What are 3D zippers?
3D zippers are zipper models that get created in a 3D modelling program and are used for 3D digital clothing.
3D zipper pullers are used for virtual 3D clothes just as real zippers are used for real-world clothes.
3D artists who create realistic human characters for movies, games, animations or 3D artwork, need to have realistic 3D clothes for their models.
To create the appearance of a realistic garment, artists need to add fine details such as stitches, seams and of course zippers and zipper pullers to complete their clothes.
3D zippers that are modeled from two pieces can even be zipped and unzipped just like real-world zippers.
How are CG zippers made for digital clothing?
One way to create zippers for 3D clothing is to create a tiling texture from a photograph of a real-world zipper and generate a Displacement map, a Normal map or an Alpha Map. The Displacement map or the Normal map can then be applied to the zipper strip to create a zipper appearance when rendering the 3D digital clothing or using the clothes in a game or animation.
The first way described to create a zipper using a tile-able zipper texture, does not enable the zipper to be unzipped or opened.
The other way to create a zipper for a digital virtual clothing item, is to model the 3D zipper or sculpt it in a 3D program. If the zipper is modeled from two parts, it can be opened or shut.
How are 3D zipper pullers made?
3D zipper pullers, also known as zipper sliders, need to be modeled in a 3D modelling program. There are many CAD & 3D modelling software programs both freeware opensource programs and commercial programs that can be used for this purpose. Here on Wikipedia you’ll find a list of 3D modelling software.
What is are most common formats for a 3D zipper puller?
There are many formats a 3D model can be exported as, the most commonly used formats include OBJ, Collada, FBX, 3ds max, with the extensions of .max .3ds .dae .stl .obj .blend .c4D
What do 3D zipper pullers look like?
Below you will find several images of 3D zipper pullers as well as a 3D clothing item using a 3D zipper puller and a tiling zipper texture made from a photograph.