Creating Parisian Chic with Substance
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Luxury design and noble materials meet 3D software in Valéry Damnon’s latest collection of handbags. We sat down with the Parisian designer to talk about using Substance tools for his latest collection.
We used Substance to create multiple sample models. Tell us about the importance of samples in luxury goods production.
After sketching and designing a handbag model, I create a sample. This sample is manufactured from real materials, such as leather or exotic skin, hardware, and accessories. Each model can have multiple variations, such as skin, or embellishments like stamping, seams, and hardware.
The process of creating samples is crucial to seeing how the final product looks and feels. However, it also takes time and money, especially when using rare materials. With Substance, it is possible to handle and see different variations of a 3D model immediately, including material, stamping, and seams, plus all of the detail work for which we would have to make different models.
From these 3D models, I can create photorealistic renders for clients in order to facilitate their decision-making.
What are the advantages of using Substance in the sample creation process?
There are several. One is being able to simulate noble materials, such as crocodile skin, which saves money on prototypes. It’s possible to have a greater selection of colors and trims without creating physical prototypes for each.
Another is that with a design process that includes 3D models and high-resolution renders, I can produce customized pieces and offer a photorealistic example of what a custom piece will look like directly on my online store, valerydamnon.com
Many online boutiques still have patches. With one production model, you can get a faithful model of each color down to the zoom details. Retail customers and distributors alike can see a high level of detail.
The packshot, or a complete product photo that includes labeling and logos, is key to marketing luxury products. With Substance, you can have a full creative proposal from the packshot forward. The questions of whether I should shoot a particular color or material are redundant, because I can now have them all from the start of the process.
Not only does this save resources, but it means faster iteration over a collection period that is relatively short.
Tell us more about how the collection period cadences production of new lines. How does Substance intersect with this constraint?
The constraints on creation time depend on the collection. Some manufacturers create six collections per year; others, fewer.
In the world of haute couture, collections coincided with seasons of the year: Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer. With the arrival of ready-to-wear in the 1960s, the idea of cruise collections took off.
Cruise collections are models that are in the continuity of ready-to-wear, but are more finished and retail-ready interseason collections. Today’s brands need to have this rapid cadence of creation.
The frustration of not being able to purchase what you have seen in a show until a few months later is where fast fashion arose. The idea behind fast fashion that if the collection items you see are available now, you can purchase them immediately and are likely to purchase more.
These fashion production methods are inspired by fabrication in the auto industry, so it’s logical for the final products to be subject to the variations of models, details and color. There’s no reason not to use today’s tools in the process, and with Substance, you can.
We used Substance to create models of your Délicieuse handbag. Is this a tool that other designers could use?
Yes, there are dedicated jobs in the fashion industry, such as Color and Material Manager, where production of visual assets is currently managed through Photoshop. The short-term evolution for these posts is in Photoshop and Illustrator. But you’re not going to work in 3D in these tools.
In Substance, you can modify materials in real time. Gold buckles can be transformed into brushed metal with drag-and-drop, and you can render the whole asset in real time while checking for coherency between products and photos. You can apply materials with other tools, but editing them directly is possible only in Substance.