Making the Impossible Possible with KeyShot's RealCloth

MacDirectory recently spoke with Senior Software Engineer at Luxion, Søren Gammelmark, in order to learn about the challenges and advances of KeyShot's latest 3D feature – RealCloth. Image: Paul Lang
With a passion for turning math and physics into practical usage, Søren has been particularly intrigued by the beauty, power and challenges of textiles. With a PhD in theoretical physics from Aarhus University, he became interested in computer graphics: the perfect fusion of math, physics and art. Søren has been bringing features to KeyShot since 2013. 
KeyShot brings real-time 3D rendering that displays results quickly reducing time needed to create realistic renderings, animations and interactive visuals. With the introduction of RealCloth, you can now make the impossible possible – custom weave patterns with unmatched realism. 
MacDirectory: You have made huge strides in making realistic digital cloth possible. Tell us how your background has contributed to this achievement.

Soren Gammelmark: I have a background in physics, so modelling complex phenomena and reducing those to tractable models has been part of my work for a long time. I have also enjoyed working with procedural techniques in computer graphics and worked on many parts of the KeyShot material graph previously. Our cloth model is really a synthesis of modelling of light on textile fibers and procedural techniques.

 MD: What have been the biggest challenges/advancements in releasing KeyShot RealCloth?
SG: The biggest challenge was the transparency we introduced in KeyShot 10. Obtaining good measurements and finding a decent model to describe the transmission was quite challenging. After the research part was finished we also needed to distill the functionality such that the end-user did not need to adjust many different parameters and it had to always work regardless of model complexity and quality. Both aspects have their own kind of difficulty - the research is intrinsically complex, whereas the robustness and development of the feature for general use required some solid robust engineering.
MD: You have stated that "predictive rendering" could have an enormous impact in virtual prototyping. Give us some examples and which industries would benefit the most. 
SG: I am not sure I am qualified to give a detailed review of this, but many industries use prototypes extensively when developing their products. In some companies, the prototyping is in some cases handled offsite and can take weeks. If you are developing a product and each iteration takes several weeks the time to market quickly becomes rather long. Any number of iterations you can do digitally or overnight brings you earlier to market.

Just consider how much traction 3d printing has - KeyShot 10 can now export directly to 3mf with color information and you can print your KeyShot model with textures and everything directly on color 3d printers.

Image: Paul Lang

"If you can evaluate the look of your textile or garment you can get even earlier to market and reduce expensive prototyping."

The apparel industry is moving very fast, sometimes with several product releases each year where production and design and distribution is a global process. Transmitting physical samples is not only time-consuming but expensive and not very environmentally friendly. If you can evaluate the look of your textile or garment you can get even earlier to market and reduce expensive prototyping. In addition, it allows you to prepare footage for online sale even before the first product has been produced.

MD: How have customers been using RealCloth for their products?
SG: I do not have any images I can share, but I do know that several of our customers are using it both for clothing, footwear and products with textiles as parts. The use-cases range from evaluation renderings to make decisions from to final marketing shots. A side-effect of our cloth feature is the Fuzz geometry node, that can be used for a variety of other effects and helps add a lot of visual complexity to scenes.
Image: Magnus Skogsfjord
MD: What other areas do you think realistic rendering needs further improvement and how could KeyShot support it?

SG: The range of materials that are expressed accurately in most rendering software is actually rather limited and users often need to do work-arounds to represent complex materials. I am continually surprised at the wide range of materials employed in products today and accurately dealing with those without requiring the user to have a degree in materials science is an interesting challenge we would like to attack. For cloth, for example knits, multi-layer weaves and other composite materials can be very difficult because the final look depends both on complex geometric details and optical effects not properly captured by existing models.


MD: As KeyShot evolves and revolutionizes the 3D rendering industry, what can we expect next? 
SG: Even better materials and material editing capabilities and all the tools you need to go from idea to final sale.
 Image: David Merz

This story has been re-published with permission from MacDirectory. The original article article may be viewed here.
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