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  • Writer's pictureMikelle Drew

Clo3d vs Browzwear | Which 3d fashion design software should I learn?

Updated: Jun 3, 2023

Which 3d fashion design software should I learn?
Which 3d fashion design software should I learn?

Jump to a video version of this blog.

I’ve had quite a few inquiries lately about 3d fashion design software which I’m happy about because it means people are recognizing that it’s a significant part of the future of fashion design. But there’s always one question that keeps coming up:

Should I learn Browzwear or Clo3d?

I’ve talked about 3d in two of my past YouTube videos, and I’ve been doing more basic tutorials as we’re ramping up to release our online courses and to start tutoring, and as I’ve started to use 3d fashion design software more, I’m starting to see the differences and why you might choose one over the other.

Now, let me first say that I’ve seen some amazing 3d work from designers using both Browzwear and Clo3d which are the two different software options I’m going to be speaking about today, so no matter which option you choose, you’re going to get amazing results. But today, I’m going to talk about a few things to consider about each program that may make your decision easier.

Why Browzwear or Clo3d?

The first thing I want to mention is why I’ve chosen Browzwear and Clo3d. There are other 3d tools you can use: Marvelous Designer, Zbrush, Daz3d. But the two pieces of 3d software that are most prevalent right now in fashion are Browzwear and Clo3d.

Logos for Marvelous Designer, Daz3d and Zbrush.
Other 3d design software available to use.

And a big part of that is the ability to actually incorporate these tools into a fashion design workflow: using the patterns to make physical garments, doing virtual fittings, making a marker. So if you’re planning to learn how to create 3d fashion and use it to make actual garments for a fashion brand, these two are your best options.

So, why CLO?

Though you will find Clo3d in corporate settings, I’ve seen CLO used more by independent designers and brands. And I think one of the reasons designers really like CLO is that it’s great for visualization and friendly to designers who aren't as familiar with making patterns.

One of the tools that I think is a game changer in Clo3d is the 3d pen. And there’s actually 2 ways to use it, but essentially you can draw your design on a garment or on a model in 3d. Then, CLO can generate a pattern for you from that rendering.

Image of an avatar on the screen and the 3d pen tools in Clo3d.
The 3d pen tools in Clo3d

Now, of course, there’s going to be a few changes you’ll need to make to the pattern once it’s generated, and if you’re using the 3d pen on a model, you’ll need to add ease to the pattern, but it’s a great starting point. And quick, particularly if you don’t have pattern blocks to start from.

Another function that I think is new designer-friendly is their Modular Configurator. This is like a plug and play for you to create new designs. And it’s a great way to get a starting pattern for a new design, so it’s a huge time saver.

Short video of how to use the modular configurator in Clo3d on an avatar.
Using the Modular Configurator

I also like that they have that figure in the 2D window which, if you watched the video below, you’ll note that it’s great to give you an idea of proportion and body placement when you’re creating 2D patterns.

The last thing I think is very helpful about Clo3d is how you arrange the patterns on the avatar for 3d dressing. There are blue dots that populate main placement points and make it a little easier to arrange the pattern on the avatar before you simulate and dress it.

Using the arrangement points in Clo3d to dress the avatar.
Using the arrangement points in Clo3d to dress the avatar.

Why NOT Clo3d?

The only con I’ve really had with CLO so far is that there are a LOT of tools, so if you’re new to the program, it can be a little overwhelming to open the program and see them all. I know I felt that way the first time I opened the program.

But I also think about how I felt when I learned Illustrator. Granted it didn’t have nearly as many tools, but there were enough that when I first opened the program, I felt slightly overwhelmed wondering what each one did. And what I decided (and I suggest to all of you to use the same strategy) is to first FOCUS ON THE BASICS and the tools you need to know. And the rest you’ll slowly learn as you start to use the program more or you have new projects and collections.

And you may not know exactly what tool to use, but you’ll know the program better and be better equipped to troubleshoot and figure it out. Or if you need to look for a “how to” you’ll have an easier time finding the answer.

If you're interested in learning to use CLO3d, sign up now for my CLO3D for the Fashion Designer: Beginner online course.

So, why Browzwear?

This is not an absolute, but if you are planning to work in a corporate setting, I would very much suggest learning Browzwear. Now again, not an absolute, and I had a quick back and forth with a colleague on LinkedIn about this. I know H&M is using Clo3d, and I believe Urban Outfitters are as well as several other corporate companies. But if I spoke to 10 corporate designers whose companies use 3d fashion design software, probably 7 out of 10 will say their company is using Browzwear.

So what do I like about Browzwear? The first thing I like is the streamlined interface. I mentioned earlier how intimidating opening the CLO interface was, but when I opened Browzwear, I wasn’t nearly as freaked out because there aren't as many visible tools and functions. (Understand this doesn't mean it doesn't have as many functions as Browzwear, they're just more neatly tucked away.)

The Browzwear interface with a pattern and avatar showing in the 2d and 3d windows.
The Browzwear interface is much more streamlined.

The other thing I really like about Browzwear is that the software has templates, and by template I mean full patterns with grade rules, in a cloud library. This is pretty awesome because, like the Modular Configurator in Clo3d, it allows you to have a finished pattern to start from: you already know it fits, all the necessary pattern pieces are there, and all you need to do is add your design lines.

And you can bring Illustrator and .DXF files (which is how patterns are usually saved) into either program, but it’s so convenient to have that existing library to bring in basic styles. Plus, they update this library all the time.

Short video showing how to use Browzwear's cloud library to find a garment to start your new design.
Use Browzwear's cloud library to find a garment to start your new design.

Also, this may seem a little frivolous, and maybe not a big deal since you can always customize and bring in others, but I think the Browzwear avatars are a little better looking than the CLO ones. I might be more biased because I usually go for the browner avatars and the brown skinned avatar in Clo is a little scary, but overall, even for the other skintones, I like Browzwear’s a bit better. All the avatars in both programs could use a little work on the faces to make them a little more realistic, but that’s probably a non-issue since we’re designing clothes, so let’s move on.

Why NOT Browzwear?

It’s really helpful to have some sort of knowledge of pattern making for either program, but you particularly need it for Browzwear. Whereas you can draw on a garment with the 3d pen in Clo3d and have it create your patterns, as of this recording, there is no freehand tool like that in Browzwear.

So if you have no background in patternmaking or even sewing, you may struggle a bit more to use Browzwear. But if you’re a technical designer, a sewer, a pattern maker, or just a very technical fashion designer, you’ll probably really like using Browzwear.

There’s also no figure in the 2d window, so you really have to rely on making sure your pattern measurements are correct before you arrange and simulate the garment on your avatar. That’s not a bad thing because the pattern should fit the avatar, of course, but if you’re using the program for visualization, you need a quick way to get your design out and draped onto your avatar and making sure you have a pristinely measured pattern is not the most efficient use of your time.

Lastly, arranging is a little trickier in Browzwear than in Clo3d. There’s a guide that helps you figure out a starting point for arranging your garment on your avatar, but I find it to be a little more challenging than CLO. Challenging, but not impossible.

Short video showing the 2d and 3d windows in the arrange mode in Browzwear.
Arranging the pattern pieces to dress the avatar can be a little more challenging in Browzwear.

In an ideal world, you would learn to use both programs because I think they are both valid, solid, 3d fashion design software programs, and I think each has their strong points and are great for different things. But if you’re choosing 1 to move forward with, I hope my overall assessment has been helpful in deciding which is the better option for you and your brand.

Whichever you choose, now is a really great time to start at least begin learning the basics. Yes, the technology is still evolving but there’s so many uses emerging and so many reasons already for you to use 3d fashion design software. And I’ve spoken repeatedly in past videos about how, as a small and newer brand, it can really help you work more efficiently, more sustainably and save money. So, just pick a software, and get going on learning it.

If you're ready to start your journey into 3d fashion design software, sign up now for my CLO3D for the Fashion Designer: Beginner online course.


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