X-Rite Pantone announces new appearance file format

X-Rite, or at least its subsidiary Pantone, has developed a new file format, the Appearance Exchange Format or AxF. This is said to allow the full communication of visual appearance in a single, editable file in order to improve the virtualization process.

Essentially, the concept is that it offers a standard way to store and share every aspect of the appearance of an object such as its colour, texture, gloss, refraction, translucency, special effects (sparkles) and reflection properties. It’s said to allow for a consistent and accurate digital representation of physical materials in CAD and rendering applications.

Dr Francis Lamy, executive vice president and chief technology officer of X-Rite Pantone, says that product appearance is crucial to customers, explaining: “Appearance must, therefore, be an integral part of the design-to-production process and not just an afterthought. AxF makes this possible.”

The AxF files should allow for product mock-ups with sophisticated materials such as special-effects paints, leather, plastics, fabrics, wood, and brushed metals, allowing brands to get from design to market quicker.

The new format can compress raw data from terabytes to megabytes. There are SDKs available for Windows and Linux and it is compatible with SVBRDF-based workflows.


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