Abu Sadat Muhammad Sayem
Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
Virtual fashion ID: A reality check
Virtual fashion consists of three things: virtual avatar, digital apparel design and material simulation. A virtual avatar serves as the platform upon which virtual clothing can be developed. It is very important to morph the avatars in their correct anthropometry first before initiating any virtual fashion simulation process to ensure the right appearance and drape of any virtual prototype simulated on to them. It is also a precondition for assessing the fit of virtual clothing and making decisions on the accuracy of digital pattern pieces used in simulation. Commercial fashion CAD (computer-aided design) systems come with a library of parametric mannequins and provide tools and facilities for adjusting their sizes and shapes before using them for virtual clothing simulation. This paper deals with the features and techniques of avatar morphing in available 3D systems to evaluate how realistically they can generate a virtual fashion identity (ID). A comparative study on the existing 3D (three-dimensional) CAD systems and a case study including two in-depth interviews with industrial users of such systems were conducted. Findings show that the avatar technology has not developed evenly across all available systems and none of the systems is free from limitations. It is revealed from the case study that technophobia, high upfront cost and the need for training are the main barriers for implementing this technology. There are also certain areas for improvements within the existing systems.