Successful projects often require inputs and feedback from more than a single person and group. This was the case with our MIS Project on “Virtual Prototyping” in which several people had a considerable influence on our work. Some of the people we would like to thank for their involvement are Mrs. Suruchi MIttar our faculty who helped us with our work on the project.

An acknowledgement must also be made of the help and guidance provided by Mr. Ravi Kapoor, MD Tuka Tech Asia who gave us valuable inputs and guidance throughout our project.

Also, we would like to thank Mr. Hitesh Mittal of KSA Technopak for his support.


Worldwide, the biggest problem in the garment industry today is the time spent developing and approving samples. In India it takes anywhere between 40 to 50 days for a style sample to be accepted.

Once the style is received form the buyer, samples are sewn, shipped overseas, and a fit session is arranged with a live model that the manufacturer rarely sees. Inaccurate fit forms and lack of communication cause a lengthy approval process. Very rarely, the first sample is selected as the final sample.

Physical samples take time to deliver and test, and there are errors. With e-fit Simulator, the fit model’s body can be used on the computer by the patternmaker, manufacturer as well as the buyer. Special software can be used to develop movies and screenshots and these can be reviewed and fit comments be sent back via email.

Animation allows us to see fit problems that can’t be seen on a static form. New ideas can be tried and visualized, enhancing Communication. Pattern errors can be corrected BEFORE a sample is sewn. This way time, effort and most importantly money is saved.



Some of the problems faced by the garment Industry presently are:


The 40-50 days long sampling cycle


The samples are almost never accepted at the first trial


The dress doesn’t fit he fit model


The expenses borne in the process, from worker’s salary to the machinery cost, to the shipment of the samples and the fee charged by the fit models are exorbitant


The lack of a common platform between the buyer, the merchandiser and the supplier


Any changes if wanted may not be conveyed effectively because of the large communication gap.

Retailers today not only want more collections per season but also more styles within the season. Various companies deliver new lines of clothes to their stores every four to six weeks. H&M and Zara, for example, have achieved this by speeding up the design cycle with computer technology. Zara uses data from its 426 stores to spot new trends, and offers 10,000 new products a year. TopShop generates as many as 300 new designs a week. The shelf life of a garment has fallen from six months to a few weeks. Besides, the line development costs represent today between 69% of a company's operating costs.

CAD (Computer Aided Design) software has been in use by designers to create sketches, croquis, repeats, patterns, and silhouettes. Convergence of CAD technology with web technology is now aiming to increase production efficiency and reduce delivery times. This concept is popularly being addressed as “e-prototyping” or sampling through the net.

There is now an easy was to deal with all these above problems and make the working smoother and faster, e-prototyping. Though, the technology is still in its nascent phase at present in India, with it being introduced only 4-5 months back, it’s catching up fast as more and more companies are becoming aware of it.

As of now, there is only one company Gokuldas Images, Bangalore that is actually using this software. We are far behind other countries Sri Lanka, Bangladesh etc. in this regard.


E-prototyping is combination of technologies that have been integrated along with the web technology for virtual creation of materials and styles through:

rapid prototyping of materials

pattern making



analysis of fit

communication of all the necessary data for production of styles.

CAD companies like Lectra, Tuka Tech, Gerber, Nedgraphics today are offering e-prototyping solutions enabling speeding up of the creative process, testing of more ideas, and development of lines adapted to market requirements.

For an instance:

With Tuka Tech’s solution, the buyer and supplier both have a digital fit model, wherein the supplier can develop pattern digitally and verify not only the fit, and the fall but also the behavior of he fabrics with respects to each other!! The buyer then approves the dress digitally and makes any design changes if required. The supplier then makes the final sample on a fit model’s TUKAform (a dummy that resembles the Human Body) and verifies the fit of the dress and finally the buyer approves the final sample.

Through this, the same fit model is available to everyone in the supply chain. TUKAcad, TUKAforms and e-fit Simulator allow everyone to shorten the product approval time and make only one and final sample.

Lectra has developed the e-prototyping solution specifically to enable the fashion industry and its designers to speed up the prototyping phase and dynamize the creative process while retaining a key focus on line profitability. The e-prototyping solution from Lectra is a global solution, from virtual creation of materials and styles through cutting of prototypes to communication of all the necessary data for production of styles.

Lectra offers a comprehensive and widely used design solution, ranging from virtual creation of materials to preparation of outlines, enabling speedup of the creative process, testing of more ideas, and development of lines adapted to market requirements.

Amber, the validation tool for printed fabrics enables testing and immediate visualization of colors and patterns on fabrics, with a wide choice of natural and synthetic materials to enable the right decision to be made on the basis of concrete information.

Modaris the pattern design solution provides rapid development of styles, and instant modifications to enable accurate patterns for immediate production use.

A direct link with simple marker making software enables immediate cutting using Versalis for validation of prototypes. Versalis is a small, easy-to-use cutter, requiring no specific training, and created with pattern-makers and designers in mind.

















Sampling is a long process as it is sequential and requires the participation of many users i.e. the buyer, vendor, manufacturer, designer and maybe the consumer at various stages of conceptualization and manufacture.

Through e-prototyping a network connecting all users is created in a way that everyone can witness and participate at every stage of development of the product. Everyone sees the same thing and any changes or modifications are made in real time.

This network is made possible by integrating the traditional CAD systems for making color palettes, weave, print, sketches, croquis, repeats, patterns or silhouettes on a web-based platform. The software may also contain modules like texture mapping, catalog making, mass customizing, color management and so on which further aid the sampling process. This network is connected to rapid prototyping tools like inkjet printing, automatic sample looms and automatic single ply cutters to complete the link.

Figure: The e-Prototyping Network


Electronic data management is crucial for problem-free operation of this network as it must provide a fast, efficient and secure way to send data required for any operation in the lines anywhere in the world. Such an PDM system will cover the data management requirements of the full cycle running from yarn, fabric and garment design, to computer-aided collection management, taking in digital fabric printing or weaving for prototypes and small production runs, automated cutting, computerized technical data exchange, right through to virtual merchandising and garment customization.

Some important applications of PDM are:

Workflow and Event Tracking

Bill of Materials


Style/ Size/ Color/ Options

Document Vault

Construction and Assembly Details

Report Generation

Measurement Specs

Revision History

These systems are operable within a local area network, wide area network or on the Internet, using extensive user-defined security precautions enabling individuals to have read-only or read and write access to data. All data is compressed, encrypted and secured with account names and passwords to ensure safe transmission.

Lectra’s LectraOnline "e-prototyping" service provides virtual sampling for apparel customers, by combining texture mapping with 3D garment construction. LectraOnline will automatically generate lightweight files from pattern pieces created in two dimensions, from a fabric photo or scan, or from a virtual fabric. The designer submits a file over the Internet along with a photo of the fabric, and LectraOnline sends back a three-dimensional virtual garment. The resulting image can be zoomed in and out to see more detail as well as fitted on a virtual model for size and style adjustments.

Gerber Technology's WebPDM (Product Data Management) system, aimed at retailers and manufacturers, acts as an electronic filing cabinet and stores all details related to a product including measurement specifications, construction details, costing as well as bill of material information, photographs, technical sketches, video and voice annotation files.


The 3D Full-Body Scanner:

The 3D full-body scanner is an image-capturing piece of equipment used to generate virtual models and extract body measurements for individuals and is used in the manufacture of custom-fitting apparel. It reflects body posture of individuals and can be utilized in body-shape analysis, as well as virtual fitting of apparel on body models. The 3D to 2D beta software is currently being used to generate basic patterns based on an individual's body measurements.

Body measurements extracted from the scanner are used to alter key body measurements on parametric models. Computer-generated garments are then simulated on the altered parametric models in order to evaluate garment fit.

However in a parametric modeling technique measurements define the body. This can become a limiting factor as in reality "measurements do not define a body ". For example, you could have the same hip size as 34 " but the shape can be totally different. The shape is very important for us. In a parametric model suppose you change the waist from 28 " to 29 ", this will have repercussions on other areas like under bust and say lower waist.

This does not necessarily happen in a real person. In parametric modeling the software dictates the shape of the body after the measurements are fed and then subsequently changed. This is not the case with some new software like the E-Fit Simulator developed by Tuka Tech. For this purpose, besides the scanned data and measurements, the pictures of the models are required.

The other important reason why parametric modeling is not successful is because the buyer doesn’t want the supplier to be creating or changing the fit model as the fit model is a "constant" that should never change.

Another important aspect is that some 3 D software after they obtain the data from body scans, leave the mesh as is. As the mesh is very dense, virtual draping and rendering becomes extremely time consuming. Animation becomes virtually impossible.

New software makes the mesh less dense in order to make draping much faster and makes animation possible.


This process involves:

Analyze Fabric Behavior

Developing the pattern with CAD

Creating a virtual garment

3D Virtual Samples

Analyzing the fit in the virtual model

Making alterations


Video Conferencing to a View Fit

Texture Mapping-Analyzing the Fabric Behavior

Texture mapping or "digital draping," is an established visualization tool that creates photo-realistic 3D rendering of designs, colors, surfaces, textures and patterns onto photographs of models, offering life-like representations of digital product samples. The newer versions have increased functionality for both offline and online use, removing the time consuming and challenging ways of earlier versions.

Use of texture mapping was first adopted by the Home Furnishing industry. It is now being used in apparel as well.

LectraCatalog combines an Oracle-based database with texture mapping on a 2D or 3D image, where styles, fabrics and trims can be mixed and matched instantly and displayed photo-realistically. It can be used for face-to-face design collaboration from your own computer, or as a web-enabled catalog. Nedgraphics is offering Easy Map, which promises improved mapping algorithms and improved efficiencies for scaling, moving, and re-coloring designs on the image. Age Technologies has recently introduced its StyleDraper texture mapping program, an Adobe Photoshop plug-in for use by design studios and freelance artists who could not afford texture mapping programs in the past. TUKAcad offers 2D pattern Making, pattern alterations, grading, digital printing for samples, NC Cutpath optimization, stripe/ plaid matching, digital output for sample cutting.

Home furnishings is one of the first industries to make use of texture mapping as their basic silhouettes and styles do not change dramatically from season to season. It is easy to leverage a small library of photos to create hundreds of product images cost efficiently. Depending on the system or service used, the average cost of a texture mapped image is US$75-US$1,000. By using texture mapping in place of sample development and photography of new products for sales books and packaging, home fashions companies can save anywhere from US$5,000

- US$15,000 per bed/bath ensemble.

Developing the Pattern with CAD

The next phase is developing the pattern on CAD using the measurements given for the style.

Creating a Virtual Garment and Analyzing its Fit

Once the patterns have been made the 3-D Simulator is used to arrange then on the 3-D body form. Once the patterns are balanced of the body they are virtually stitched onto the body.

Analyzing the Fit on the Virtual Model

Different fabrics behave in different ways and it is important for a customer to "see" how a fabric will drape in a three-dimensional way. After the virtual garment is ready, the virtual model is used to analyze the fit and changes are made as required. The behavior of the various fabric like shell fabric, interlinings etc can also be analyzed as the texture has already been quantified.

E-fit simulator by Tuka Tech offers 3D Virtual Samples where 2D styles can be assembled, stitched and the fit viewed on the virtual fit model. Gerber Technology offering the APDA-3D pattern visualization system that enables pattern makers to view 2D styles assembled and draped on a dress form. Users can even define the viewing and lighting angles of the image and are able to view a vertical or horizontal cross section of the style to verify fit and ease. APDS-3D is a product of Asahi Chemical Industry Co Ltd of Tokyo, Japan designed for the apparel industry and is licensed exclusively by Gerber Technology.


Not many software have this feature. The software we have studied (Tuka Tech’s E-Fit Simulator) offers this possibility. Using this feature the E-Fit Model can be animated and the behavior of the garment can be analyzed on a moving body as well. This fully eliminates the requirement of a real-life model given the fabric and garment behaviors have been effectively quantified.


Design Presentation & Communication

Communication & presentation modules allow circulation and accession of design information via a web browser enabling communication and presentation of all design information within the company or with vendors in other countries without the need to install software on every PC. The Presentation module uses standard web technology, and a variety of product sheet print-out options. Together with the texture mapping, 3D presentation and recoloring plug-in, these modules forms an excellent interactive tool.

Movies and screenshots can be reviewed and fit comments sent back via email.


Future developments in the area are targeted towards integration of eprototyping with two new technologies: mass customization and 3D simulation.

E-prototyping is not too far removed from mass customization. Solutions for mass customization offer integrated body measurement solutions with mass customization software and 3D body scanners. Having ordered a customized item online, customers are unlikely to be willing to wait too long for their garment. For this reason, all systems typical of eprototyping need to be integrated to ensure that the order is correctly interpreted and produced.


The integration of E-prototyping within the garment industry will lead to increased efficiency of sampling with shorter delivery or lead times and lower costs. Other advantages will be better interaction with the buyer through networking and vendor and user friendliness. There is a great potential for companies that are willing to leap ahead of the industry curve and start thinking digitally.

Though, the technology is in its nascent state in India, it has already been implemented in the other South Asian competitors, like Sri Lanka, in a big way. For an instance, the Journal and Directory of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association, in collaboration with the TUKAgroup is working together to create Innovative Solutions for Product Development, and as a result the Sri Lankan apparel industry has grown exponentially in the past six years to become Sri Lanka’s main export surpassing agriculture by a huge margin!!

Some companies who are in the process of adopting this technique are:
Phillip Van Heusen
Liz Claiborne
Eddie Bauer

So, the vast possibilities presented by the concept of e-prototyping can facilitate India’s garment export by not only improving the Quality of the merchandize, but also its cost- effectiveness.













Name of Company/Organization:

Matrix Clothing (P) Ltd

Company/Organization Profile:

Garment manufacturer and exporter of knitwear and woven garments


Assistant Manager, Systems

Nature of Work:

How do you interact with your buyer/vendor?

Email, phone

Specify problems if you face any:

1. communication gaps 2. communication is between buyer / supplier and only one or two people in the company. This takes away transparency. Further, commitments etc made by our employees are not clearly visible to all

Specify lead time for sampling and order acceptance:

Have you heard about “e-prototyping”?


E-prototyping is

essentially a bundle of technologies that have been integrated around the web technology for virtual creation of materials and styles through rapid

prototyping of materials, cutting and sewing to communication of all the necessary data for production of styles. CAD companies like Lectra and Nedgraphics etc. today offer e-prototyping solutions enabling speeding up of the creative process, testing of more ideas, and development of lines adapted to market requirements.

Has e-prototyping been implemented in your organization or any plans to do so?

no - not been implemented, and no plans to do so yet. But we would appreciate information about this, as it seems interesting and has the possibility to save us some money

If yes then please specify how and at what stage is the implementation in:

If the software is given for free, what is the scope of its usage in your organization?

We are a very technologically savvy company, and depending on its effectiveness, would make one of the central focuses of our design and product development initiatives



Rashmi Paliwal

Name of Company:


Company Profile:

Manufacturing silk beaded garments- Hi end, Buying and Quality Assurances for cottons, made ups.



Nature of Work:

Manufacturing and Buying Office Services.

How do you interact with your buyer?

Thru Mails

Specify problems if you face any:

Often when we work with photographs and big attachments

Specify lead time for sampling and order acceptance:

Varies between buyers. Can be 10 to 45 days for sampling.

Have you heard about “e-prototyping”?

A little bit E-prototyping is essentially a bundle of technologies that have been integrated around the web technology for virtual creation of materials and styles through rapid prototyping of materials, cutting and sewing to communication of all the necessary data for production of styles. CAD companies like Lectra and Nedgraphics etc. today offer e-prototyping solutions enabling speeding up of the creative process, testing of more ideas, and development of lines adapted to market requirements.

Has e-prototyping been implemented in your organization or any plans to do so?

If yes then please specify how and at what stage is the implementation in:

If the software is given for free, what is the scope of its usage in your organization?