Are appearances deceiving?We participated in the event organised by Ars Tinctoria in collaboration with X-Rite, where an “ecosystem” of technologies able to give objectivity and measurability to the appearance of materials, in particular to leather, was presented

Jul 27, 2017
Posted in: , Events , Materials

by Matteo Pasca, director of ARSUTORIA school

Together with my colleagues from ARSUTORIA school I participated in the event organised by Ars Tinctoria in Santa Croce, in the heart of the Tuscan tannery district.

Visit to Ars Tinctoria labs

We were immediately struck by the structure of this service company created by Gustavo Defeo no more than five years ago: three floors of laboratories, young and dynamic staff, new and sophisticated machinery. It is clear that Gustavo, an Argentinian chemist who has been living in Italy for 23 year and has worked for the most important international chemical companies within the industry, has found the right formula to make the most of his experience. Ars Tinctoria’s customers are not only the tanneries of the Santa Croce area, but the entire leather supply chain, from chemical companies to fashion brands. And the service offering ranges from chemical analysis in support of the necessary procedures to evaluate the compliance with the REACH regulation to consultations on lighting engineering in the retail of griffes.

The presentation by Gustavo Adrián Defeo, Ars Tinctoria founder

Gustavo and his team are specialised in chemistry and physics of colour, but they investigate also other aspects: “We have just completed a very interesting project on fatliquoring substances”. The enthusiasm with which Gustavo faces the challenges that are submitted to him, the vision that leads him to investigate different issues in a pioneering way, and his pragmatic approach to problems, really impressed us: “The activity of the laboratory is never an end in itself, but is integrated with the consulting activity - Gustavo reminded us during the visit. For companies, it is not enough to receive the result of an analysis. It is necessary to go one step further and work together to find solutions".

The presentation by Alessio Tubbini, EMEA Key Account Manager at X-Rite
The presentation by Alessio Tubbini, EMEA Key Account Manager at X-Rite

The event that, during the third week of July 2017, saw Ars Tinctoria work alongside the Swiss multinational X-Rite (which has been the owner the Pantone® trademark since 2008) to present advanced technologies dedicated to the fashion sector, falls within this framework.

An “ecosystem” of technologies, labelled X-Rite, able to give objectivity and measurability to the appearance of materials, above all to leather.

new-close-up-of-scanner_mg_3063The TAC 7 scanner, together with a dedicated Pantora® software, creates a digital version of materials that enables to reproduce their behaviour under any environmental and light condition. A sophisticated video shooting process for each material, lightened by polarised and structured lights, is interpreted by the software that encapsulates the information into an AxF (Appearance Exchange Format) file format. This format is already usable in rendering systems employed in the industry, like Keyshot and Maxwell, in order to obtain a virtual prototyping with a qualitative level that is far higher than what we have seen before.


At the Ars Tinctoria’s workshop there was also a high-resolution viewer for the tridimensional visualisation of prototypes with applied materials. I confess that, as I arrived in the room when the demonstration had already started, I had a strong feeling that I was watching a real bag inside the viewer, not an image created by the computer.

Of course, there are some aspects on which the fashion sector, in particular the accessory one, will have to work in order to be able to exploit 100% of what technology is already able to offer. First of all, the culture of 3D footwear and bag design needs to be spread. The tools are already there: one should bear in mind what 3D modelling software like ICAD 3D+ or Shoemaster, as regards shoes, and CLO 3D or Optitex, as regards bags, are able to do. However, the number of companies that organised themselves in order to give life to internal teams dedicated to 3D modelling is still low and, excluding some rare exceptions, the companies that did it belong to the casual and athletic sector.

We believe that the reduction of the time to market, the search for practices to optimise the immobilisation of circulating capital and the omni-channel boosted by the growth of e-commerce, will increasingly push companies towards this direction.

At ARSUTORIA school, we introduced the use of 3D CAD in the footwear course as early as one year ago, and a project for the experimentation with 3D CAD also in the leather goods courses will start very soon.

Corner dedicated to the X-Rite technology

We applaud Gustavo Defeo for bravely choosing to innovate and create culture in the industry, helping companies create paths towards excellence. We wish Ars Tinctoria to continue its exciting growth and we hope for collaborations on innovation themes in order to make our industry increasingly successful.

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