Fashion is taking a page from the film industry.
Borrowing from the tried-and-true processes behind the cinema’s special effects, which today rely heavily on computer-generated imagery (CGI), fashion tech firm Tukatech is betting that even more technology can help 3-D product developers produce more virtual samples without expending more time.
If you’ve marveled at the mind-blowing effects in a blockbuster movie, you probably know there are myriad computers helping humans bring fantastical creatures and other marvels to life. There’s a special name for the ones CGI creators use: known as “render farms,” these high-performance computer systems or clusters of computers shoulder the burden of turning scores of still images into lifelike animations.
Tukatech is taking a similar approach, describing its new Tuka3D SMARTqueue as a virtual development tool that can create “mini render farms” tasked with handling the time-intensive draping and image and video rendering for e-commerce assets.
It’s not uncommon today for apparel brands and retailers to demand more from their 3-D development efforts. Assets useful during production also can extend their lifecycle and value on e-commerce, giving shoppers a better idea of how a garment looks, moves and falls over the body.
Because creating web-worthy 3-D assets requires more time and attention, some brands are not yet prepared to make that kind of investment—but Tuka3D SMARTqueue might just be what apparel production staff need to meet the demand for more, more, more without straining their availability.
Savannah Crawford, Tukatech’s chief collaborator, said clients repeatedly told the company about the expectation to crank out a growing volume of 3-D garments.
“Technicians want to see virtual size sets, designers want to see full collections, and online retailers want to use 3-D renders for e-commerce,” Crawford explained. “TUKA3D SMARTqueue will increase sample-makers’ productivity and help them accomplish these goals without putting extra pressure on them.”
With the new queueing solution, sample makers can send virtual components and their appropriate settings to the system, which will select whichever computer is available for processing. Tuka3D saves the finished work to a server where users can review, upload elsewhere or share with others.
By taking on the heavy lifting of rendering virtual samples, Tukatech’s latest innovation frees production staff to pursue their core responsibilities. “TUKA3D SMARTqueue will take care of a lot of the repetitive tasks, leaving users more time to focus on the creative aspects of digital design,” Crawford added.
Timex, maker of classic wristpieces, testified to the increased productivity it’s seen since it deployed Tuka3D SMARTqueue. Managing director Arshad Sattar credits the software with enabling the watchmaker to run its sample-making workstations around the clock with two shifts, Saturday and Sunday included.
“When the operators come back in the morning, the simulated garments and rendered images are ready for review,” Sattar said.