Name (and software) for technique of tailoring clothes from triangles
December 17, 2014 12:46 PM   Subscribe

I've seen a few articles about dresses, clothes and other structures designed by algorithm: you input a shape (a scan of a body, a 3d model of a dress, etc), and the algorithm reduces it to a mesh of triangles. These triangles can then be cut out of fabric and stitched together to make an odd-looking but well-fitted garment. What's this technique called? Is the software freely available?

I'm mostly interested in garment-making for now, but I'd be interested in being able to do this for arbitrary 3D shapes.

The general case of this seems like it must be a really trivial operation for anyone comfortable with 3D modelling, but I don't have the vocabulary to search for it.
posted by metaBugs to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
In the engineering/3D modeling world the triangle (or any other tessallating) pattern based on a 3-d scan is called a "mesh."

Googling for mesh and clothing is obviously tricky.
posted by muddgirl at 12:55 PM on December 17, 2014

Ugh, whoops, completely missed that you used this word in your very question. Sorry!
posted by muddgirl at 12:55 PM on December 17, 2014

Best answer: The term you're looking for is tessellation. As you say, it's very common in 3d modeling - any 3d software would support this, although the step of laying out the triangles on fabric would be a lot more specialized.
posted by pocams at 1:02 PM on December 17, 2014

Response by poster: Yeah, "mesh clothes", "triangle dress", etc... I've found this bizarrely hard to google.
posted by metaBugs at 1:02 PM on December 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I found this which seems close by searching for "tessellated fabric panels." However it's describing a fully-printed kinematic garment, not a pattern that is cut out and sewn.
posted by muddgirl at 1:12 PM on December 17, 2014

You want to search on "polygonal mesh".

Typically, this technique is used to create virtual clothing for game characters, however, here is what appears to be a real project that used this technique to produce knitted garments, with a YouTube presentation.
posted by rada at 1:15 PM on December 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Mesh triangulation" or "low poly triangular mesh", perhaps. All 3d meshes forms are made out of a lot of mesh faces that are either quad (four-sided) or triangular (three-sided), so a low-enough resolution mesh of triangles will start to approximate what you're talking about. And yes, almost any mesh-based editor will be able to convert meshes to triangular-only meshes.

So it might be pretty common enough to be hard to search for. But any similar project will probably reference Issey Miyake's well-known bag series - that might be a good place to start from also.
posted by suedehead at 1:20 PM on December 17, 2014

Best answer: I use a simple japanese software called pepakura, it's originally meant for papercraft, but you could definitely use it for sewing as well, as long as you can model the original 3D shape you want, already in tessels.
posted by PardonMyFrench at 1:30 PM on December 17, 2014 [3 favorites]

Just remembered these very cool United Nude Lo Res shoes. What was interesting about this project is that they took regular 3D process and intentionally lowered resolution to create that distinctive pixelated look for their shoe.
posted by rada at 1:54 PM on December 17, 2014

Best answer: Do you mean this kind of thing? I've seen it called any number of things, from "fractal fashion" to "biogeometric tailoring" (those particular pieces are from a collection called Crystallographica, presumably after the software). The wardrobes tag on the blog Pleat Farm may be of interest to you for finding more/similar ideas.
posted by peachfuzz at 2:36 PM on December 17, 2014

Worth noting, too, that traditional paper-and-pencil flat patternmaking is basically a low-tech version of this (mapping the planes and angles of a 3-d form and replicating them in a segmented and jointed flat material). You could absolutely do exactly this with pattern drafting techniques, albeit more laboriously.
posted by peachfuzz at 2:39 PM on December 17, 2014

Was it this?
posted by Sublimity at 4:47 PM on December 17, 2014

Best answer: Not exactly sure, but.....
Some software packages (e.g. Houdini, have a remesh function that converts arbritary meshes into a nice layout of tris.

You may be looking for Delaunay Triangulation, depending on the solver, some cloth simulations take in quads or a mesh decimated by delaunay triangulation.

Another idea... you might want to check out Voronoi diagrams, which, iirc, can be obtained from a Dual Graph of a delaunay triangulated mesh.
posted by TrinsicWS at 9:02 PM on December 17, 2014

Best answer: There was the DARPA Hoodie a while back, and it seems at the very least one person has released a program.

Other folk are right, though, that any 3D modeling program that handles meshes can spit this stuff out with a bit of tweaking.

Or indeed, you can design it with craft paper or light cardstock/manilla folder material, cutting out triangles with flanged edges, stapling or clipping the edges together on your manikin.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:45 PM on December 17, 2014

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