From batch automation to Cloud-based folder sharing, the designer’s digital toolkit has never been as opulent as it is today. But despite sped-up workflows and AI-assisted features, the one thing that will never change is how those designs translate in the physical world.
From a CMF (Colors, Materials, & Finishes) standpoint, the newly-launched Swatchbook aims to help bridge that digital-physical connection at least a little more seamlessly.
Spearheaded by modo ninja and overall 3D viz heavyweight Yazan Malkosh, Swatchbook aims to be “The Future of Materials” as a cloud platform for designers, brands, and suppliers to explore, visualize, and materials without the need for physical samples. On a more technical level, Swatchbook bills itself as Material Lifecycle Management (MLM).
For those who sift through materials every day—architects, industrial designers, engineers, 3D modelers—the task of working through dozens of 10-pound swatch books or navigating through thumbnails in spreadsheets can lose its charm quickly. Alternatively, Swatchbook aims to capitalize on this explorative aspect of the material search journey with an intuitive interface and collaboration-friendly features.
Perhaps the most useful tools of the platform will be the ability to save multiple materials to various collections for current and later projects (e.g. “dark woods” or “anodized aluminum”), one to one scale visualizations of material patterns and textures, and the ability to request physical samples when needed through a natural single-touch workflow.
For designers looking to expand their own digital material libaries, Swatchbook supports axf, clo, keyshot, modo, octane, optitex, substance, unity, unreal, vray, vred, vstitcher, and xtex file formats with more to come.
“Despite its importance materials are lacking 2 things in the digital world: standards & management”, explains Malkosh. “Swatchbook is here to change this. We are closing the gap between the physical & digital world to fulfill the needs of the creative people in the product development process.”