Cem Yuksel and his colleagues at Cornell University have recently unveiled their new method for generating 3d stitched meshes. Once the user imports their base mesh, they can define the pattern, tiling, and direction of the fabric using surprisingly intuitive tools. Once that’s complete the software smooths the base mesh and slides the stitch tiles around to create a more uniform pattern. Once this is all completed the software builds the actual stitch mesh based on the pattern. A final yarn-level relaxation is performed to enhance the realism of the strands. The process results in extremely realistic-looking knit fabric, as is evident when compared to actual fabric samples (the top row is the real fabric, the bottom is the simulation).
I always like seeing big innovation towards little details. Sometimes just adding a tiny bit more realism to a scene can make all the difference. And the realism of these stitch meshes is unprecedented. Looking at the team’s video about the technology it’s clear the meshes even look great when in motion. I only hope that this technology will be commercially available soon so that eager artists like me can play with it.