Our goal with this in-house project was simple. We wanted to stray away a bit from some of the typical "hard-surface" products we are so very accustomed to rendering and produce some high-quality 3D renderings of athleisure style t-shirts similar to what you might find on the websites of Nike, Adidas, or Under Armor.
Well aware of some of the unique challenges that occur when rendering an organic "soft-surface" product, we first began by researching some eCommerce t-shirt companies to see what we felt had been done both well and poorly in the past in terms of imagery. We knew from the start that we wanted to create a standard top down view and a close-up shot focusing on the details and to achieve both compositions, it would be important that we create a realistic 3D model with just the right amount of wrinkling and folds in fabric.
To help design the form of the shirt, our artists utilized the Marvelous Designer software platform, a robust and powerful cloth simulation tool that provided a tremendous amount of flexibility in determining not only the length and size of the shirt, but also the wrinkles and folds.
Once we had a 3D model that matched the form factor we were going for, the next step was to texture the model and add in details like the stitching and fabric strands that would be visible in the close-up rendering. For the fabric strands we tried a few different approaches, but settled on a hair simulation which gave the close-up rendering some fiber strands that matched the style we were going for.
Once the initial setup was completed, we rendered both shots using a studio style lighting approach in the above color and in post production we were able to easily produce the additional color variation options. While this project was just for us, the techniques used here can certainly be applicable to anyone in search of photo-realistic apparel imagery.