There is not currently a software specific to Costume production and design, however there are a number of software companies competing in the fashion industry for pattern drafting, and 3D virtual fitting software.
We chose to go with Gerber for our research because it's been a mainstay in the fashion industry for decades. There are lots of great things to be said about Gerber, excellent training, software support, and really wonderfully accurately rendered patterns. The one drawback for new users to Gerber is it's legacy, they continue to accomodate older users by mainting vintage functionality and integrating new features alongside those older processes. This means there are multiple methods to reach the same outcome, and certain keys which function in almost identical ways. I think in some ways new companies benefit from having a fresh slate because they can look at legacy programs like Gerber and steal the best aspects of it and apply those to a more streamlined simple platform. I do love that once you get into it, you do have a lot of control over your tools and workspace in Gerber, however getting to the point where you can exercise that control defintely takes some trial and error and patience.
Our team has grown in our understanding of how digital patterning functions, and what we would look for in an ideal pattern drafting/3D rendering software. Without a doubt accuracy is paramount, followed by functionality (user-friendliness, and ability to export files accessible without software access), and finally the cost of software access, usually billed by annual subscription.
I've compiled some videos which show the drafting process in 3 other fashion software programs which utilize both flat patterning and 3D rendering:
CLO: $50/month or $450/year. Background in in gaming. PC & MAC compatible
BROWZWEAR - VSTITCHER
BROWZWEAR: Price on request - Must apply and be accepted if you wish to purchase - Background in Fashion. PC & MAC compatible.
Guessing price is on par with Gerber between $4000-$10,000 depending on which modules you choose to purchase.
OPTITEX: $4000+/year. Background in Fashion. PC compatible
Last week I finished my Gerber Accumark classes and started on the first project. I felt so so grateful every morning to be learning a new skill to better my career in the arts. So first off THANK YOU! Canada Council for the Arts, Calgary Arts Development, IATSE 212 and our Research Coordinator Cathleen Sbrizzi for this incredible opportunity. That being said, halfway through the course I thought, 'Is it too late to return the money? This is too hard'. I am not a natural with computers and although the drafting portion was fun there are a lot of complicated steps to processing your draft that had me buggin'. I took the course on zoom alongside our Senior Cutting Consultant Liz Sutherland and we both texted the 'mind blown' emoji back and forth a few times.
I believe that computers will inevitably be used for drafting in costume wardrobes, maybe not in the same way as fashion but I believe the research we are doing is very important. So far the process is very slow going but that is to be expected when learning a new skill. It is frustrating but the drafting part is strangely addictive. I find myself wandering over to my computer in the morning before I've had coffee to try to fix something. I have completed my first project of body blocks for my 1/2 scale male and female mannequins. There were some tears...my computer froze sometimes and I am anxiously awaiting a zoom meeting with my instructor to ask her some questions but I am excited to keep progressing.
Also thank you to Kaeleah Spallin for printing us all a copy of the Gerber program manual, it's been very helpful to have at my fingertips.
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