3D Tech Festival 2021 Q&A: How To Accelerate 3D Material Digitization for Digital Product Creation

Frontier.cool had the pleasure of speaking about how to accelerate 3D material digitization for digital product creation at this year's 3D TECH Festival - hosted by Motif and Alvanon. We received so many unique and interesting questions at the event, we decided that it would be a great idea to share some of them with you.

While reading this article, you may come up with some questions of your own; please feel free to contact us; we're always happy to help. 

So, without further ado, here are the top three questions from the event.

How active are vendors in digitizing their material libraries, and when do we expect digitization to be “the standard”?

Over the past 24 months, material digitization has become a no-brainer. It's something that you simply must do. It's not up for debate that to get into 3D digitization in a meaningful way, it is essential to have enough digital materials to even be in that space in the first place.

For example, Frontier.cool started rapidly growing month on month as a company, and our users increased tenfold over the last 12 months. We found that suppliers began to approach us with the most fundamental of questions, such as "how do I digitize my fabric library?" Of course, we were able to provide them with this type of service via a pay-as-you-go solution.

Material digitization is the standard now! However, there are many different types of software out there on the market, and each type of software takes on different specifications or different file types. Therefore, Frontier.cool constantly strives to provide a highly compatible, cross-platform solution so that any digital material uploaded or created can be used across various platforms.

How soon will we start to see fabric mills beginning to digitize?

This question can be broken up into two parts. Firstly, we are noticing that tier one, two, and three mills are beginning to digitize their materials already. So essentially, it is becoming a widespread practice now. 

Secondly, when we're talking about designing fabrics digitally, if we are referring to a digital native fabric, we would say that it is not that common yet. 

Why? Because brands — during their product development process — would like to source material that can actually be produced. If the supplier or the manufacturer can deliver on that product in terms of pricing specs, various sustainability criteria, compliance metrics even if the fabric is being designed via a digital process, we believe that most brands would be thrilled to take on digitally designed fabrics.

How does Frontier.cool digitize physical fabric?

With Frontier.cool, it's quick and easy to digitize fabric. All you have to do is take your swatch card or your sample card to a typical office flatbed scanner and scan the material at 600 dpi. 

It's worth mentioning that you do not need to invest in any fancy or expensive equipment, use any additional software or hardware, or send your fabric to a lab; you don't even need to be a tech whiz to use the TextileCloudTM.


After you have scanned the fabric, you need to send that file to our server for image processing directly. In the background, we have proprietary AI engines running that cover image and text recognition, image cropping, image augmentation — to name but a few — to build and create that file for you. Ultimately, the physical sample is transformed from a 2D fabric image to a 3D material, which can be downloaded as a U3M file and imported into many different types of 3D software, ready for use.

As garment design speedily advances toward 3D, digitized swatches can be converted into 3D files for designers to implement directly into their designs. What's more, there are no technical processes to follow, and once it's done, there is no need to re-upload swatches.

To find out more about fabric digitization and how it can transform your workflow for the better, schedule a demo with us.