Cloth, Module 04

Retopologizing in ZBrush
When it comes to retopologizing, ZBrush may not be the best tool out there, but it will get the job done. As an overview point, if the mesh is symmetrical I usually retopo half of the model in ZBrush, then export and mirror in my poly modeling package (Maya). This work flow makes more sense for me as I need to finalize the mesh in Maya anyway and it gives a more exact mirror than ZBrush. There are quite a few videos and notes on using the retopology tools in ZBrush online. I’ve created an overview video to get you started, but I would also recommend doing a little advanced searching on your own, if you don’t have another retopo software option.


Video: Retopologizing in ZBrush

  • Place a ZSphere on the canvas (ZBrush needs a ZSphere to start the retopo process)
  • Link the mesh you want to retopologize to the Zsphere
  • Click on your mesh to begin drawing your new topology


Video: Cloth for Simulation

  • Straight lines for cloth
  • Penetration with body
  • Penetration with other cloth layers (similar density on each mesh when possible)
  • Density relative to body mesh
  • Avoid stars on edges


Video: Costume Accessories (Plus Notes on a few Extras) for Production Pipelines

  • Straps and accessories
  • Teeth, tongue and gums
  • Eyes, one or two concentric spheres
  • Hair proxy
  • Use cleanup mesh in Maya (or equivalent) to check for potential problems


 Marvelous Designer
This software is gaining popularity at a rapid pace in the CG industry. Originally intended for fashion designers to test the fit and drape of their creations, this software allows you to create quick, believable clothing using real world construction methods. You draw out your patterns, tell them how to be sewn together, then watch them solve over your character in real time. With an extremely fast user ramp up, thanks to a relatively intuitive interface, you can create clothing items quickly, and correctly, to get a more accurate draping for cloth sim, or just a great starting point for your design sculpt.

In production, this tool is quickly growing in popularity, as it can drastically cut down on iterations between modeling and cloth sim. Based on real world costume construction, this approach yields great results and allows artists to quickly see how their cloth will appear after simulation. The costumes can be created the same way a real article of clothing can be cut and tailored, which automatically leads to more believable behavior. If you are working in a pipeline that simulates clothing, from Animated Features, to Video Game Cinematics, I would highly recommend this software.

The image above shows the front left half of a t-shirt layout. Notice the sleeve, when cut properly and flattened into a panel, creates a “bell” shape. When this shape is draped onto the character it will yield a much more believable result due to the fact that it is based on a real-world panel layout. This is just one simple example of how working with the knowledge of real cloth and costume tailoring can greatly improve your end result.


Assignment: Use the techniques outlined in this module to create at least one element, or accessory, of a structured costume. Evaluate the layout and edge-flow of your mesh against the principles described above for rigging and cloth simulation. Utilize the advanced topics covered in all our previous modules to take your character to completion- building upon the foundation of the form development, straights and curves, and the design principles we have discussed.

As a Focused Master Class, I hope the information presented offered you a solid foundation to grow a detailed, and in-depth knowledge base upon, as you continue to forever improve your understanding of costume design and your cloth sculpting abilities!!! Best of luck with your art, and please stay in touch!!




Video: Research and Build Process

  • Fitting the costume
  • Tension and compression sides
  • Secondary folds
  • Defining the overall form silhouette


Image: Zig-Zag Fold Development

Ripdo also had a great question about how to properly develop zig-zag folds that lead me to an explanation I think the entire class might benefit from. When constructing zig-zag folds I often think of them as a series of connecting “X” and “Y” shapes. The “Y”s tend to happen more at the top, then transition to “X”s as the compression increases towards the bottom. By simply connecting these two shapes and making them wrap around the entire form, when it’s a tube, you can quickly, and accurately, develop a believable zig-zag pattern.


Video: Research and Build Process

  • Single mesh surface
  • Even mesh layout
  • Secondary folds
  • Fitting the costume
  • Defining the overall form silhouette


Video: Sculpt-Over, Hoodie Sleeve and Figure Gesture

  • Sweatshirt material
  • Importance of panel cuts
  • Underlying forms
  • The overall volume