It seems CLO3D, maker of Marvelous Designer (opens in new tab), is starting to listen to user feedback on price, as this latest version of its 3D tool, Marvelous Designer 7, is considerably cheaper. The $50 monthly fee is still a bit steep, but it's cheaper than it was. The prices on perpetual or annual licenses have also come down considerably, to $490 and $300 respectively – choose the option that suits you best from the Marvelous Designer store, here (opens in new tab).
It seems the last few years' increase in users and funding has also brought with it the time and money to develop some new features. One is the new, somewhat misnamed Flatten tool, as flatten is just a part of what it does. It lets you draw a spline onto your model, kind of like retopo work.
Once you've blocked in the shape of a garment on your model, you add it into the 2D Pattern Editor for further work. Needless to say, this takes a lot of the hassle out of a measure-tweak-simulate workflow. In addition, you can generate splines based on your model's grouping. This is super handy for more finicky garment generation, like gloves.
It's not without flaws though, the most irritating being that it seems to work best with flat-chested figures. Try it with a female figure from MakeHuman or DAZ, and the spline tends to get lost in the curvier areas of the figure. It can be a hassle to find it again to continue drawing, especially when your UI is set to Max controls. Some tweaks and polish in the future will probably take care of that, but right now, it was simply annoying.
The other standout is the fact that kitbashing is now also a feature for digital garments. It works exactly like it does in 3ds Max, Maya or any other 3D application: You have blocks of items, like collars, tops and sleeves, which you pick, tweak and assemble on your figure, and voilá – new garment.
It's easy to use, too. You add components ranging from buckles, to garments to stitches, add them to a template shape, and save the garment into your library. In effect, this means no more mucking about with loading entire garments or project files to use part of a garment in another – now you can just generate and grab what you need from the library, and adjust it to the avatar you're using.
In addition to many little UI tweaks, Marvelous Designer 7 has other touches to make garment creation easier. You can finally add darts to outside edges, making it so much easier to make superfluous cloth wrap and drape correctly.
You can now offset internal lines along curves – something anyone who's created gambesons or other line-intensive garments should be very happy about, as it means an end to the 'create line, copy, paste, tweak, copy both, paste, tweak' and so on in the workflow. You now use a UI to define lines and offsets, again, saving time.
In addition, Marvelous Designer 7 sports its first real attempt at automation in this release, by providing a basic Python interface and command set.
All this new functionality comes at a price, of course. Our biggest grievance was a slowdown in UI responsiveness on a 64GB system with a 4GhZ GPU and two 1080s on a 4K LED screen – the screen actually went black during refreshes, no matter how much we tweaked my drivers or screen settings.
While the new stitching functionality is pretty good, this could have been solved less geometry-heavy by handling it via Normals. In addition, it still has some lacking export tools, meaning the Marvelous Designer to ZBrush workflow is in this release too. These are trifles compared to the current functionality, though.
Having reviewed and used Marvelous Designer since version 2, this is our absolute favourite release thus far, and if you haven't jumped on board the Marvelous train yet, this is the point where you should.
This article was originally published in issue 228 of 3D World, the world's best-selling magazine for CG artists – packed with expert tutorials, inspiration and reviews. Buy issue 228 here (opens in new tab) or subscribe to 3D World here (opens in new tab).
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