Cloth Simulation in Marvelous Designer

A breakdown of how I made the clothes in my short animation "The Kickflip." I used a Maya animation cache to drive the cloth sim in Marvelous Designer, then exported back to aya for re-topology.


Before I begin the breakdown, I just wanted to show off this jacket I got from éS.

It inspired me to make it in MD and sim it for my next skate animation! 

Here are some screen captures from the Marveloud Designer viewfinder.

Fantasy Tree Fantasy Tree
Fantasy Tree Fantasy Tree

Click to enlarge the photos above.


Below are 2d layouts of clothes in MD, along with the reference photos.

pants 2d shirt 2d jacket 2d jacket 2d pic

Below: 2d layouts draped over the "avatar" (hidden) in 3d space in MD.

all clothes

In my MD project I had 3 avatars: The body, the left shoe and the right.


Each avatar was imported one by one as an .obj file (exported from Maya), with no animation cache. Each .obj had their individual Maya Cache (exported as .mcx) and was imported one by one into the MD project (in red above). Finally I smoothed each avatar, one by one, before simulating.

While simulating, in order to avoid awful clumping (below left), I set the lower-layer garment (in this case t-shirt) to a higher Particle Distance than the garment above it. Below right, you can see that my jacket PD is set to 8 (while the shirt was set to 10). It worked for me, anyways.

Trick 1

A proper UV layout for all the garments is required before exporting.

Here is a demonstration of Marvelous Designer's UV editor.

Below: Initially, the garments' UVs are centered and stacked. In MD's UV editor, right-clicking the space to see 'Set UV from pttern alignment'.

clothes UVs

The UVs are now neatly separated and ready for export.

clothes UVs 2

Click here for Olivier Couston's excellent instructions on how to export from MD into Maya.

clothes UVs 2

Once exported from MD and imported into maya, I retopologized the mesh from triangles to quads.

Click here for an excellent retopology tutorial by Bob Mcafee.

There are many methods, but Bob's is the one that I prefered/used.

Here are some other great methods/resources: Link 1, Link 2, Link 3.

pants retopo

The face count on the pants went from 66,943 to 10,258. 85% reduction!

Below, the shirt face count went from 26,404 to 2,916. 90% reduction!

shirt retopo

The jacket face count went from 96,972 to 4,601.  A 95% reduction!

jacket retopo

The entire outfit's face count was reduced from 190,319 to 17,775. 90%

In retrospect I should have made my retopologized mesh just a little more dense. I really wanted to see the minimal limit for retopology, and now I know that somewhere around 85%-90% is the limit.

After retopology, I used Maya's Transfer Attribtes to copy UVs from original tris geo exported from MD to the new quads geo. This allows me to shape the new geo from 2D to the 3D shape.


Above: Since the exported 3D shape (bottom left) and the new 2D quads geo (bottom right) have identical UVs (top left), I can have one take the shape of the other.

Olivier Couston has excellent instructions on the above Transfer Attributes method.

Below: The 2D quads geo took the 3D shape (right) of the exported-form-MD tris geo (left).


I then used a wrap deformer to drive the animation of the new quads geo, since it overlaps the original tris geo with exported simulation/animation cache from MD.

Finally, I created an alembic cache for the new quads geo, and delete the exported-from-MD files. This means no unnecessary deformers, no superflous chaches, and a much more optimized scene.

Some other details include the zipper (pictured below) and textures.


I created the shirt texture by scanning the t-shirt into my scanner, and editing it in Photoshop.

pants texture

Above you can see the diffuse and bump textures.

Just like the shirt, I created the pants texture by scanning the fabric, and edited in Photoshop.

pants texture

Above left is the diffuse repeatable texture, enlarged to the top right, and a seam version bottom right.

In addition to the image seams, I made geo stitches along the pants.


Here, in my eS Shoes breakdown I explain how I added the stitches.

pants texture 2

That's it! Thank you for looking :)

Related 3D projects

Fantasy Tree

Forest Floor Scene

Yeti Hair

Hair simulation pipeline in Yeti

Fantasy Tree

3D character production

The Kickflip Project

"The Kickflip"

Skateboard Project

3D skateboard

eS Shoes Project

éS shoes in Maya & Renderman