Simon Edwards shares his basic principles for populating a large historic scene
Use Marvelous Designer to add humans to images
asignificant amount of the time taken in building this scene was inventing various scenarios and mini dramas for the people in the image. After sketching ideas over rough printouts, I could begin building individual characters.
The scene includes more than 160 individuals who, between them, share 140 different poses and five costume designs with additional variations in the choice of fabric patterns.
Marvelous Designer (MD) comes ready-loaded with a small library of basic characters that can easily be manipulated within MD (rather than importing avatars from 3ds Max, as I have done). However, I found the structure of those supplied by MD too muscular and not altogether correctly proportioned, hence why I also use 3ds Max. Before starting, I chose to export the T-posed avatar provided by MD and edit it in 3ds Max into a more natural form. By doing this you lose the ability to pose the form natively in MD, so I made a second copy ready-posed in 3ds Max to use, after it was dressed, as a morph target.
Any ‘avatar’ exported as an obj will work. In order to pose your character clothed you need to save a copy of the original T-posed character and the final posed character (bearing in mind, that while editing the posed form must retain the original vertex count of the T-posed character for them to morph correctly).
01 rig the Avatar in 3DS MAX
Open the T-posed model, make sure the feet are standing at 0,0,0 and export a copy of the model as ’T.obj’. As this example pose will be seated, create a simple box to represent a bench for it to sit on. Drag a default Biped over the model, rotate and adjust the bones so they fit over the T form. Bind the bones to the mesh by adding a Skin modifier. Click on the Add button within the modifier list and select all the bones.
Hide the mesh and manipulate the bones into a pose using the move and rotate tools.
02 Fix Any MESH Deformations
Any large holes or lumps that have appeared after un-hiding the model can be corrected by selecting the mesh, clicking on Edit Envelopes under the skin modifier, and manipulating the control points with the Move tool. You can further edit and tweak the mesh using Mesh Edit with soft selection if necessary, but do not optimise or add any polygons while doing so because you must retain the original vertex count.
This doesn’t need to be perfect as the body will, after all, eventually be hidden by clothes.
03 SAVE out A copy
Once happy with the posed mesh, export it as ‘pose.obj’ and then separately, the box that it is sitting on as ‘bench .obj’. Before leaving 3ds Max, make a snapshot mesh of the posed model (this is found under Tools in the top menu) and save out this new selected mesh as ‘pose.max’.
Now you have a clean 3ds Max model of the posed avatar saved along with the skin textures, without any modifiers or bones attached.
04 Build the DRESS
Open Marvelous-designer and go to File> import> obj and choose the T.obj file you exported in step 1. In the Import dialog, select Open and then Load as Avatar. Only ‘Avatar’ objects will interact with cloth simulation in MD. The avatar will appear but without the skin textures seen in 3ds Max. Drag one large rectangle (which will be the dress) over the legs in the 2D screen and one smaller one at waist level (which will be the dress belt).
05 Draw Fold lines
Create fold lines on the rectangles by selecting the Internal Polygon/line button and clicking (in the 2D screen) first on one edge of the rectangle and then twice on the far edge to finish the line. Create two folds on each rectangle in order to wrap the flat sheets around the avatar as a three-sided box. Select each rectangle individually in the 3D screen and manipulate them so they’re up close, and in position with the avatar.
06 Fold the DRESS
Select one of the fold lines in the 2D view and then the Fold Arrangement button found in the tools above the 3D screen. Click on the fold line in the 3D screen and a disc will appear with green and red arrows. Select one of the arrows,
click, hold and drag on this and that portion of the rectangle into which the arrow points will rotate (fold) around the fold line. Repeat this with all the fold lines until you have bent the rectangles into three-sided boxes. Then move each one of these so they roughly surround the avatar’s legs and waist.
07 SEW the DRESS
The edges of the three-sided cubes we have now made need to be sewn together to complete the dress form. Select the Segment Sew button in the tools above the 2D screen and then within the 2D screen, select the bottom edge of the small rectangle (belt) and then the top edge of the large rectangle (dress). When you do this, you can see in the 3D screen that fibres have been stretched between the two plains to represent stitching. Do the same with the two far edges of the dress and also the two far edges of the belt.
08 Edit the Sewing
Look in the 3D screen to check where the threads have been stretched between panels. If any are attached to the wrong panel, then select the Edit Sewing button above the 2D screen, select the sewing line in the 2D screen, delete it and then do it again.
09 Simulate AND Adjust
Press the Simulate button (or use the space bar) and the dress will flop around the avatar. While the Simulate button is activated, you will be able to grab the fabric in the 3D view and pull it up and around in a real-time environment. If you have made the belt too loose, it may start sliding down the figure, so grab it and drag it up again before quickly hitting the Simulate button to stop the movement. Go back into the 2D screen and make the belt shorter, if needed, lengthen or shorten the dress and then finally delete the fold lines. Re-simulate.
10 create A Bustle
In order to make the dress wider at the top and give the impression of a bustle, select the Internal Rectangle button, found in tools above the 2D view, and draw a rectangle inside the ‘dress’ rectangle along the top edge. Edit that rectangle so it extends over the top and sides of the dress shape. With the Internal Rectangle selected, go into the Property Editor and under Bond/skive, tick the box Bond. This will effectively stiffen the area of dress covered by the small rectangle. Stiffness parameters can be adjusted under
the Detail drop-down list just below. View the result in the 3D view with Simulate on.
11 jacket rectangle
In 2D view, start by moving the two dress rectangles down and out of the way, then create a new rectangle over one side of the chest and abdomen. Move the vertices around and edit the shape with the various vertex tools nestled above the 2D screen to tailor a pattern for one of the two front panels of the new jacket.
12 USE Symmetry
Once you are satisfied with the form, right-click on the 2D shape while holding down the Shift button. Then from the dialog box that appears, select Symmetric Pattern and drop a new (symmetrical and instanced) panel beside the first. Make sure the two jacket panels are sitting in the correct position relative to each other and in front of the avatar’s chest on the 3D view.
13 copy AND PASTE
Hold down the Shift button and right-click on either of the two panels in the 2D view and choose Copy. Then with the Shift button still held, right-click elsewhere on the screen and select Paste. Drop a new shape beside the front panels. This will be one of two rear panels, so move and rotate it into place to the back of the avatar in the 3D view and be sure the shape ‘normals’ are pointing in the right direction (lighter faces should be facing outward, while darker faces should face inward).
14 SHAPE to Form
Now manipulate the vertices on the back panel to re-shape into the required form. The web can be useful as a reference point here by searching for tailor patterns, or by looking in your own wardrobe. Hold down Shift and right-click on the new rear panel, select Symmetric Pattern and drop a copy over to the opposite side on the 2D screen. Adjust the positioning of the panels around the avatar.
15 SEW the jacket
Select Segment Sewing from the tools above the 2D screen and go around all the 2D jacket patterns, clicking first on one seam edge and then onto the opposite one to which it is to be sewn up against. To close the jacket at the front, I have made a custom sew line using the Free Sewing button. When using this, click where you want the sewing to start on the first edge, click where it finishes along the same edge, then move the mouse over to the opposite panel that it will be sewn against, click where the sewing starts and then finally where it ends.
16 MAKE the SLEEVES
Drag out a new rectangle, approximately to the length of the sleeve. Edit to make the shoulder end wider than the cuff end, resulting in a trapezium shape (I want to have more fabric around the shoulder in order to make the sleeve look ‘puffed out’).
Draw two fold lines from shoulder to cuff with the Internal Polygon/line tool. Move the trapezium along the length of the arm in the 3D screen and then using the Fold Arrangement tool, fold the form around the arm as is described in step 5. Sew the two edges along the length using the Segment Sewing tool.
17 More Symmetry
With the Transform Pattern button selected, hold down the Shift key and right-click on the sleeve in the 2D screen. Select Symmetric Pattern and then drop a copy of the sleeve over to the opposite side of the layout in the 2D view. You should see the sleeve appear, correctly positioned, around the opposite arm of the avatar in the 3D screen.
18 Sewing the SEAMS
The wide edge of the trapezium needs to be sewn to both the front and rear panels of the jacket as the seam circles around the arm. Using the Free Sewing tool, start at the top, wide end of the trapezium and finish approximately half-way down. Then move over to the front panel, start again at the top of the arm opening and finish at the bottom. Next, go back to the trapezium and start again, but this time from the finish point of the previous sew line (approximately half-way down) and finish down at the bottom. Then move over to the relevant rear panel, this time start at the bottom of the arm opening and finish at the top.
Press the Simulate button and watch the jacket form itself around the avatar.
While using Free Sewing, it is easy to set the start and finish points on opposing panels in the wrong places, resulting in the sewing becoming twisted. In the example illustrated here, I have purposefully positioned the sleeve start and finish points wrongly and the sleeves have twisted themselves into a knot. To correct this, select Edit Sewing, right-click (with Ctrl held down) over the troublesome sewing line in the 2D view and select Reverse Sewing. Press space bar again to start simulation and the sleeves will correct themselves.
20 MAKE ADJUSTMENTS to the jacket
Now delete the fold lines from the sleeves. Keep the Simulate button active while carefully moving vertices and adjusting curved edges in the 2D view. You will instantly see the result moving in real time in the adjacent 3D view. You can further move over to the 3D screen and pull edges of the clothing to adjust how it hangs on the avatar. Continue tweaking like this until you are satisfied with the result.
21 puff out the Shoulders
Just as the sleeves of the dress was ‘puffed out’ in step 16, the shoulders can also be given some stiffness to make them look more puffed out. Go through the same steps as outlined in step 16 but this time draw the rectangle over the wide end of the trapezium-shaped sleeve. Working on just one sleeve will affect both, as they are instanced. Once again, with the Simulate button active and while watching the result in the 3D screen, adjust stiffness settings in the Detail drop-down list after an internal rectangle has been ‘bonded’ over the sleeve.
22 Assign properties to the FABRICS
To the right of the screen under Object Browser and with the Fabric tab selected (default setting), click on Add to add a new fabric. Go to the Property Editor below and rename to ‘dress’. Under Material, click onto the icon with four dots set in a square shape to open
a browser, where you can search for image files to apply a pattern. Further down the list, under Physical Property, choose a preset to suit the fabric characteristics of your clothing item, such as cotton, and adjust the thickness if necessary.
23 SCALE pattern
Select the dress in the 2D screen and under Property Editor, choose the fabric created in step 22 from the drop-down list beside Fabric. From the tools above, click on the icon that looks like a roll of carpet, Edit Texture, and a UCS will appear in the top-right corner. Zoom in closer to the dress shape and make sure it is selected (when selected the UCS will turn orange). As you hover over the UCS, the control arms will light up in yellow. Click, hold and drag over the 45-degree line in the UCS to scale your pattern larger or smaller.
24 import the Bench AND pose
From the File menu, choose Import> obj and then search for the ‘bench.obj’ file that was exported from 3ds Max in step 3. Choose Add from the Load Type options and then Load as Avatar (only ‘Avatar’ objects will interact with cloth simulation in MD). The bench will appear in position. Repeat this procedure, but this time search for the ‘pose.obj’ file (also exported in step 3). This time choose Open and Load as Morph Target. The avatar will morph into the new pose on the bench and the clothes will follow.
25 Export clothes
You can pull the fabrics around in the 3D view while simulate is active to adjust their position. Press spacebar to stop simulation once all the fabrics are hanging as you want. From the File menu, choose Export and give a name to the file such as ‘clothes’. From the dialog box, un-tick Select all Avatars, tick Select all Graphics, tick Single Object, tick Thick, Save with Texture Files and Diffuse Color Combined on Texture. Check the Select All Avatars option has remained un-ticked (after clicking on Thick this can switch back to default) and export.
26 import into 3DS MAX
MD has created a zip file in the export process. Extract all the files from this and open the 3ds Max file ‘pose.max’ created in step 3. Import ‘clothes.obj’ into the 3ds Max file and the clothes will appear in place on our avatar. The material fabric scale has likely imported at a large scale. Open the Material Editor and select the Multi/sub Object material that has imported with the obj clothes. Choose the material in the list and select the image map in the diffuse slot. Adjust the tiling size under Coordinates by multiplying by 10 in both the U& V slots.