their expenses becomes economical also. The acquired measurements can be archived by the retailer with the consumers due permission, so that a range of garments can be ordered by the consumer anytime in future.


The data collected through this technology provides real time information to the apparel industry, wherein clothes will be manufactured with attached labels mentioning the bust, waist, and hip sizes thereby guiding the consumers to select a garment with perfect fittings. It has remarkable implication for consumers buying through all distribution channels like direct, catalog and online shopping.


Mass Customization of Apparels:

Until recently, apparel customization and economical pricing were mutually exclusive. The high cost involved in the process made garment customization possible only for the wealthier class of the society. Delivering high quality customized garments quickly, and at a lower price is the obligation of consumers. The concept of mass customization emerged to fulfill the above requirements. Mass customization is the personalization of apparels for individual customers at a mass production price. It aims as serving a wider market segment at a low cost, and the application of 3D body scanning technology helps the manufacturers to satisfy the consumers aspiration of customizing garments. Precise measurements taken through the 3D scanning process helps in mass customizing operations. This process employs four basic steps:

  • First a sales representative measures the customer with the aid of a computer.

  • Then the salesperson enters the measurement data into a computer and customizes the garment according to the customers choice.

  • Third, the adjusted measurements are sent to the manufacturer to create a customized garment.

  • Fourth, the finished garment is labeled with a bar code and retailed


Virtual Try-on Solutions:


This process provides the customer with a virtual image of how he or she will look in a particular garment. General information about the consumer like, small waist, narrow shoulders, long hair etc is entered in the computer. The software in the computer develops an image of the consumer based on these descriptions and displays it on the screen. The consumer can make modifications on the displayed virtual image so as to match it with himself. The computer then displays various types of garments on the screen. The consumer chooses different types of clothing and tries them on his virtual image available on the computer screen.



The computer applies this clothing image on the virtual image of the consumer created and displays the picture on the screen. The image is also rotated in 360 degrees so that the consumer can get a perfect idea of the fitting. The computer highlights areas of good and bad fit, and guides the consumer to select the most appropriate apparel.



Current scenario


The ultimate goal of this technological innovation is to provide the customer with appropriate information and guide them in selecting the right apparel with a perfect fit. 3D scanning is still in its early stages of development, and its awareness among retailers and manufacturers as well as its application in the apparel industry is very minimal. The cost involved in the process of body scanning is way too expensive to be utilized by the consumers with average income. This 3D process is not well integrated with the computer systems, thus making it seldom for the consumers to choose a design all by themselves. They have to rely on a professional designer to use the body data and alter the design pattern and create a customized garment that best fits the individual consumer. This again makes the body scanning process a complex matter and all the more expensive. Therefore a need for an affordable, and user friendly body scanning system is required.


Future of this technology:


3D scanning technology has the potential to inculcate positive changes in the apparel industry. Optimum utilization of this technology will create a drastic change in the business paradigm. This will give a value added positive rise in the market curve of the apparel industry and cause a drastic change in the way apparel shopping is done now. It is an effective strategy for maximizing customer satisfaction and minimizing inventory cost. Development of this technology will provide the apparel industry with different tools to design different types of apparels and provide the market segment with right fitting clothing. But ultimate success of 3D Body Scanning technology depends on the consumers acceptance and application of the process. The customers acceptance depends on the fit and finish of the final product, the total cost involved, his awareness of the technology, and accessibility of these applications. These factors play a crucial role and influence the consumers decision of whether or not to buy a 3D body scanned garment.



  1. The 3D Body Scanner,
  2. Body Scanning - and the future of customized clothing is now here - to stay,
  3. Liz Heitzman, Results of MU-sponsored size studies reveal Americans' changing shape. May 7th, 2004.
  4. Triple 3d White Light Measuring System from NUB3D Spain
  5. Female Figure Identification Technique for Apparel
  6. Consumer Interest in Commercial Application of Body Data
  7. B. Xu, member SPIE, Y. Huang, W. Yu and T. Chen, Three-dimensional body scanning system for apparel mass-customization
  8. Ms. Seung-Eun Lee & Dr. Joseph C. Chen Mass-customization Methodology for an Apparel Industry with a Future



To read more articles on Textile, Industry, Technical Textile, Dyes & Chemicals, Machinery, Fashion, Apparel, Technology, Retail, Leather, Footwear & Jewellery,  Software and General please visit

To promote your company, product and services via promotional article, follow this link: