Asset Creation

At the moment I am mainly creating assets for the characters on the train, particularly the females as it has proven quite difficult to find ready made models of clothing in the right style for the 1930’s period we’re researching and basing our experience in. I am still using Marvelous Designer to create the majority of the clothes but I am also using Maya, Mudbox and Z-brush to add details or to create smaller articles of clothing such as shoes and hats.

The history of the fashion trends we’re using in our animations are in themselves quite interesting and are highly indicative of the period we’re looking at. I want to make these characters clothes as accurate as possible for the time period in order to show the viewer not just where they are but also when. As the the entirety of the VR takes place in fairly closed off areas such as; the platform, the tube and a trench, I think it becomes very important to use the characters style and design as the biggest indicator of time period and also the mood of the scene the viewer is in. I feel that because the style an designs are so important to the creation of this VR it’s very important that we know the history around them as clearly as possible.

Cloche hats were a particularly popular style during the 1930s, as our animation is set around that time I thought it best to use this style of hat. Art Deco influence can be seen in the zigzag seaming and construction lines of many cloche hats.  Art Deco appliqué was a popular embellishment although, it was never used in an overt fashion usually remaining covert in it’s use to maintain the simplicity of the design.

To retain the helmet like appearance of the cloche, trimmings were generally kept to a minimum with surface appliqués and other decorative pieces usually applied to one side only.  Feather fans at the side and scarves swathing the hat and falling to one side were a usual trim.  That side was of generally the right side of the cloche, but not exclusively so.” Pauline Weston Thomas – 26/11/2016

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Unfortunately I was only able to afford a trial version of Marvellous Designer for 30 days so I’ve had to get the bulk of the large clothes made quite quickly. My experience with it so far has been amazing though and I may try and save enough money to buy the personal version for future projects, I’ve found it incredibly useful for creating very specific designs from the 1930’s period because the software is pattern based. As you can see in the demo reel The Marvellous Designer site put up it is a fantastic piece of software for period clothing or anything with a more stylish cut then something you might make purely in Maya or Mudbox. I think this was perfectly suited for our project and I’m really glad I learned how to use it as it felt right to create our clothes and designs using real patterns from the 1930’s.

Marvelous Designer is a great program, but it isn’t always reliable and you do need to  be able to sculpt clothing on your own, especially items like hats and shoes. While this program is amazing for getting the bare bones of clothes together it’s not very commonly used so it’s nice to be familiar with it as it’s an uncommon skill. One of the main problems with the clothes made in MD is that there needs to be a lot of clean up before you can render it or put it into game engines like Unity. There can be a lot of overlapping geometry which, was a little hard to work with but after a bit of time is spent on them the results can be quite lovely.

The strength of Marvelous Designer tends to lie in its ability to create near-photorealistic cloth simulation, and it can potentially save a lot of time and tedious effort if you learn to use it effectively. There are plenty of tutorials available online that explain how to use the software in a successful way for realistic creations.” Steve Holmes – 30/11/2016