I’ve discovered an artist doing some of the most highly detailed, complex CLO (interchangeable with Marvelous Designer) work I’ve seen thus far: Evgeniia Petrova. As far as I can tell, they do nearly all of their process within Marvelous rather than importing basic shapes into a separate program for detailing; as someone who has previously been leaving off stitching lines, embroidery, and other details with the assumption that MD isn’t the correct place to add these in, I’m absolutely tempted to change my workflow. There is one caveat: because it doesn’t appear that they do major retopology or work outside of CLO, they don’t have to be particularly concerned with the hundreds of tiny detail geometry they’ve added as pattern pieces. If I start using some of these methods, I will likely have to drop my usual retopologize-direct-from-MD-patterns strategy and manually retopo my pieces.
They published a series on Youtube of character creation timelapses and they’ve shown off quite a few methods of using the program in ways that I wouldn’t have expected. As I mentioned, all of the stitching, embroidery, and other unique details were done with separate pieces, leading to more realistic simulation than I can ‘fake’ when sculpting in those details myself. At several instances, they increase the ‘shrinkage’ of a fabric piece to something over 100%, creating additional seam wrinkles and pulled fabric that you would see when stitching delicate fabric. They also make extensive use of copy-pasting and mirror-duplicating internal liens and tacks, making applying an effect to a larger section of fabric very trivial.
Most importantly, they opened my eyes to the ease in which quilted and embossed details can be created with duplicated, double-layer stitched pattern pieces. Their model is covered in this method: on the pants details, on the gloves, belt pouches, etc. I have a character in mind for my final major project that will be covered in quilting and decorative stitching, and I was prepared to do much of that work either manually or in the texturing stage. Knowing that I can create such complex shapes direct in Marvelous is going to massively improve the level of detail I can add to my pieces.
Application to HZD Daenerys
There weren’t too many areas on my new piece to apply all of these useful tips for quilting and complex filigree embroidery, although I’m certainly putting this knowledge in my back pocket for future projects. However, it was extremely applicable in creating more detail at the Marvelous stage itself, saving time on detail sculpting afterwards. It’s far faster for me to add seam facings, additional stitching, or garment lining in the actual garment in MD rather than painstakingly carving out seam crevices and wrinkles in ZBrush. For example, making use of the ‘shrinkage’ feature for fabric created interesting wrinkles in my Daenerys vest in a similar way that Evgeniia created details in her character’s leggings.
I had a particularly difficult time with my Laudna sculpt last semester in retopologizing a hundred edges where I had added thickness to single-sided geometry. In knowing that Marvelous creates depth at the edges of seams anyway, I attempted to add a backing layer of fabric (simply replicated, flipped normals, and stitched together at the edges, as one would a lining fabric of a garment) to every piece that would need thickness. This meant all belts and strapping, most of the leather pieces, and anywhere that the edges of the fabric would be visible (apart from the thin chiffon-like fabric of the skirt, where edge thickness isn’t necessary). In doing so, I could then throw away the backing geometry and simply keep the main single-layer piece, folded slightly down on the edges so that the underside isn’t visible. No retopo necessary!
Petrova, E. (2021). Clo3d. Marvelous Designer Stream. #2 Elven Outfit. Available at: https://youtu.be/5GP8t_kycOk [Accessed 2 March 2022].