What is CAD?
The term CAD stands for computer-aided design and is defined as the use of information technology in the design process. The CAD system is usually a combination of hardware and specifically designed software. The hardware includes graphic devices and their peripherals for input and output operations, while the software package manipulates or analyzes shapes according to user interaction. The core of a CAD system is its software, which takes input from product designer, makes use of graphics for storing the product model, and drives the peripherals for product presentation. Use of CAD does not change the nature of design process but aids the product designer. Most of the CAD software packages have the provision to create three-dimensional (3D) models that can be rotated and viewed from any angle. These state-of-the-art modeling CAD packages help architects, engineers, and designers in their design activities.
In large-scale apparel industries CAD is widely used for the following functions:
- Determining cutting average for costing
- Making the most efficient cutting marker
- Development and alteration of patterns
- Development of size set pattern by grading
- Digitising the pattern
What is CAM?
The term CAM stands for computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). CAM also known as Computer-aided Modeling or Computer-aided Machining. It is the use of computer software to control machine tools and related machinery in the manufacturing of work pieces. Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) was initially developed as a way of ensuring that the transition from 2D design process to 3D manufacture was more seamless, and also enable companies to benefit from quick responses. CAM has become an integral part of the design and production systems that exist in fashion and textiles.
Functions of CAD/CAM Software in Textile and Apparel Industry:
CAD apparel and textile software specifically offers the designer a complete design software solution. It gives the designer the tools and techniques to digitally create designs from the initial concept to final presentation, to the creation of a pattern for a garment or product, to the grading (sizing) of a pattern.
- Creating quick sketches and fashion illustrations
- Creating minibodies, croquis (figures), and line drawings for presentations/storyboards
- Creating and managing various color ways, color palettes
- Using and adapting the latest style trends and seasonal color palettes
- Creating and simulating print designs, knits, and wovens fabric swatches from libraries and from scratch
- Designing in repeat – any number of repeats can be made using different sequences and sizes
- Creating and managing colorways and color matches for textile designs, fabric swatches, universal and seasonal palettes
- Working with style and trim libraries
- Editing images, scans, and photographs
- Creating individual portfolios
- Working with 3D images to create collections and virtual fashion shows
- Drafting 2D patterns and creating virtual 3D samples from those patterns
- Creating and viewing simulated garments on the body to evaluate fit
- Realistically simulating the drape of the fabric
- Sharing collections with buyers, suppliers, and retailers within the industry and globally
CAD/CAM Software Used in Textile and Apparel Industry
There are a number of textile and apparel software programs designed specifically for the small business and freelance designers, but the larger apparel and textile companies are more likely to use the powerful CAD apparel and textile suites produced by Lectra and Gerber. These suites have been developed to integrate all areas of the apparel process from apparel and textile design, pattern making, grading, garment production through to merchandising, and data management. Consequently, the suites are expensive but enable a company to achieve economies of scale by reducing collection development costs and lead times, ensuring better quality standards while still maintaining an individual, distinctive style and a coherent brand image. Above all, it means greater productivity and profitability for the company. These suites can also be tailored to meet the company’s or clients’ specific needs within any sector of the textile and apparel business.
An added advantage is that the popular and more economical graphics software such as Illustrator and Photoshop are compatible with the Gerber and Lectra systems. This means that the drawing and image editing skills that designers use to create their designs in these packages are similar to the tools and techniques used by the more industry-specific fashion systems. For example, features such as ‘drag-and-drop’ can be used and/or files can be imported directly into the Gerber or Lectra programs.
There are many CAD/CAM software available in the market with interactive tools. With the help of these tools, the process of manufacturing is very easy and fast. CAD is used in every phase of the textile industry. Design program of CAD is based on two systems: one is a raster scan and another is a vector. Both systems have their own pros and cons, so the selection of the software is according to user requirements. Some of the famous CAD/CAM software are listed later along with their applications. Major CAD/CAM software available in the market are as follows:
- CAD CAM Solutions
- PAD system
- Ned Graphics
- Illustrator and Photoshop
- color Matters
- Auto CAD
These are some softwares available in the market. All these are not suitable for every industry. The industries dealing with only design have different requirements than those of the manufacturing industry. The use of the software depends upon the need and application of the industry, and the user has to select appropriate software for their use. Selection of the accurate software is the primary task; therefore, some of the widely used softwares and their pros and cons are discussed here.
Important CAD/CAM software which are used in textile and apparel industry are described here.
AccuMark Pattern Design Software is specially designed to provide good quality performance, especially in the fashion industry by Gerber Technology. Pattern Design Software has been a reliable system for fashion designers, which ensures high and accurate measurement and pattern. Users can easily operate the software due to its easy and quick functionality, which prevents designers or users from taking too much time. Through the AccuMark pattern design software, the users can always rely on the repository of the patterns to minimize its loss due to a disaster.
Lectra brings designing solutions and best practices to the sports field, which enables fashion companies to increase creativity and speed; Solutions which can merge traders, textile designers, product designers and supply chains. Expertise for spot on innovative design makes good business sense.
Lectra design solutions integrate fashion expertise and design best practices for creating innovative clothing designs and styles in record time. They help design teams to differentiate their customers with ultra-realistic textile simulations and precise technical sketches. Based on a practical project approach and best-in-class experience, Lectra solutions promote teamwork to ensure accurate information sharing. Plugging design in the rest of the organization is important for reducing lead time. Lectra allows designers to share sketches and cloth designs with product development and suppliers on a unique platform, to ensure that designs reach in time to fashion hungry consumers.
The Optitex O/15 streamlines many aspects of 2D pattern design and introduces success innovations and improvements in 3D simulation. The users can get more life forms for their digital designs faster than before. User can still make more decisions in the digital environment, can promote creativity and save time and cost. Optitex integrated platform allows to automatically reflect every change made in 2D or 3D. Once user makes 3D rendering of the design, user can take advantage of it repeatedly in many business processes – from product development and sales, through sales and marketing all the way. It creates fewer samples and saves on the wastage of clothes, increases the accuracy and uniformity of the fit of product line and minimizes it from time to time with the 360° view of the design before production.
The core of the pattern design software:
- Eliminate hundreds of manual steps in the design process with a superior design experience that is fully customizable to the customer needs.
- Visualize measurements of different styles and gain control of internal features such as notches, buttons and drill holes.
- Draft pieces from scratch, digitize existing hard-copy patterns, or even edit and finalize existing digital patterns.
- Darts, seam allowance, special corners, advanced measurement techniques, pleats, curves and facings are all fitted to trade, to meet the needs of customers across a wide range of product and style types.
- Designers can create their own working environment with movable toolbars.
- Quick access to regularly used functions without ever needing to access a menu.
- No hardware lock-in, including importing and exporting, to and from all major CAD formats.
Tukatech offers award-winning 2D and 3D pattern making, design and construction software designed specifically for apparel planners and automated broadcasters and cutters for production, as well as apparel manufacturers of all sizes and skill levels. The capabilities of Tukatech Technology remain unique in the fashion industry, and all products are offered at affordable prices. Tukatech has developed a large and loyal international customer base, which is using user-friendly products to develop and improve their apparel and garment lines. Tukatech customers have used Tukatech extensive online and real-world training and education initiatives, not only pushing its capabilities but also the overall standards of the entire apparel industry. Tukatech invests in their clients and develop strong bonds with large and small garment manufacturers around the world. Tukatech has created a global network of industry experts who continue to guide and support the company and its products. Tukatech continues to break new ground in cutting-edge 3D fashion software and hardware, and is excited to share these events with current and new customers.
NedGraphics is a leading developer of CAD Software solutions specifically designed for apparel and retail, home furnishings, flooring design and other various garments. NedGraphics allow product designers to use full creative freedom while improving efficiency, productivity and accuracy to create product-ready artwork. NedGraphics offers dedicated tools for print, woven and knitted fabric design, carpet and tufts, color management and calibration, sales and more.
NedGraphics enables its user to improve their sales by minimizing time to market, optimizing product development flow and reducing sampling costs. Each software solution is offered in a fully integrated modular system to guarantee the current and future operational performance. NedGraphics was acquired in 2014 by the parent company FOG Software Group, a division of Constellation Software Inc. (TSX:CSU). FOG Software Group acquires, manages and builds software companies in a variety of vertical markets, enabling them to be clear leaders in their industries.
CorelDraw CAD is compatible with all major CAD programs, so experienced users will feel comfortable with the familiar command bar, command aliases, and menu and toolbar items. Use of CorelCAD smart tools, such as object snaps, grips and polar guides, to quickly reposition, align, copy or resize objects. The enhanced EntityGrips provide 3D editing and intuitive manipulation. The shortcut menus instantly edit the geometry of objects in the desired place while hovering over any EntityGrip.
By using the new ExportTable command to export tables in a comma separated format (CSV), CSV files are imported in Microsoft Excel or database applications. In tables, one can add formulas into cells plus insert, delete, merge or resize cells, rows and columns within existing tables. The enhanced EntityGrips and Properties palette allow for 3D editing and provide intuitive manipulation capabilities in 3D. Addition of 3D solid primitives to the design and use of Boolean operations to unite intersect and subtract bodies as per the requirements.
Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop:
Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop are two of the most commonly used CAD software programs in the fashion industry due to their versatility and affordability. When used in combination with one another, these two programs provide all the tools an apparel designer needs to draw fashion design sketches, technical flat sketches, CAD presentations (rendered flat sketches), create and modify textile designs, repeats and colorways, design embroidery, graphic artwork and more. Adobe Illustrator is a vector-based program, which means that artwork can be scaled and printed at any size and resolution while maintaining full detail and clarity. This aspect makes the program ideal for producing fashion flat sketches, CAD sketch presentations, fashion illustrations and other images that are commonly resized and rearranged for various presentation purposes.
Some notable advances in Illustrator over the past few years continue to make it faster and easier to create fashion sketches, CADs and other projects. The “Live Trace” feature, introduced in CS2, allows users to easily convert photos, scans and bitmap images into editable vector files. Also introduced in Illustrator CS2 is the ‘Live Paint’ feature that enables fashion designers to fill apparel sketches with colors and patterns using only a few simple clicks.
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Founder & Editor of Textile Learner. He is a Textile Consultant, Blogger & Entrepreneur. He is working as a textile consultant in several local and international companies. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.