360-Degree vs. 3-D Solutions: Many Differentiating Factors
As apparel businesses search for the best solutions to reduce cycle time and improve quality, they are confronted with an array of software promising to speed design and product development, enhance global collaboration and cut costs. Multiple technology developers refer to the role of 360-degree images and 3-D tools as a means of keeping creative and development processes flowing.
Yet we all know eventually you have to make a physical sample. Moreover, there is a big difference between 3-D technology for virtual design and prototyping and 360-degree photography of actual apparel products. Understandably, there is a lot of confusion in the industry. With this post, FastFit360 seeks to dispel that confusion and shed light on the key differentiators between 360-degree visual communication technology and 3-D technology.
For starters, 360-degree photography and videos present real (not virtual) images of the actual physical product. By comparison, three-dimensional (3-D) imagery is based on animation. Think about it in terms of a motion picture you see at the movie theater. In a feature film, a real actor puts on a jacket, and if you were to take a picture of him in it from a variety of angles, you would see exactly how the jacket fits, its length, where it’s too tight or loose. In an animated film, you would see an animated representation of the jacket. It would “fit” according to how the graphic designers and computer coders behind the animated production programmed it to fit.
To give credit where it’s due, 3-D technology certainly has a place in the fashion arena. Designers can use 3-D solutions to create a computer-generated rendering of what a fabric or product might look like. During this creative, conceptual phase, 3-D technology can save valuable time. For example, designers might see a concept in 3-D and decide to eliminate it from the line or to make changes to a style before it ever gets further along the product development process.
However, eventually the proverbial rubber must hit the road, and the conceptual phase must transition into the product development stage. A computerized avatar might serve as a helpful guideline for identifying potential fit problems, but there are limitations with regard to accuracy and realism when viewing a virtual garment on an avatar vs. a real garment on a real fit model.
It is at this juncture where 360-degree visual communication solutions such as FastFit360’s e-sample® technology deliver great value. Leveraging images from actual photography or video clips, it provides users with a 360-degree view of what a sample product really does look like, including quality-related details such as stitching, construction technique, workmanship, and fabric puckering, stretch, twisting and torque. That’s why 360-degree solutions apply to not only design and product developers but also QA and sourcing professionals. These 360-degree images of samples can be shared in a cloud computing environment so that partners around the world can address problems and make changes before a sample is ever shipped.
In conclusion, 3-D virtualization technology can be a complement to 360-degree visual communication, but it is never a substitute.