My Virtual Clothing Predictions
I want to share some insights I have about the 3D industry and virtual reality and what it has to offer you. I will preface this by saying this is all my opinion based on experience and conversations with others.
I am in a unique position. I’ve built a reputation in the MD community and I make myself available so that people can contact me. I hear from lots of folks, some here in the Youtube comments and more private conversations via this website.
I want to share with you some of what I’m hearing, but first let’s discuss some background.
I am a huge proponent of virtual reality and have understood its potential for a very long time. If you haven’t read the book Ready Player One, you should. That’s where we’re headed, it is only a matter of time. The widespread adoption of social media, like Facebook, Twitter and Instragram, has shown how easily we accept life over the Internet.
Second Life is another example. It was before its time and it is antiquated now, but has not gone away. It even does a decent job of animating cloth with scripting. Many groups of people find a home there and it is a niche product. When more virtual worlds are created that require less knowledge of CG to participate, everyone will want to be a part of it. Facebook will become old school and people will scramble to become part of the online virtual world.
The size of the US apparel market is $225 billion dollars. People own more clothes now than they ever have. Do you think those same people will settle for one garment in their virtual lives? Or a garment that looks like everyone elses?
Remember, that we are not confined to designs of reality. We can make a dress of fire or cloaks of smoke. The possibilities with virtual clothing only add to the sales potential.
In addition to social media, retail sales are going online as well. People are becoming more and more confident in buying online. Brick and mortar stores are going to start closing and they will be replaced with online stores. This will become particularly true for clothing.
You may think this impossible, but there are many things going on that facilitate this change. The first question is sizing. How will you know if something fits without going to a store? We have the technology to measure people with body scanners. Made to measure clothing is something that has been done in high fashion forever. Our current technology could bring this to the masses. Clothing could be made one-off based on your actual measurements.
Who would buy clothes without trying them on, you may ask. People are working on solving this dilemma. Virtual try-on is being developed by a number of sources including Clo, the company behind MD. Read a recent article on what Clo3D is doing.
Watch this video on virtual try-on.
The gentleman behind this video contacted me recently. He’s refining his program, but this gives you some idea of its capabilities.
I’m sure you can guess why he contacted me. He’s going to need garments. Lots and lots of garments and this brings us to the point of this video.
More and more people are contacting me asking about virtualizing garments. Some of these people want to use the clothes for display in an online catalog. Others are working towards virtual try-on solutions.
In the past, clothing could be modeled or sculpted. In games or display, the cloth was baked to the character and never moved. That’s not going to work in the future.
As soon as our devices have the ability to render animation smoothly, clothing is going to come to life. Women twirling on a virtual dance floor will have skirts that behave as they would in the real world. Movies and games will demand realistic cloth draping and animation.
That means that garments have to fit realistically and behave according to the laws of physics. You can’t sculpt that.
I have always said that poorly fitted garments are a mistake in MD. When you animate them, they don’t behave properly. They ride up or fall down. They don’t follow the body when they should, or they follow the body when they shouldn’t. It just isn’t real.
When I decided to make PatternMaker Pro for drafting patterns, I had this in mind. If you want a garment to look real, it has to be real. It has to be created using the same principals as real clothing. This was a large part of the reason I spent the time necessary to create the program. I didn’t just create it for you, I created it for me. I knew that I’d need these patterns to meet the needs of the future.
Most of you are just hobbyists in MD. I know that some of you have MD on your wish list and don’t even own the program right now. You need to decide how much you like working with fashion and cloth and if you want to do this for a living. I’m quite confident that you will have this opportunity in the near future.
There are people who contact me looking for someone to help them with their projects. I have taken on a couple of these and turned down others. I do not have a list of people to refer them to. Few people do what I’m doing in MD and those that do are just beginning. They need more experience.
If you are interested in pursuing the ability to meet the needs of the people asking, you need to get started now. You will become part of an exclusive list of people with unique skills and will be sot out.
I really like to help people and provide them resources. I may develop some sort service where I could qualify others for referral. I’ll have to think about that some more.
In the mean time, you can get started improving your skills.
It is important that you practice making all kinds of garments and watch what happens as a result of the drape. You need to learn what causes a gather or a wrinkle. Why some clothes look light weight and others heavy. Pick some of your own clothes, put them on and take some pictures. Then create the clothes in MD. This allows you to touch the fabric, feel the weight and watch what happens as you move around. You’ll soon learn to translate what you see into what you create.