New X-Rite AxF file to become a ‘Pantone chart’ for all material visualisation data

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Colour science experts X-Rite and its more well known subsidiary Pantone have announced the release of the Appearance Exchange Format (AxF), a new file for the full communication of material visual appearance.

A vendor-neutral format, AxF claims to provide a standard way to store and share all relevant appearance data – colour, texture, gloss, refraction, translucency, special effects (sparkles) and reflection properties – across PLM, CAD, and state-of-the art rendering applications within in a single, editable file in order to improve the virtualisation process.

The file supports all materials, from special-effects paints, leather, plastics, fabrics, wood, and brushed metals.
The new file format is the foundational component of X-Rite’s recently announced Total Appearance Capture (TAC) ecosystem, an appearance measurement solution that brings a new level of accuracy and efficiency to the capture, communication and digital presentation of physical materials in the virtual world.

A number of PLM and CAD system providers are building integrations with X-Rite’s AxF to leverage TAC’s capabilities, including Autodesk VRED Professional 2017, Luxion KeyShot and the NVIDIA Iray.

X-Rite states that AxF is able to compress raw data from terabytes to megabytes providing third party software applications with efficient access to a full set of material appearance characteristics without compromising performance, and not restricted to a specific device or measurement geometry, spanning single spectrum to full BSSRDF.

“For a growing number of brands in industries ranging from automotive to fashion and home goods, apparel, and media and entertainment, product appearance is a crucial element of the buying decision,” said Dr. Francis Lamy, executive vice president and chief technology officer, X-Rite Pantone. “Appearance must, therefore, be an integral part of the design-to-production process and not just an afterthought. AxF makes this possible.”

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“We’re seeing broad industry support for AxF and working directly with hardware and software vendors and members of the research community on new integrations and enhancements,” adds Lamy.