3D software for bag design?

Any bag designers out there use a 3D modeling program in their design process? if so, which one? Rhino, SW?

What benefits to you see it having over doing all hand/vector drawings?

Thanks in advance.

1 Like

I haven’t heard of anyone using 3d for bags at all unless they were designing the various plastic/metal components (wheels, zipper pulls, handles, etc…). What would be the point of modeling a fabric based object that won’t use any of that geometry for manufacturing? If it’s for pure visualization, I just taught my students skills to render a bag well enough in photoshop to convince anyone of what it would look like in real life and a pro could do it in under an hour. The surfaces are too organic to model easily or convincingly in 3d, it would definitely take more than an hour. The roi just isn’t worth it.
If you’re doing one of those foam molded structural bags, then I could see an opportunity.

I would suggest Rhino 3D with the T-splines plugin. You can do some really fast mockups with TSplines and then do your hardware with the regular nurbs tools in Rhino. SolidWorks is great, I used it everyday at my old job, but there’s almost nothing I can’t do with Rhino + Tsplines + Alibre standard ($99) version. Alibre comes in for the moving wheels, assemblies, difficult filleting, and other stuff that Rhino is not as good at without a plugin. The files between Aibre and Rhino can swap back and forth. For the price it compliments Rhino well.

That said, you can do a lot with Rhino alone, and it’s cheap. There are endless plugins for it but I recommend Tsplines just because it works similar to sculpting. You can easliy modify and change the shape if you need to, and it has a skin feature for easily creating wall thickness after you make your objects. For bags I think this would be very useful.


I’ve used 3D modeling once for softgoods design, and I’ve been designing 90% softgoods for 4+ years.

I used it for a very specific project. It was for a small single strap camera bag with super quick access for the user. I had to create 3D models of common cameras, lenses, and gear that photographers carried (a specific level of photographer that we were marketing toward). The bag had to carry one DSLR camera body, 4 lenses, and a flash. In order to make sure these all fit properly, I played with them like a puzzle for a while in 3D, found a solution that would work, then translated those measurements to a 2D drawing for the factory.

Other than specific projects like this, I can’t think of any need for 3D in the softgoods design world.

Taylor is right about using 2D for softgoods. I should have said, “If your going to use 3D for softgoods, here is what I suggest:” In my work almost all my softgood stuff, which includes footwear is created via 2D hand drawings, Illustrator and Photoshop. There have been times where I’m knee deep in Illustrator thinking to myself, damn, I should have just done this in 3D and rendered it up in Hypershot! The problem you will find is that once you commit to 3D it can end up taking a lot longer to finish than you anticipated. If you get stuck on something in CAD you can lose a lot of time quickly. With 2D you can usually guestimate how long it will take to create a nice rendering, and it’s just generally quicker to do. Your customer is most likely going to see 1-3 views of the product which doesn’t take full advantage of the time you spent to create a 3D file of your product.

I’m sorry to say that none of these answers are helpful as they don’t really answer your question, but instead tell you why you shouldn’t use 3D modeling for bag design, essentially dismissing your question as one that doesn’t deserve a good answer. It should be given a good answer because it is a very good question, despite these lackluster answers.

Your question is very relevant to today especially post pandemic and the rise of virtual reality, augmented reality and digital space, there are a plethora of 3D modeling software for soft wear lol.

First we have
EFI Optitex Virtual Bag Software
which provides a library of fabrics, leathers and other soft materials that behave like they should in terms of draping and so forth.

Second, we have
CLO Virtual Fashion software
which has an impressive archive of templates for you to manipulate and modify to your liking, as well as create patterns and panels from scratch.

Honorable Mentions:
Virtual Event Bags
Romans CAD
Handbag Design Ideas
Bag Maker
XYZ Bags
Adobe Illustrator (3D)

Good list.

Providing a cost for each software would be helpful.

For example, CLO can be low cost whereas a Romans CAD license costs 100k.