Unlike most fashion items, jeans’ most desirable quality is the way they fade. We all have a favorite pair of jeans: the more worn they look, the more we like them!

In our quest to provide fashion designers with the tools to visualize their creation photorealistically in 3D, it was natural for us to have a closer look at this final stage of jeans production: pre-washing and pre-distressing.

In short, how to make a garment look old and worn.

Today, we’ll focus on parametric decals and materials we created to enable you to add these specific details on denim in an effortless way.

Weathering effects

The objective today is to showcase the creation of weathering effects in 3D in a believable way. The point? To offer new creative possibilities to stylists, designers and manufacturers to design details like the washing effects, cuts and shreddings in 3D. And, very important as well, to save money in photoshoots by visualizing the garment in a photorealist way.

The approach is simple. Materials and decals dedicated to weathering are applied as textures on the 3D model of the garment in Substance Painter.

Using 3D tools enable you to have total freedom to place, rotate and scale the details and effects exactly where and how you want it. Better, you can go back and modify or create as many variations as you need at zero cost compared to real world prototyping. The cherry on the cake is that you are not limited to a single shape of cut or effect.

Parametric materials and decals are by definition completely versatile. The decal has built-in parameters that you can tweak to modify its visual properties such as the shape of the cut.

Importing 2D artwork

Here, you can drive the shape of the cut by importing a 2D artwork. Basically: create any shape you want. You can also control the level of tear by specifying the amount of shredded fibers as well as the weft that remains.



To make this even easier, each asset on Substance 3D Assets comes with a unique set of parameters adapted to the specific properties of the material.

Indeed, the faded look and soft touch of pre-washed jeans are still today by far the most popular. While the denimheads prefer to create their own “wash,” most people are perfectly fine with taking a shortcut and buying jeans that are already washed and worn.

This is the reason why jeans manufacturers have perfected techniques to make their products to look naturally worn, saving their customers a few hundred of washing cycles and back-grinding to get this worn-in look we love so much.

These techniques are a combination of mechanical processes and sometime hand-crafting to achieve natural results.

We created decals specifically to reproduce denim weathering effects. When we talk about weathering jeans and garment finishing, pre-washing is hard to get around. Most washes are created with a combination of several different pre-washing methods, which are proprietary to each manufacturer.



In order to cover most of these techniques, we have created a sandblasting effect that reproduces most of the attributes of stonewashing, sand blasting, hand scraping and bleaching. In Substance Painter, you will be able to resize the area of action of the effect locally on part of the garment, like creating whiskers next to the front zipper…

The precision of the tool is totally under your control as you can achieve results with the accuracy and speed of laser techniques. Painting details becomes as quick as the beam path…

Like everything else that affects our precious and fragile world, the consequences of garment finishes have a global impact, not only to the local communities where factory-washed and distressed jeans are made. We hope with 3D solution integrated to the design and production, in the long term, we can help optimize resource usage such as the number of prototypes made (as some of the design iterations can be created virtually), the related material and shipping costs.

In the short term, visualizing garments and outfits in a photorealistic way can lead to cost and time savings in the production of fast-growing images databases for e-commerce.

Last month, we also released a collection of fully parametric textiles materials. Read all about that release here.

Model from clo3d; Art by Damien Climent