Gallery: Virtual 3D “Knitting” Program Simulates Details Down to the Very...

It may all be pretend, but graphic artists don't always have an easy time dressing their characters. Simulating cloth by adding texture to a flat surface is one thing; replicating knitwear in a realistic fashion, particularly on a three-dimensional plane, is quite another. Scientists from Cornell University, however, have developed a new method for recreating knitted fabric out of an array of individual stitches, one that they can adjust to mimic the effects of different needles or types of yarn, as well as the style of the individual knitter.


Presented at the 39th International Conference and Exhibition of Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques earlier this month in Los Angeles, the program creates a 3D model of a single stitch before combining multiple copies into a mesh, much like tiles in a mosaic. The computer then projects the mesh onto the desired shape, treating each stitch as a tiny, flat polygon that stretches to accommodate the 3D construct.

Although the technology has movie-makers in mind—Pixar is a backer—it could also prove handy for apparel and textile designers.

Finally, the graphic image of each stitch “relaxes” to fit the shape of its polygon, just like actual knitwear would conform to the shape of the wearer. The result, according to Steve Marschner, an associate professor of computer science, is a simulation that drills down to the yarn level. “We are actually changing the shape of the yarn loops that make up the stitches,” he says, “simulating how they wrap around other loops.”

Although the technology has movie-makers in mind—Pixar is one of the project’s financial backers—it could also prove handy for apparel and textile designers who want to experiment with looks without knitting a stitch. Using patterns from several knitting books, the researchers were able to create true-to-life images of dresses, sweaters, a shawl, and a tea cozy.

+ Cornell University

One Response to “Virtual 3D “Knitting” Program Simulates Details Down to the Very Stitch”

  1. kathpoole says:

    How much does it cost and where do I get it?

Leave a Comment

Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments.

Please note that gratuitous links to your site are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments.

Add your comments


Sign me up for weekly Ecouterre updates


Lost your password?

  • Welcome to, your online guide
    to the best ideas, innovations and emerging
    trends in eco fashion, sustainable style,
    organic beauty and ethical apparel.

    get the free Ecouterre newsletter

  • follow ecouterre on:

  • The EDUN Runway at New York Fashion Week Was a Brand New Start

  • Ecouterre on Facebook
  • Ecouterre Video

    The Latest Eco-Fashions from the Green Shows at New York Fashion Week

    The Green Shows at New York Fashion Week