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.