Representing and visualizing ethnic fabric patterns in the Philippines

Date of Publication


Document Type

Bachelor's Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

Subject Categories

Computer Sciences


College of Computer Studies


Computer Science

Thesis Adviser

Florante Salvador

Defense Panel Member

Alexis Pantola
Conrado Ruiz, Jr.


Our research is concerned with the modeling of planar patterns found in fabrics (such as garments) that are traditionally woven by different ethnic groups in the Philippines. Modeling, in our case, involves the identification and implementation of methods for computer based representation and display of fabric patterns.

Ethnic fabrics are usually made up of repetitive patterns that vary from one ethnic group to another. We manually analyzed a total of 38 from 11 ethnic groups. The significant characteristics of a fabric are its (a) motif and (b) motif repetition pattern. The motif is the basic unit of information which when tiled across a plane following the repetition pattern results into the image depicted by the fabric. The pattern on the other represents a rule on how the motif is tiled. In our research, we classified fabrics using both the (a) Frieze pattern symmetry group and (b) the wallpaper symmetry group.

Thereafter, we encoded the motif information as a set of matrices following a digital weaving representation approach introduced by Glassner. The four matrices are the: weft,warp, tie-up and motif matrix. The weft matrix represents the horizontal threads, and the warp matrix represents the vertical threads in the motif. The tie-up matrix on the other hand determines the interviewing of the weft and warp threads. The motif matrix is computed based on the three other matrices.

We wrote prototype programs that allow the user to encode the motif, generate the fabric, store the fabric information as a text file following the WIF file format, and visualize the digital fabric in 3D. For comparison purposes, we include several pictures of actual fabrics placed side by side with their digital fabric counterparts.

The output of our research may contribute in the digital archiving of the Philippine cultural artifacts. On a socio-cultural aspect, the data and results obtained in our study may be of help in observing and assessing the level of creativity of the ethnic group based on the complexity of the patterns that they produce.

Abstract Format






Accession Number


Shelf Location

Archives, The Learning Commons, 12F, Henry Sy Sr. Hall

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