The Virtual Textiles Research Group investigates and develops technology at the forefront of digital textile simulation.


Research Directions

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Appearance  Rendering

Constructed woven and knit textiles are difficult to render computationally, especially given subtleties of appearance based on light, shape and motion. We seek to create the most accurate and realistic cloth surfaces possible using varied models for tracing, lighting and deformation. 

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User Experience

We continue to explore varied user interfaces and systems for textile design that can support appearance based rendering as well as databases of mechanical attributes so as to virtually predict the behavior of fabric in various environments and conditions. 

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Yarn Modeling

Most constructed cloth is created using knitting or weaving techniques. Yarn in varied forms and materials is the integral building block of this process and we seek to better understand the physical behavior of fabric by focussing on computational attributes at the yarn-based level. 

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Heritage Textiles

The RISD Museum’s Costume & Textile Collection includes many industrially woven textile samples from the late19th Century. We have utilized scanning and visualization technology to better understand how these samples were created and how they might be remade through alterations to existing machines.


3D Weaving

Through industry partnership, we investigate 3D woven textiles of the sort used in ultra-strong composites such as engine fan blades. Predicting yarn behavior related to compression, friction and take-up is key to the successful composition of samples and creates a rich dataset for simulation trials.

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Quantum Weaving

Until now, all dimensional weaving executed on rapier or shuttle looms requires sequential line-by-line weft insertion and sequential shed formation. The recent implementation of multi-shuttle looms and servo-driven shedding systems changes this, and creates the need for new design and visualization language.

Virtual Textiles Research Group

Simulated virtual prototypes have revolutionized the design process in most engineering fields, eliminating much trial-and-error and enabling designs to be refined before real prototypes are built. As computational power becomes commonplace, a major emerging application of simulation is to design fields where the aesthetics of appearance, shape, and motion are primary concerns on a par with strength, weight, or efficiency. However, certain classes of materials consistently elude the available tools, and textiles form one of the most important examples.