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X-Rite Launches First Immersive 3D Visualization Environment for Evaluating Material Appearance

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., March 14, 2017 – Today at the Autodesk Automotive Innovation Forum in Munich, Germany, X-Rite Incorporated, a global leader in color science and technology, and its subsidiary Pantone LLC, announced the industry’s first immersive Virtual Light Booth (VLB). The VLB allows designers, material suppliers and marketers to accurately and efficiently visualize and compare 3D digital material renderings side-by-side with physical samples in an environment that controls all parameters influencing the perception of appearance. Part of the company’s Total Appearance Capture (TAC™) ecosystem, the VLB ensures a new level of consistency between digital prototypes and final physical products. This helps companies reduce approval cycles and accelerate time to market.  

As companies transition to digital manufacturing processes, there is a growing need for physically precise virtual designs that represent the true appearance of the final product. To date, CAD and rendering software solutions have been limited in their ability to visualize physical appearance characteristics such as texture, gloss, transparency and opacity. The TAC ecosystem and VLB make it possible to capture and verify the true appearance of a material in a digital environment.

“We have incorporated more than sixty years of color and appearance science into our state-of-the-art Virtual Light Booth to provide an immersive and interactive experience that allows users to accurately evaluate material appearance in both a physical and virtual world,” says Dr. Francis Lamy, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, X-Rite. “For the first time, VLB allows product teams to compare digital and physical materials under the exact same perceptual conditions – from illumination to contextual to observational factors. With the VLB, design teams can easily vary these conditions to see changes in material performance. As a result, designers can make more informed material selections and reduce approval times and improve product quality.”

Turnkey Solution for Comparing Digital and Physical Material Samples

The Virtual Light Booth combines the X-Rite’s SpectraLight QC professional light booth technology with a high-resolution, color-calibrated LCD display and a real-time color management engine. A digital material rendering or product simulation is shown on the VLB’s display next to the physical sample. This enables users to view both the virtual and physical samples under controlled daylight conditions in a standardized visual observation environment. VLB offers users the flexibility of viewing samples under diffuse or spot light sources.

Combining embedded motion tracking sensors, spectrophotometers and colorimeters along with the synchronization of real-time rendering technology, the VLB delivers a 3D virtual experience that mimics real-life by adjusting the virtual representation as a person’s viewing angle changes. This is especially important when evaluating materials that use special-effect pigments, whose color and appearance change based on the viewing angle.

“We have taken the complex process of virtual evaluation and developed a turnkey solution that can be used across any design-to-production workflow. Customers do not need to worry about color calibration, lighting or viewing angles. We have incorporated all of this into the new VLB so that customers can quickly and accurately evaluate virtual and physical materials,” says Lamy.

The TAC Ecosystem

The VLB is part of the TAC ecosystem, an award-winning appearance solution that accurately and efficiently captures, communicates and visualizes complex physical materials, including special-effect pigments and synthetic fabrics. TAC brings product designs to life with digital material representations that have the same visual appearance characteristics as their physical counterparts. Using the TAC ecosystem, product designers, 3D artists, material specifiers and marketers can scan in physical material samples and create vendor-neutral Appearance Exchange Format (AxF™) files to digitally communicate and share consistent appearance-related data with Product Lifecycle Management (PLM), Computer-Aided Design (CAD), and state-of-the art rendering applications. This enables a new level of realism and efficiency in digital material capture and 3D design. 

For more information regarding the TAC ecosystem and the Virtual Light Booth, please visit us at

About X-Rite

Founded in 1958, X-Rite Incorporated is a global leader in the science and technology of color and appearance.  With its wholly owned subsidiary Pantone, X-Rite employs more than 800 people in 11 countries. The company’s corporate headquarters are located in Grand Rapids, Mich., with regional headquarters in Europe and Asia and service centers across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and the Americas.  X-Rite Pantone offers a full range of solutions used by manufacturers, retailers, printers, photographers and graphic design houses to achieve precise management and communication of color throughout their processes. X-Rite Pantone products and services are recognized standards in the printing, packaging, photography, graphic design, video, automotive, paints, plastics, textiles and medical industries. For further information, please visit For the latest news, information and conversations, connect with X-Rite on LinkedIn, Vimeo, Twitter, and Facebook.

About Pantone

Pantone LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of X-Rite, Incorporated, has been the world’s color authority for nearly 50 years, providing design professionals with products and services for the colorful exploration and expression of creativity. Always a source for color inspiration, Pantone also offers paint and designer-inspired products and services for consumers. More information is available at For the latest news, trends, information and conversations, connect with Pantone on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.


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©2017 X-Rite, Inc. All rights reserved. X-Rite, TAC, AxF and PANTORA are registered trademarks of X-Rite, Inc. PANTONE® and other Pantone trademarks are the property of Pantone LLC. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.  


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