Designing a cyberpunk shaman: fashion design


Marvelous Designer is a bit different at first, to any other software. It’s genesis was for the fashion industry, but some concept artists and designers took it over as a tool for character design. The way it simulates folds is just too good to pass on, and it would have otherwise taken me a very long time to do the same in ZBrush. As always, I have my reference board open on a second monitor and I constantly nudge and push the garments here and there to make sure they both match my reference and my line sketch.

marvelous designer character clothes

In this step, we'll try to get to a result close to the sketch but also our reference

Base shapes setup

Remember to always have your reference handy, preferably on a second monitor, so you can always glance between them for accuracy in your clothing designs. In this 2D view of the clothes we have, you'll see I mostly use the rectangle tool to get all the shapes of clothing, as if they had been ironed out by a real iron, or sewn together by a real tailor.

retail clothing 3d effects

Try to mirror the rectangle shapes you make for faster workflow

Sewing the shapes between

Sewing is straightforward with the Segment Sewing tool, you have to catch the matching edge of the two parts of the clothing you want to link, just like in the image example, and just like you would sew in real life. If you don’t digitally sew your edges like this, and later you simulate your clothing, it’ll just fall to the ground as separated, cut off drapery – you want a sewn shirt.

segment sewing tool shirt 3d

Mind how you should link and sew your edges together, it’s pretty straightforward, but you can always test and press simulate to see the results

Basics of garment positions

Once you’re happy with the shapes you’ve drawn, it’s time to start testing your garments and simulate them properly. Generally, if they are sewn/linked well, you’ll see vertical lines across each linked garment. If there are crossed lines, it means you didn’t link them correctly, and should try to invert the sewing direction.

Once they are assigned to sew and link, you should place them in order to have them wrap around the body. As you see in the picture, this will cause the sewing to come together around the body once you simulate the garments, otherwise, they will be falling flat to the floor.

modeling garment poses cg

You can repeat the same process for the pants, hoodie, undershirt, but it’s basically the same process on repeat

Saving processing power & time

Always try to work at a lower resolution in Marvelous Designer; it can be quite taxing for the system if your particle distance is set to less than 20. If you’re just setting up garments and prototyping, iterating and experimenting, a particle distance of 20 is enough, set it to 5 once you’re happy with your simulation and want higher resolution folds.

Saving processing power

Generally your base mesh should be around 100,000 polygons or less, more than that and Marvelous Designer may lag, so remesh a crude version of your humanoid for this so you can work faster.

Working efficiently with patterns

For sanity and organization sake, try to have the outer of your garment one color and the inside of it another color. I always set an arbitrary color to any garment and the interior as red, like the exterior of a hoodie blue, the parts you see, and the interior, which is mostly hidden, as red – this will make sewing and linking much easier.

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