My Do's and Don'ts

Of Marvelous Designer in production

During the production of McVities 'Sweeter Together' ad campain, we had to make at Nexus Studios clothing for an entire cast of 13 characters, all having their own morphology, height, style, and clothing challenges. We used Marvelous Designer 7, and then simmed the clothing in Carbon Cloth, a plugin for Houdini. Having pipelined and made all of the characters garments, I have learn a lot of new shortcuts, behaviors, and issues during their creation.

MD is a software that can, and will evolve, I will try in the future to edit this article and bring more to the subject, but the following tips apply to Marvelous Designer 7, and the previous versions.

> Regular and _Unseamed file:

If you export from Marvelous checking the Weld checkbox, it will weld every seam vertex, even if it means having multiple un-connected faces vertices weld. In our pipeline, we used Carbon Cloth to simulate our clothing, and the technique used was to weld buttons based on distancem, as the vertices were overlapping, had the exact coordinates, but were not weld.

Every file needed to be prepared before being imported in Carbon Cloth. It was better to do a _unseamed file, in case you would need to remove shirts placket seams, buttons seams, and it’s better than doing it every time starting from the good file, or overwriting it, in case of retakes.

> Linked Editing:

There is a ton of way to mirror, link and parent edits in Marvelous, and it's best to keep them as long as possible. A typical example encountered would be shirts pockets. But even at the lowest seam strength, Marvelous will always wrap the mesh around it. For pockets, buttons and asymmetric edits, it's better to remove everything in an other file, a simple copy of your main one.

> Buttons:

So far, the best method was to keep it to Internal Ellipses, and weld them during pre-sim. Techniques with rhombus holes or I shapes are extremely messy, and don't do anything great outside of Marvelous. Then, in the _unseamed file, removing the sewing before export, so Marvelous won’t weld it/them.

[Buttons] Don’t use the Marvelous ones for final pieces, they have UVs, but the topology is really confusing and terrible on the backside. I’ve made new, corrected, UVed ones based on MD designs for McVities.

> Particle Distance:

We mainly have used a PD of 7mm, or 8mm on most wrinkly clothes. The harder, the bigger PD. The softer/shrinkier cloth, the lower the particle distance could go. Beware that different merged clothing patterns with different PD can cause issues in Carbon Cloth, though.

> Internal lines and topology:

Internal lines will affect topology, no matter how the strength is set up. It won’t cut and weld the polys like seams, but still take the shape of the Internal Line.

> UV Layout:

We did one piece of cloth by UV tile. For Houdini imports, texturing, and cleanliness, it seemed to be the better way.

Don’t overlap them, or put them too close to the borders -Substance Painter doesn't like it very much-, but fill as much the tiles as you can.


> Hidden cloth should get the simplest topology:

Don’t every rigger who skin a proxy will want a easier topology?

If somes parts are ‘the parts you don’t see’, go with the simpler, flatter topologies and the big buckling ratio-wreft/wrap.

> It’s weird, I have many lines on my cloth?

Your avatar is way to low, what you see, are just the edges of your own model. Try to import an high rez version of it, it should fix the issue. Worst, it will keep the lines in the exported mesh if you’re not careful enough.

> Do . Not . Pin:

If you can, just don’t... don’t. Tack, it doesn’t affect topology, doesn’t make weird triangles and bumps when you go down/up the particle distance, and furthermore, when someone edit your model, it doesn’t make the edits hard/almost impossible to do without unpinning you carefully put pins.

Pin is an old, outdated technique which should just be used for mannequins, not lookdev/characters or anything supposed to move. Marvelous Designer 7 introduced pinning lines, and should be what you use instead.