Hi Elliott, This is a great breakdown and very generous in sharing your process and insights, you came a long way from the vending machine days!
Are you planning on releasing the UE4 project to the public? Or only builds? I'd love to play around with it in the editor if possible!
Marcel Schaika talked a little about his experience with Marvelous Designer and explained how you can use it in your work.
My name is Marcel Schaika, and I’ve been an artist in the video game industry since 2006. Over the course of my career, I had the immense pleasure of working on the entire Crysis franchise. Currently, I live in Frankfurt, Germany working at Crytek on a new title called Hunt. Feel free to check out some of my previous work to better grasp my artistic past!
Using Marvelous Designer
I had seen character artists using it in production, and I always believed Marvelous Designer was a very interesting piece of software. Yet, it never really crossed my mind that I could apply it in a meaningful way to environmental art.
That is until I saw MD on discount one day and thought “why not?”! I bought it right then and there mostly out of curiosity, but I was soon happy to discover that MD is a versatile tool that aids not only character artists but also environmental and prop artists.
Since then, I’ve been blown away by Marvelous Designer—it’s fast, reliable, simple to use, and offers excellent control. And those are just a few of the reasons why I decided to create a tutorial for MD. I want artists to be aware of its capabilities, and I also hoped to provide a smooth and accessible entry point to the software for the environmental art community.
The list of features that MD offers is quite robust. Basically, the software allows one to edit, manipulate, and simulate cloth and clothes. And it performs these functions very well! Everything is based on pieces of garment, which are little 2D cutout pieces. An artist using MD creates those basic shapes in 2D and then attaches them to each other in the 3D viewport.
Marvelous Designer’s biggest strength is its control. One can influence almost anything in this software—from the detailed properties of materials to the behavior of individual seams. Compared to other cloth and clothing simulations I’ve used in the past, MD is by far the fastest and most reliable.
If an artist has to create or work on something that contains some type of cloth or fibre mesh, MD should be able to do the job without a problem!
First and foremost, MD is a cloth creation/simulation software, meaning that this main field of application will always be the average user’s primary focus. However, when one thinks about cloth and fabrics in a much broader sense, one will notice that there are plenty of ways to apply MD to objects outside the field of character clothing.
All sorts of household items: furniture, pillows, blankets, curtains, trash bags, and much more can be created in Marvelous Designer. If one thinks outside the box, one will notice that there are tons of creative ways to make use of its plentiful features. Below are some work-in-progress examples of personal projects I created with MD.
First of all, artists need to break down any object they wish to create into 2D garment shapes. The best analogy for this is UVs as they also are a 2D representation of a 3D object. Put simply, what appears to be a cylindrical object in 3D can easily be represented as a rectangular shape in 2D. This level of abstraction might initially induce headaches for artists, but when artists familiarize themselves over time with the concept of UVs they’ll steadily master this tricky part of the workflow. Ultimately, those 2D garment pieces are then connected to a 3D object.
MD offers plenty of material presets that will affect the behavior of your cloth simulation. The material presets’ purpose is to simulate the physical behavior of the cloth rather than the surface details. Lastly, all physical attributes can be fine tuned within Marvelous Designer.
MD outputs geometry with perfect UVs. One can easily assign tileable surface detail materials to cloth objects, and those materials can come from Substance or Quixel. Alternatively, artists can assign tileable materials to their exported, highpoly cloth geometry and bake it down to a unique texture.
Marvelous Designer can be quite the time saver, especially while you’re sinking hours and hours into 3ds Max and Maya when working on internal cloth simulations. Believe me! I know how cumbersome and slow these tools can be at times! That’s why I’d recommend artists who are curious about MD to pursue their curiosity by downloading a 30 day free trial of the software.
Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to discuss Marvelous Designer and a chance to showcase my introduction tutorial for this stellar software!