Create realistic clothing with updated 3D design tool

With Marvelous Designer 4's new functions, you can bring fashion design skills to your 3D character work.

TODO alt text

Initially promised back in 2011, some users will be happy to know Marvelous Designer 4 finally ships with a Quadrangulate function, which will make rigging in ready-to-render software less of a hassle. However, the new version's strengths lie elsewhere.

The latest release has user enhancements and speed of workflow as its primary targets, and it shows. Marvelous Designer (MD) 4 has few new wow features.

Instead, the developer has focused on keeping their promises, with the addition of the Quadrangulate function, and workflow enhancements, such as a Symmetry and Symmetry Merge-functions, giving users an alternative to the onerous 'design half, unfold, copy and mirror paste' routine in the creation process.

Hobbyists can use The Hobbit's clothing software

The new Quadrangulate isn’t quite up to zBrush’s zRemesher standard yet, but Poser and DAZ Studio users will be happy nonetheless, as it was a long-standing request

Several other tweaks have been implemented as well, such as the 1:N Segment Sewing options, which mean you now can now sew multiple segments onto one, in one go.

This removes the need to first split lines in multiple parts before you can attach several segments to it. Hold down [Shift] while you Segment Sew, and it will divide the sewing lines by itself, should you not want to utilise the new Free 1: N-sewing option instead.

Hobbyists can use The Hobbit's clothing software

Weta Workshop used Marvelous Designer to dress Frodo and co.

Several other tweaks and features have been implemented for easing the digital garment creation workflow: Basting and Tacking enables you to test fits before you finalise them, while Layer Clone clones entire layers of garment patterns, making padded garment creation a snap.

Hobbyists can use The Hobbit's clothing software

One-to-Many sewing tool eases the workflow on items like waistbands, cuffs and necks

Multiple Selection has now made it easier to create rolled up sleeves and trousers by allowing poly or tri-selection across garment pieces, reducing the steps needed to create these.

Add to that a slew of other tools such as Normal Flipping and Pattern Scaling, MD4 has significantly, and wisely, solidified and enhanced existing functionality, rather than implementing too many entirely new features.

There are some downsides: the new FBX import-function doesn’t work on some imports so, you’re still better off importing and posing MD3-style. Also the current quad-topology is uneven at best.

Bar this, MD4 is a solid release; and its biggest issue may not be technical at all. With a full Adobe Creative Cloud subscription costing about £29, current MD4 licensing fees seem a bit out.

Commercial licenses start at about £2,500, in effect excluding small studios and all but the dirtiest of rich freelancers; even current Autodesk licensing options for Max or Maya are cheaper, and MD4 offers a fraction of their functionality.

Words: Cirstyn Bech-Yagher

Cirstyn Bech-Yagher is a freelance CG artist and educator with over a decade's experience in 3D. Her clients have ranged from AMD to DAZ 3D and Future plc. This article originally appeared in 3D World issue 189.