Tag Archives: virtual fashion

Zeitguised – a quasi world in 3D

Since its founding in early 2000 they have kept pushing boundaries in crafting 3D, building their very own visual universe. Berlin-based studio Zeitguised clearly blurs the line between art and commercial work. However continued exploration of their personal voice catapulted them into becoming true pioneers – a path that later attracted even more and renowned clients rather than the opposite. Today Zeitguised has formed a commercial arm ‘Foam studio’ allowing the other part of the studio to focus on experimental work.

Zeitguised’s work is difficult to describe yet visually irresistible. In one of their latest projects, Geist.xyz “handcrafted algorithmic textiles” are portrayed in dance-like movement. Its artistic expression feels realistic yet abstract at the same time –  referred to by the studio themselves as “synthetic art”. Experimenting with algorithms and light simulations they remind us of the famous quote by Arthur C. Clarke  – that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”. Henrik Mauler, one of the founders of Zeitguised took time to elaborate with me on their studio and on virtual textiles and its potential futures.

Henrik – if aliens landed on earth, how would you explain to them what Zeitguised does?

ZEITGUISED is a conceptual design studio that explores the aesthetic potential of digital design and its poetic application in the materiality of the physical world. Okay, that doesn’t sound apprehensible for aliens.
Humans are a life form mostly on the surface of this planet that doesn’t know better than expanding the reach of their minds by refining their techniques and habits via repetition and variation. We’re some of them, making representations of a quasi-world, an extension of the human mind and its imaginations, a world that might not physically exist yet very much does via sensual experiences.

There is a clear voice in what you are creating. How does a studio of many people like Zeitguised keep a consistent aesthetic?

We are a diverse group of artists, commanding different aesthetics. Yet I think we share some sensibilities, so if we discover something new via exploration, we’ll try to tie it into our expanding own cosmos. We realized our common denominators are probably, on the one hand, an empathic approach that allows inanimate objects become beings that behave and speak through shape, colors and materials. on the other hand there is the love for tension, to unite elements that seemingly don’t belong together yet make for good aesthetic dance partners.

What is the most important key in making virtual textiles to look and feel realistic?

The relation of texture detail and simulation detail. There is no algorithm that makes this easier to achieve through automation yet, it’s still a manual art and craft.

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What do artificially generated textiles have that real ones don’t?

The possibility to expand their character, which is one between a dynamic, living sculpture and a lifeless, passive drape. Suddenly there is the possibility to become a being, a life form, through this means.

Technology is advancing and in the future computers are likely to generate imagery that is today created by humans. Do you think an AI ever could create good art?

Actually, we entertain the daring thought that a sophisticated AI, much unlike the vulgar AIs that we talk of nowadays, might be capable of making art that is more powerful, mind-expanding and envelope-bursting than anything humans could ever conceive. We’re talking about an AI that is not modeled to resemble the human mind. Until then, the race is on for us humans to show that we can come up with the more unexpected concepts and aesthetics.

What client do you dream of a phone call from?

We had a couple of dream clients calling us which made us realize afterwards: we’re our own dream client…we just haven’t called ourselves yet. 🙂
On the other hand, our dream clients trust us and our creative potential and vast experience and want to see objects and products that are unique, unseen, unusual, exciting, emphatic and full of character.

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Foam Studio

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Machine learning – the future of design?

Online retailer Zalando has teamed up with Google to create a new virtual fashion experience letting shoppers create their own designs in 3D. The initiative called Project Muze uses a neural network trained with design preferences such as colours, textures and imagery. By answering a few questions such as mood and style the shopper will generate a design based on the answers as well as data from the Google Fashion Trends Report and top trending objects from Zalando’s online platform.

The project taps in to the trend of using machine learning to create a personalized experience using Google’s open-source platform TensorFlow combined with a set of aesthetic parameters. It launched at trend show Bread&butter in Berlin earlier this fall where a few handpicked designs were highlighted. The chosen pieces were later to be translated into real garments. Considering the visual experience the project clearly shows a big gap between digital and physical dimensions yet to be filled. However the concept of combining algorithms with 3D product interaction suggests a potential future where shoppers can virtually create their own products based on personal data.

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Read more about 3D avatars and CGI in fashion

What fashion can learn from character customization

Customizable characters or the ability to create your very own avatar is a well known element in video games. Major game studios are even creating customization interfaces that are reminiscent of a real world fitting room including the ability to pick characteristics such as eye colour, skin tone and hair style.

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The importance of identification has positioned character customization as a component for game studios with graphic ambitions. It has also raised the issue of lack of diversity in an industry with reputation to only be representing white men as has historically been the only character option to choose from. Insomniac games is one of the studios rebelling against that norm in their action game Sunset Overdrive. In it, the players are given the option of playable female character as well as customization options that are unrelated to gender. It points out the importance of identification in recreating yourself digitally: you not only have the possibility to represent your physical world self, but who you want to be or, even let your imagination take you to a new digital self.

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In Bungie’s Destiny as well as BioWare’s fantasy title Dragon age: Inquisition, the player can choose his or her appearance with high level of detail in everything from race, gender and class to face features. As computer graphics have advanced into close in on photorealism, the gaps in implementation have decreased. The type of self-visualizing which has so far only been used for character design is now of interest when we digitize our lives for different kinds of services.

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Fashion ecommerce is constantly looking for new visualization tools to provide stunning digital experiences with technology used by game artists. 3D content such as creating personal avatars, virtually trying on 3D rendered garments or customizing products are services now popping up globally to bring us new ways of living our digital lives. The skillset of a CG artist is suddenly pure gold in a new fashion landscape. As shown by the advances of self-visualisation in gaming we will most likely see great innovations in the near future at this very intersection, taking the shown examples out of their original context. When it comes to visual experiences fashion has everything to learn from game art and digital storytelling.

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Also read about the work of Joseph Cross and Chris Wells