Archive for September, 2012

Incorporating Artlandia SymmertyWorks/SymmetryMill into an Adobe Pattern Design for Industry Course

September 29, 2012 Leave a comment

The Adobe Pattern Design for Industry class offered by the Fashion Textile Technology program at Buffalo State college has undergone continual revisions and modifications over the years. When I first started teaching it we did not use computers. We made a book of fabric swatches with different surface treatments [pen/paint/dye etc; marbling rubber stamp, stenciling, rubber cement, etc] We also hand drew motifs and developed repeats using tracing paper and the light table and carefully taped together copies before we transferred the repeat design to good paper for painting.

Everything took so long not much was developed for student portfolios in 15 weeks of class that we have. I slowly started transferring time-consuming steps to the computer starting with scanning in the hand drawn motifs so that the hand drawn motif could be developed into a seamless repeat on the computer. The single repeat was printed out and traced on to paper to be hand painted. This handpainted single repeat would then have to be scanned in and color separated – lots of time again.

I thought we could save a lot more time if we scanned in individual handpainted motifs or elements like individual flowers, color separated them in Photoshop and maybe duplicated and arranged a motif and repeat design once they were already separated. This saved lots of time and more student assignments could be completed for this class. At this point the major portion of the class was shifting to Photoshop and Illustrator, we no longer worked on the book of fabric swatches. Students take a fiber design course to develop traditional printing, multi-media or weaving techniques.

Currently the class is focusing primarily on Illustrator because it really speeds things up in a major way. The final files are much smaller and all elements created in this resolution free vector environment can easily be archived and used for other projects, or can be imported into a raster program like Photoshop at any size and resolution.

Having the students working on increasing Illustrator skills also reflects the graphics infusion with surface design trends that are everywhere to be seen in commercial fabrics. A quick review of the fabrics in the SS13 NY and London ready-to-wear designer collections will verify this observation. We do continue to use Photoshop for concept board development to instruct students how to use a variety of special effects and layer masks. We also have a color separation and cleaning and recoloring assignment to instruct students how they would color separate, clean and recolor hand painted artwork.

Students from the fiber design class are encouraged to either scan in or take a digital photograph of their original work so they can learn how to make a seamless repeat and recolor a tonal image [as well as a photograph] in Photoshop. This semester the addition of Artlandia SymmetryMill to expand on this assignment is sure to excite the students. SymmetryMill is the perfect application to develop the current pattern patch work type designs that include multiple different pattern repeats for one fabric using one overall color palette in different proportions for each pattern repeat.

Artlandia SymmetryMill is a stand-alone full function Web Browser application, all you need is an Internet connection.

Another place we make be able to make use of SymmetryMill is in an assignment were we start with a scanned image of a water-color flower, we desaturate it, create a repeat and develop multiple custom colorways for it.

We have also recently incorporated the new Adobe CS6 Pattern Tool into the course assignments. Here is a link to a previous post (Adobe Illustrator CS6: New Pattern Tool Video Tutorials) that has some video tutorials of the new Pattern Tool. During the last 4-5 classes of the semester, students will first be introduced to using Artlandia SymmetryWorks in Illustrator then they will take the Illustrator motifs they have already developed earlier in the class and create SymmetryWorks layouts that will include the original motif and 6 repeat tiles and in repeat swatches that they developed from each motif using Symmetry Works. Artlandia SymmetryWorks has been around for a while. The SymmetryWorks application is continually being upgraded to enable the user to develop more sophisticated and complex vector [and raster] patterning.

The Artlandia SymmetryMill and Artlandia SymmetryWorks applications are excellent additions to the Adobe Surface Design for Industry class. These applications enable students to create an unlimited number of tonal and vector repeats in a very short time. The different symmetries also help students understand the interlocking repeat construction of the repeats. The new SymmetryMill in particular is excellent for an educational setting because students can work right from their Web browsers (see image above), no other application is needed to develop the pattern repeats. Students can work on assignments from anywhere they have an Internet connection.

You may wonder how I learned about Artlandia SymmetryMill. I was recently invited to beta test it and I must say it is totally addictive for anyone that loves to create and develop and endless variety of repeat seamless patterns. You can upload your custom image and very quickly develop repeat patterns from seventeen planar symmetry types.

You can learn about:

SymmetryMill HERE.

SymmetryWorks HERE.

You can keep your patterns private or share them with the community at Pattern Central.

Here is the link to the SymmertyMill patterns I developed while beta testing the product for Artlandia. SymmetryMill has step-by-step tutorials HERE.

SymmetryWorks has excellent easy to follow step-by-step tutorials. Below are some images of the patterns developed from following their tutorials.

Artlandia has even developed a pattern glossary that the students can easily refer to learn about the different pattern terms and categories.

The students at Buffalo State are looking forward to working on Artlandia SymmetryMill[raster] and Artlandia SymmetryWorks [vector] this semester.

I will post again about integrating the Artlandia SynmmetryMill and SymmetryWorks applications in my course after the semester ends.

The full assortment of Artlandia products are HERE.

Employing a High Profit Integrated Mini-Factory

September 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Guest post by Bill Grier

[ Founder and current chief technology officer (CEO) of Critical Mass Manufacturing (CMM) ]

Apparel Made for You Inc. has created a game-changing revolution for very profitably restoring the lost US domestic apparel industry. And in the process, AM4U’s Purchase Activated Manufacturing (PAM) promises to annually save multi-billions of gallons of fresh water because AM4U’s patented fabric dying, printing, and imprinting uses NO water at all! The initial path to starting this revolution is by using AM4U’s ingenious Integrated Mini-Factories (IMF) as outlined in these previous blogs:

  1. Demand Manufacturing: AM4U (Apparel Made 4 You)
  2. How PAM and Mini-Factories can help us Avoid the US Apparel Industry’s Perfect Storm

This final article details the huge profit gains available by converting today’s unsustainable ‘Supply and Demand’ apparel production to AM4U’s new ‘Demand and Supply’ approach which makes NO finished goods inventories until all products offered are presold and paid for online!

When fully funded, AM4U will begin selling/and or licensing single or multiple IMF’s that can pay for themselves in less than a year with minimum output and quickly pyramiding profits. AM4U is so confident, they plan to offer a program license entirely paid out of the customers’ increased gross profit after one year.

An ideal initial use of IMFs is to test new products or to re-energize sales of high profit items or mature products that are stagnating. But the real payoff is to use IMF’s as a key new element in existing multi-channel marketing strategies.

Remember that IMFs using PAM remove ALL perishable finished goods inventories, so all the normal inventory carrying costs are saved also. This is especially beneficial for products that demand high levels of customization and/or personalized fit (i.e. team gear as well as its accessories and supporting training gear).

PAM is also ideal for short runs of volatile fashion goods, which depend on rich colors and unique prints that demand expensive large fabric commitments, but AM4U will dyed, print and imprint these garments one at a time from white fabric, and only after they are sold.

IMFs can also produce high per-unit profits in low volume niche market segments like active sports such as Surfing and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) products and fast changing pop culture items.

In summary, there are three fundamental roles for IMF strategy in a major company’s marketing and manufacturing structure:

  • Product development and testing
  • High value / low volume product production
  • Multichannel income and retail traffic building

Product Development and Testing

The incredible flexibility of the mini-factory production path allows companies to test a product idea without the cost of production minimums or the risk of design “lock up” far in advance of market testing.  Companies can release multiple versions of the same style and only mass produce the successful choices.  Product developers can also allow consumers to select colors and prints from a limited online pallet to enable or reinforce forecast color or print decisions.

High Value/Low Volume

Products All companies have niche products or undeveloped niche markets that support products that produce high value profits when sold, but the units move in such low volume that manufacturing minimums and inventory costs make them impossible to exploit in a conventional manufacturing environment.  The two key features of the PAM manufacturing technology in the IMF are no minimums and change-on-the-fly color, print, and fabric at full manufacturing speeds. These features allow exact production volume to match exact product sales.  This synchronized production eliminates the profit erosion that prevents large manufacturers from capturing these high value niche products.

Multichannel Income and Retail Traffic Building

In the evolving multichannel retail world, an IMF strategy can employ a small footprint body scanning kiosk which can dramatically increase the sales per square foot index for a retail location. These kiosks have access to a vast catalog of custom fit apparel and coordinated accessories that can be picked up in the store or ordered for home delivery.  Once the consumer is scanned, the PAM technology can extend the store into the home for custom perfect fit apparel and personalized performance wear.  This  technology also allows the retail location the opportunity to order localized product in small quantities or for specific online offerings available only at that location.

The presentation above follows contains the following:

• Tactical marketing differences between in-store and online sales

• How to build a product selection matrix

• Model profitability of six mini-factory produced products

• Return on investment for the first two years of mini-factory operation

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