Iray+ and Apparel - Creativity through technology.

After many years of flirtatious exchanges, furtive glances and cautious courting, technology and fashion have finally fallen into each other’s arms. They are now inseparable, technology clasping fashion’s hand tightly as it guides the industry through the digital era – showing how to embrace the innovative technology that is now available. Virtual showrooms, digital content and augmented reality try-on’s are all digital features that have been developed by sections of the fashion and apparel industry. This fusion of fashion and technology is producing more engaging experiences for customers and blurring the boundaries between apparel and digital technology. Those who fail to keep up with the technological advances will find themselves being left behind, rather than swept forward upon the tide of technology.

To take advantage of the plethora of opportunities that technology has carved out the apparel industry needs powerful visualisation technology to create and display digital images and animations. Lightworks has developed the technology to make this possible; with our world-leading visualisation technology Iray®+ able to produce photorealistic digital images, which can be used across all aspects of the fashion industry. High-quality digital imagery is now a staple requirement for any progressive fashion company looking to integrate visual technology, and Iray+ can be used to create a variety of digital projects.

Iray+ can be integrated into a company’s existing software or used to create new projects and applications. For instance if a fashion label decides to offer a virtual showroom of clothes and accessories, Iray+ can be used to create a digital suite of interactive photoreal images. The need for impressive and striking visuals is imperative in the move towards digital technology. Iray+ provides numerous benefits that companies can take advantage of when embracing digital technology.

Physically-based materials

It goes without saying that materials are at the very foundation of the fashion industry. Designers have for years used combinations of different materials and fabrics to make dresses, trousers, accessories and more with the intention of creating items that encapsulate their unique brand and style. Materials and fabrics are the cornerstone of the fashion industry, but not even they have escaped the inevitable surge towards digital technology. The ability to try different materials in order to understand their properties and behaviours whilst designing is vital for any fashion designer. In the past this meant numerous prototypes and design changes whilst homing in on that perfect creation.

With the physically-based nature of all materials in Iray+, designers can now interact with different materials and fabrics in a real-world setting using digital technology. Physically-based materials available with Iray+ look and react with an accurate representation of their real world properties. If a designer is creating a dress, the way it looks and behaves on a digital model will be precisely how it would look on a real model.

The physically-based materials that Iray+ provides have benefits for customers as well as designers. With the vast majority of apparel products available on ecommerce websites, it’s important that clothes, shoes and accessories are displayed using a high quality image that represents true materials quality. With the physically-based materials available with Iray+, a customer can interact with the properties and behaviours of the fabric through a digital image or animation. For instance, animated runways show the exact characteristics of a garment and enhance the virtual browsing experience.


With Iray+, designs aren’t just created with physically-based materials, but precisely represented with photoreal images. Within the fashion industry, this means designers don’t have to rely solely on physical designs or CAD designs that have undergone hours of post-production, as photorealistic designs created using visualisation technology have extended in detail, realism and complexity in recent years.

The nature of photorealism is evident from its name. With world-leading technology Iray+, digital images are photoreal –creating images so realistic most would mistake them for a photo rather than a computer generated image. Iray+ recreates all elements that make an image look realistic, such as lighting, colours, materials, which can be used in stills, animations and more.

Photorealistic images have wide-ranging benefits across the apparel and fashion industry. For designers, they provide detailed and accurate images so they can see virtual samples of potential designs without the need for manufacturing prototypes. The ability to visually see photorealistic designs speeds up the design process immeasurably, as designers can decide modifications with the photorealistic accuracy it provides. Whilst designers shouldn’t completely give up the age old method of constructing clothes on a manikin in a workshop, photorealistic designing has given them the opportunity to use digital technology to make design decisions, which are relevant for both unique items and mass manufacturing.  

The photorealistic image allows for more accuracy in the design review, as designers can interact with all features, aesthetics and ergonomics of a product. As designers need to be able to experiment with materials, cuts, constructions and more, they can do this using the interactive photorealistic image. From initial concept through to final design, photoreal visuals allow designers to interact closely with their designs and make decisions throughout the design review process.   

Photorealistic images are crucial for displaying products online and creating a strong brand engagement. As products are more often than not viewed virtually online, it’s important for fashion brands to allow a customer to see in detail features, designs, patterns, textures and more when viewing apparel items. Photorealism allows companies to display their items in an interactive and engaging way online. With virtual showrooms optimising customers shopping experiences, photorealism allows them to build a deeper relationship with an item online, as they can visually see the intricate and unique features of a product in detail.


With fashion being a creative industry, a configurator is a creative digital application that allows the fashion industry to take advantage of visual technology. Underpinned by Iray+ technology and embracing the benefits created using physically-based materials and photoreal images, our configurators offer flexibility and customisation during the design process and at the point-of-sale.

 A configurator gives designers an opportunity to make design decisions quickly and easily in an internal workflow. With the component parameters set, designers have flexibility to make a multitude of changes to a digital representation of any item or garment. For instance, if a shirt was bring configured, a designer could change colours, designs, materials, cuff type, collar size and much more. Each amendment appears in real-time when underpinned by Iray+ technology and is represented through a photoreal image with physically-based materials. With this design flexibility, designers don’t need to produce prototypes and can work in a collaborative way to make final design decisions.

The same flexibility that configurators offer designers is also available to customers at the point-of-sale. Configurators offer customers a chance to co-design a product, allowing them to make changes to a customisable product. Giving customers the ability to create products based upon their own likes enhances the virtual browsing experience, a key feature as online customer experience is becoming increasingly important to the fashion industry. If co-designing a pair of trainers, customers can change multiple features, expressing their creativity and getting instant feedback on modifications as they change on the photo-real image. Innovative technology has given the fashion industry the chance to experiment with digital content and embrace the opportunities that they bring.

Creativity through digital technology  

This shows how visualisation technology such as Iray+ has a range of benefits that can be utilised across the fashion and apparel industry. Fashion is moving into the digital era and Iray+ is the technology that underpins this transition.  The transformative effect of the move towards digital technology can be seen in design, retail and customer experience as designers and companies embrace the new opportunities the technology has provided. Fashion is all about the spectacle and digital technology is the perfect way to extend the spectacle further.

Iray+, developed by Lightworks, provides an array of features which can aid the fashion and apparel industry in their march down the catwalk towards digital technology. Physically-based materials, photorealistic images and more provide the ability to integrate digital technology into numerous aspects of the industry. In the days where virtual browsing, digital try-ons and innovative configurators are all becoming increasingly feasible features for the fashion industry, Iray+ provides the technology to make these features a reality.  



Iray® is a registered trademark of NVIDIA ARC GmbH used under license from the NVIDIA Corporation.

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