Deckers Brands Takes Footwear 3D with Adobe Dimension and the HP Z 3D Camera

by Adobe Dimension Team

posted on 10-12-2018

In the apparel business, it can be difficult to align design and manufacturing in an effective (and cost-efficient) way. Designers that conceptualize a piece of clothing or accessory may have to wait months for their company’s factory to produce a sample and send it back for evaluation. This was certainly the case for Deckers, a fashion lifestyle company specializing in shoes with brands like UGG, Koolaburra, Teva, Sanuk, and Hoka One One.

“We lose so much time waiting for samples to be shipped from overseas factories, making revisions and having to communicate the changes,” said Chris Hillyer, director of innovation at Deckers Brands. The situation was far from ideal, slowing innovation and causing extra costs, and the company set out to find a better way of working.

Chris knew that 3D and visualization could help Deckers save a lot of time and money in both the production and approval process. The solution he found was a combination of the HP Z 3D camera and Adobe Dimension.

Reinventing the shoe design process with 3D in near-real time

Deckers’ previous shoe design workflow involved a multi-step process and a lot of shipping of prototypes. Shoe designers created “tech packs” in 2D using Adobe Illustrator, and once they were ready to test out those designs, they were sent to the factories for sampling. The tech packs were then turned into 2D patterns by pattern engineers, which were then turned into real sample shoes. At that point, those sample shoes were sent back to the design team, often located on the other side of the world.

Chris says the process could often take months. Shipping samples was also costly and not environmentally friendly. At the end of the process, many of those shoes never even made it to market because of the difficulty of interpreting a 2D drawing of a shoe into a successful design.

A pair of Deckers shoes, first scanned using an HP Z 3D camera, then brought into Dimension for compositing.

To change this, Chris pioneered a new program at Deckers and had HP Z 3D cameras installed at its factories. This allows workers to scan the samples they create and share those 3D scans with the design teams in another country, in near real time. Designers are then able to fully visualize their shoes using Adobe Dimension, viewing designs in full 360 degrees, in different lighting and environmental conditions and against various backdrops. They can then quickly jump back into Adobe Illustrator to iterate on those designs, and start the process over for the next round of design.

“This transformation shortens our design cycles, improves communication, and cuts down on waste. Our design teams can now see designs immediately after a shoe is made using the HP Z 3D Camera and Adobe Dimension,” Chris said.

Benefits beyond the assembly line

While the addition of 3D capabilities to the factory and design teams has been an incredible turning point for the company, Deckers is beginning to infuse other workflows with 3D as well. Graphic design teams are now using Adobe Dimension in their packaging and visual merchandising workflows.

Package designers are creating their mockups in Adobe Photoshop, and bringing them into 3D environments using Dimension. 3D models of shoes, scanned by HP Z 3D cameras, are then placed into Dimension to visualize how they would look on purchase displays before any physical products are created. “I want to get what is in my mind into everyone else’s mind so they can approve it. Adobe Dimension allows me to do that,” said Somerset Walmsley, senior graphic designer in the Print, Packaging, and Presentation Design department.

Shoe designs, scanned with an HP Z 3D camera and visualized using Adobe Dimension, are already influencing visual merchandising decisions at Deckers.

Chris Hillyer is confident 3D will continue to revitalize workflows at Deckers, and the 3D scans and visualizations done in Dimension are already finding their way into internal presentations and impacting high-level merchandising decisions.

“I have been in the footwear industry for nearly 20 years, and have dreamed of a time when we could begin to visualize concepts, colors, and materials in 3D. With tools like the HP Z 3D camera and Adobe Dimension, our teams now have the ability to receive valuable feedback and make design decisions in a fraction of the time,” Chris said.

We’ll be sharing more about Deckers’ innovative 3D workflow at Adobe MAX, October 15-16 in Los Angeles. If you’re attending, be sure to catch Chris Hillyer speaking about the workflow with HP and Dimension at the Community Pavilion Theater at 1 p.m. on Monday, October 15, and don’t miss the Adobe Dimension team at the Dimension booth as we share all the exciting new features being rolled out in our 2.0 release.

Try Adobe Dimension free with your Creative Cloud subscription. Share your work on Bēhance or Instagram with #adobedimension, and check out the incredible work created with Dimension, too.

Topics: Creativity, Design

Products: Photoshop, Illustrator, Creative Cloud