3D design and prototyping software provider Browzwear has partnered with material digitisation specialist Vizoo to develop an open source format to help standardise digital materials and serve as a bridge between software applications in the apparel industry.

The goal of the new Unified 3D Material (u3m) format is to create a real alignment of visual appearance between applications.

“U3m leverages a physically-based rendering (PBR) shading model,” explains Martin Semsch, managing director at Vizoo. “Therefore applications supporting PBR achieve a very similar look.”

Until now, each vendor outputs digital materials in a proprietary format or embeds it directly in their styles. U3m will streamline this process, allowing digital asset suppliers to rely on one fabric format serving their customers, regardless of which 3D applications are used.

Eventually, the companies say it will be more efficient to move fabric information between vendors and suppliers.

“We are pleased with the unique method we’ve created to easily store visual and custom physical data in one file,” adds Sharon Lim, CEO at Browzwear. “U3M is the first digital material format in the industry to combine digital components together in a consistent manner, thus allowing industry standardisation of digital material libraries.”

Vizoo’s upcoming release, xTex 181, will support reading and writing of the u3m format and 2019 will see the first integrations in 3D CAD and 3D rendering applications.