By now you’ve either read my previous entries on the mystery of mesh and my learning process, (learning process-that makes me snicker), or you’ve inadvertently stumbled on one of my pictures and thought I might actually know what I was doing and could maybe help. Even though I am outright laughing now, I think I can at least point you to the right direction. Take a look at the resource page as well as skimming my few previous entries and if you’re hoping to learn the workflow for making mesh clothing for a virtual world like Second Life this could be a good start.
Here is my current workflow;
Marvelous Designer for creating the basic form (Slope) of the garment with realistic cloth draping.
zBrush or similar 3D program for retopology, the quad topology in MD is rather sloppy.
Blender for rigging to various SL skeletons using Avastar and weighting then exporting as a Dae file.
I am still adding and subtracting various steps as I learn and experimenting and you will too. It truly depends on your end goal and even if someone tells what exactly to do, you will spend an inordinate amount of time tweaking your full workflow. The steps I’ve just listed are the big ones but there are may smaller steps throughout and are determined by your preferences and software. You will get this.
Having said all that, the down side for me is I am a snob when it comes to mesh clothing, I have yet to create a mesh I feel is worthy but this is an issue I need to overcome. I will never be as good as some of the big names in SL but that’s ok however it doesn’t stop me from over analyzing everything I do and stalling from releasing. I need a kick in the ass!
anyway here’s a movie so i can prove i’m doing something…
Hi! Took a bit of a break and came back to it refreshed. Been working on several items for the Tonic Mesh body and Slink. I am getting closer to opening PoshMesh officially but I am taking my time. I have learned so much about mesh clothing creation that my head is full while my workflow has become a bit chaotic and my 3D modeling talents have gotten rusty. I can’t wait though!
Turns out that the workflow designers in Second Life use for creating mesh clothing, as well as other rigged mesh like hair and shoes, is a closely guarded secret. At first, I was frustrated. The more I had learned about working with mesh, the more I realized how very important the right workflow was. Especially for specific use in virtual worlds.
The CG artists that design characters and animations for the game world are very open with their workflows, there are copious tutorials and advice, encouragement and resource sharing. I knew the process I had undertaken would be a long one in regard to learning the modeling programs, so I had immersed myself in this world and was unprepared for the seemingly cold shoulder I felt I was receiving in the SL community. Of course, now I realize the extent of work that goes into the process. The hours and days and weeks it takes to perfect the end mesh to be uploaded. The extreme frustration of learning to rig mesh clothing that is in constant movement on an avatar in world can be discouraging as hell. Weight paint the mesh, bring it in world, test, weight paint to correct, bring in world, test, wei…. ad infinitum. And for beginners like myself, who by the way, is still in this process of learning, it can be a game changer. Or a game ender.
I want to be clear though. There are plenty of tutorials that are aimed at different parts of the process. A few clothes modeling ones, some weighting, and uploading. I am adding links to my resource page for those and will continue to do so as I find them. However, the difference between the many CG tutorials and the few SL Mesh tutorials can be explained by the fact that almost every mesh builder in SL rely on their trade to bring in money. They have worked very hard to establish a brand and a process in which to earn cash to supplement their lives. Some even live on the amount they make and as in any business, their ‘secret recipe’ is proprietary. As it should be.
I am not going to be giving away any secrets here. At least not the secrets of others or those I was taught in confidence through paid training. That would be unfair but I will tell you everything I have learned through my own discovery or from my many hours of watching tutorials that were made freely obtainable. Anyone can do this with that information. It takes longer but to be honest, it’s a lot of work and practice whether you pay to learn or learn on your own. The amount of work spent perfecting a workflow is just as tedious. The difference being that a teacher can keep you on track and answer questions specific to a part of the process you aren’t understanding. I have had a couple of these classes one on one with a mesh creator and her instruction has been invaluable but this was a year after I began. There was no way the classes would have been beneficial to me had I took them in the beginning. I truly had a lot of background to complete and if you are just starting out, you will too.
One of the easiest ways I know, remember that i’m an amatuer, to conceptualize a mesh clothing project is to start in Marvelous Designer. I will say that it is a pricey program but well worth it to me since staring at an empty 3D workspace freaks me out. I mean it’s bad as in writer’s block bad. I learn by rote. Rote, as in, doing something over and over and over again until i get the hang of it. The only thing that ever came naturally to me is Pinterest! I love hoarding links to information! I have some great pins on all this stuff if ya wanna check it out at https://www.pinterest.com/hystvicious/
At any rate, I want you to know that you can use anything to conceptualize on your own. Sewing fascinates me and MD drew me in easily but i’ve also begun learning more about real world sewing as well. It helps even though you don’t actually use sewing patterns when designing mesh, of course. But it has opened up a new world to me.
I also scour fashion pictures for inspiration. Nothing powers my imagination quite as well.
Marvelous Designer is a great part of any workflow but a note of caution: Even if you set the mesh to build in Quads as opposed to Tris, the resulting mesh is messy.
I have learned to use MD sparingly, creating a very basic foundation, then importing the mesh into another program to continue building and adding details then to retopologize. This can be done in several other 3d modeling programs such as Maya, Blender, zBrush, 3ds max, or whichever you are comfortable using. I also recommend watching retopology tutorials to get a better grasp of this. The important thing to understand in all of this is that a nicely Quaded mesh is cleaner and causes less trouble during the uploading and in-world use process. I am by no means an expert so I won’t even try to explain as if I know WTF i’m doing. Ha!
I just can’t emphasize enough on how grateful I am to all of the many YouTubers who take the time to record tutorials. As with Photoshop and Gimp, there is a plethora of tutorials on 3d modeling. Whether you use Blender, Maya, 3ds Max, zBrush, or a combination of those and more in your workflow, there are video tutorials. There is a true love for sharing and helping in the world of modeling and animation. It’s a beautiful thing and I will eventually build a more formatted and organized resource page to include as many of these as I can. The knowledge you can gleen in this and other digital art communities is priceless. When my journey to creating mesh clothing for virtual worlds started, the best thing I did was start with the CG Community.
Having said that, I had no freaken’ clue where to start. As far as I knew, it all could be done in one magical program like Blender. My plan was…
Conceptualize and design a Line of HIGH Fashion.
Model it all in Blender.
Texture it in Photoshop.
Upload it to Second Life.
Make Lotsa Lindens.
Seemed straightforward to me. I mean the interface in Blender was daunting and I knew it would take a bit to get comfortable there but I had so many resources. Right?
I can’t help but laugh as I write this. I mean sure, there is a lot of tutorials out there. Mostly for character modeling but if you look closely, you can find tutorials specifically for mesh clothing creation for Second Life. At first I was a little worried that most of those seemed dated but I shrugged that off and dove in.
Who knew I would be learning a whole new language? Rigs? Rigging? Weighting? Skinning? Tris or Quads? And all of those resources I told you about? Well which ones apply to what I wanted to do? If I do a tutorial that is a few years old, is it still germane to the SL mesh of today?
At this point I realized I needed a lot more information on the specifics of SL mesh. What does my end mesh product need to be in order to be considered good and efficient mesh for the SL environment? I decided to further my research. It was time to hunt down the websites of established mesh fashion creators in SL and hope they spoke about workflows…
Five years ago I happened upon the virtual reality world of Second Life. I had never experienced anything like it and although the social aspect of SL was awesome, I even met my fiance there, I eventually became interested in the creation aspect.
There was an incredible amount of building and creation going on. Homes, clothing, decor, animations, art, textures, and on and on and I was hooked. I started using the in-game system of building structures using the building block Second Life called prims. The creation and manipulation of these prim reminded me, and is very similar to, using a 3D modeling program like 3Ds Max or Maya. I had briefly played with a friend’s copy of 3Ds Max and although i was fascinated by it, it was beyond me at that time.
Second Life was not mesh enabled at this time, and I wouldn’t have known what is was anyway, so I dove in to creating buildings in-world then eventually designing clothing. I had no clue what I was getting into. No clue at all!
Luckily Youtube has a ton of tutorials on system clothing creation as well as tutorials on Photoshop and Gimp, which you need to design the clothing. Then I learned how to use mesh templates, (mesh created by other designers), in which you customize with your own textures in Photoshop or Gimp. But even though I opened my own store in-world I wasn’t satisfied. I could create my own ‘look’ using textures and mixing and matching items and accessories and I had fun with that but it was frustrating as well. After all, I was limited by what mesh I could find and afford on the SL Marketplace and no matter how good the mesh clothing templates were, they weren’t mine. I would have an idea in my head of an outfit, a style and fit, but I could never find a mesh template that came close enough. I wanted to design mesh. I wanted to realize my own style.
So back to Youtube I went…. I had no idea the challenges that would face me on my journey to creating mesh clothing or how much of an investment in time and money I was in for. I also didn’t know how much my goals would expand the longer my exposure to the world of 3D modeling .