3D Wetsuit in Marvelous Designer

This tutorial is about male avatars in MD. I use explicit male anatomy language in the tutorial. If you have a problem with that, please do not watch.

Download the Marvelous Designer Wet Suit project file.

Marvelous Designer Wetsuit Video Script

The Male Avatar

This tutorial is about male avatars in MD. If you are offended by terms of the male anatomy, then you should stop watching this tutorial now. I'm going to discuss the male anatomy and it's importance in creating realistic garments in Marvelous Designer.In the process, we're going to create a wet suit.

Recently, I needed to create leotards for men. This prompted me to ask “How realistic do you want this?” and “How masculine should this avatar be?”.

When you look at the male form, you probably don't think much about these details, but they are important. Here's the results of a Google search for Superman. I intentionally filtered it down to the cartoons.

Notice that in all of these images, Superman is anatomically correct everywhere. You see his ab and chest muscles, his muscles in his arms and legs and the bulge in his crotch. These are all registered subconsciously as signs of strength. Essentially, we're looking for testosterone indicators. The more 'male' a character is, the stronger he seems to us.

If you are creating close fitting garments, like these tights, for a male character, you need to make sure that his genitals are there. A neutered superhero is not going to reflect the strength and power that a true superhero needs.

If we look at one of the MD default male avatars, you can see that he has all his parts. Even though he is rather slim and not too manly, we still have the required bulge in his crotch.

The avatar that I wanted to use for my project was much more masculine. The project did not require the avatar past the garment creation stage. It was just a base form, so I didn't need to worry about exporting the body with the garment.

I create all my body models in Make Human. The program does offer a male bulge setting, but it is minimal. One of the other options in Make Human is real genitals. I figured I'd just add genitals to my model and that would work out great in MD. Boy, was I wrong.

I'm not going to show you my model with realistic genitals because YouTube probably wouldn't appreciate that, but I'll try to explain what happened.

Even though the penis was in a relaxed state, it was too prominent when trying to apply clothing. In real life, the penis will squish to the body when snug garments are applied. Obviously, that doesn't happen in MD. It's just a regular collision object like all the other body parts. If you've ever tried to create gloves on fingers or socks on toes, you know what happened. The penis protruded outside the garment. It would not stay within the clothing.

Although this was good for a giggle, it was completely impractical. This great idea simply was not going to work.

Here is the solution that I found. I brought my Make Human model into Blender with all genitals. Then I created a sphere and shaped it based on what was there. I deleted the genitals and joined the sphere to the body. I refer to the sphere as the male parts proxy. This was exported out of Blender as an OBJ for use in MD.

I wasn't creating a superhero, so I kept the proxy in proportion to the original export from Make Human. If you were creating a model that needed to really express masculinity, you'd want more muscle mass and a larger male parts proxy.

The Wetsuit Inspiration

As I was going through this process, I really wanted to share my results with all of you. But I couldn't share my work because it's proprietary. Fortunately, I just got a request from a YouTube viewer named Antonio Marzii for what I call a wet suit. He referred to this as a surfer suit, so some of you may have a different name for it. It's just a neoprene suit that is worn in the water to keep the person dry and warm.

This is a perfect example of a close fitting male garment. This could be used for a Navy Seal character or modified for a superhero. There are lots of uses for this type of garment, so let's get busy making this one.

There are some special Marvelous Designer features that I will show you as we progress through the creation of the wet suit. These features are either new to MD5 or greatly improved over prior versions.

Measuring the Avatar with the New Tools in MD5

To create this I measured my male avatar and created base patterns using QCAD. I measured using the method in my Measure Avatar in Marvelous Designer tutorial. There is a new measurement feature in MD5. I didn't use it on this project, but here's another avatar that I measured using the new tools.

To measure the avatar you use these tools at the top of the 3D view that have purple on them. There are three tools; Edit Measurement, Basic Circumference and Basic Tape.

The Basic Circumference is used to measure around in a circle. Select one side and then the other to define the area. Then give the program a moment to draw out the circle. Now you can tip the circle, if you need to. The measurement shows up in purple. Click again to set the measurement. The Basic Tape works the same way as the circumference, but it is for measuring in a straight line.

Over in the Property Editor you have a list of details regarding that measurement. You can give it a name, if you like.

Up in the Object Browser, you can change to the Measure tab and see that the new measurement is listed. You can then save these measurements in a file associated with the avatar.

It took me a few minutes to get the hang of it, but this is a great set of tools. Now let's get back to our avatar.

Shaping the Suit

Here's the basic draft after making some modifications. First, I combined the shirt draft and pants draft to make one piece. Then I thinned down the legs and torso so it was more close fitting. I also brought the sleeve seams in to make them tighter.

Be careful when you're doing this. If you make it too tight, the pants will start to pull down and the sleeves won't fit properly. You need to make the bodysuit snug against the body, but not so tight that it can't move and shape well.

The necklines have all been moved up closer to the head, so we can add the collar, which is almost a turtleneck design.

I'd like to point out something else that is indicative of the male form. You'll see from the front we don't have a pronounced bulge at the crotch. It is very subtle, yet it is a completely different fit from the female form. The crotch seam is definitely much lower than it would be on a female.

If I turn the avatar around, you can see there is a big difference in the back.

If I turn down the Opacity of the fabric you can see that his genitals push the crotch seam down in the back. It is very unlikely that any garment will ride up between the butt cheeks of a male for this very reason.

If you look at the inspiration image, you'll see that our seams do not match those of the image. This suit is split up into many, many pieces. You can see that the sleeves are not regular armhole type sleeves. These are raglan sleeves, which means the top of the sleeve extends all the way to the collar. There are also a lot of gussets here. There's a gusset at the crotch and under the arm.

I can't see this image close up, so I'm just going to assume that all of these prominent lines are seams. We need to chop up our garment a lot to match this image.

Using Internal Lines to Cut

We are going to use internal lines to draw all of these seams on our existing garment. You should turn down the opacity of the garment while you're doing this. With a garment this tight, it may try to pull away from the body and distort. You want to make sure that it stays close to the avatar as you are drawing. You will need to hit the Simulate button occasionally as you are working and you need the garment to fit properly, so you can line up all the lines as you draw.

It turns out that my bodysuit was too tight and I had to loosen it up a bit. Here is the completed bodysuit with all the internal lines drawn out. Now we need to break this apart into pieces where these lines are drawn. There are two features that we will use to do this.

The first feature is simply Cut. If we right click on the lines cutting across the lower leg we get a shortcut menu. If we choose Cut, it will split the pattern. We get a dialog box that says this process will remove Symmetry. That is fine, so click Yes to proceed. We are going to copy or unfold all of our new pattern pieces, so we can delete the other side. Now I have a separate piece.

If I had chosen Cut & Sew from the menu, it would have cut the piece and then sewn it back together creating a seam between the two. We have a lot of work to do with these pieces, so I really don't want to sew any seams now.

This Cut feature is extremely handy, but I will warn you that there can be problems. When you Cut or Cut & Sew, MD has to figure out where the new seam lines begin and end. Sometimes it messes it up or it can create an itty bitty seam that you don't even know is there. When you go to simulate, you can get some very strange things. For this reason, I would suggest that you delete any seam lines that cross over a line that you are going to cut. You can always sew things back together once you've made the cut. This may save you a lot of time later.

New Trace Tool in MD5

Now we need to make some more advanced cuts. We are going to use the Trace tool to do this. It is located above the 2D view. To use the tool, you need to select the edges that create a border around the piece that you want to create. Click the first line, hold down shift and then select the other lines that surround the new piece. When you are done, right click on one of the selected lines and choose Trace as Pattern.

The lines you select must create a completely closed shape or you'll get a dialog that says “Patterns cannot be created with open lines”. If this happens, zoom in very close and make sure there are no open spaces. Your internal lines must touch or cross over another line to be considered closed.

Sometimes you might get more pattern than you want. A perfect example is this front chest piece. When I shift click around and Trace as Pattern, it creates the whole front piece. There is a very easy solution to this.

Using the Add Point tool, create a new point on the internal line that breaks it apart where the intersecting line is. Now when I try again, it works perfectly.

Here at the hip we have the same problem. If you look at what we've selected, it's not a big surprise that MD doesn't know what we want. There are more than one closed shape here. All we have to do is break up the lines more, so that we don't have multiple closed shapes selected.

Now we have half of the front and back and one sleeve. All cuts are made, but we're not quite ready to sew everything back together.

Combining Patterns

The new sleeve will consist of the sleeve pattern as well as pieces of the front and back. Basically, we need to create a new sleeve from three existing patterns.

Place the two cut pieces from the front and back at the top of the sleeve. Use the Transform Pattern tool to select one of them. Click the Rotation Point that is currently at the center of the pattern and put it at the point that is touching the sleeve point. MD will snap to the point making it easy. Now rotate the pattern over. Repeat for the other piece.

To create a new pattern from two or more existing patterns, you need to line them up exactly down the center. Then use the Polygon tool to trace around them and make one new piece. This is very quick and easy to do because you can add your curve points using the original pieces for reference.

Use Unfold to create the pieces that span across both sides. Make sure to rotate the piece so the center is straight up and down in the 2D window. Otherwise, you could have problems later with fabric and texture placement.

The most complicated pattern piece to make is comprised of four existing pieces. We have the two pieces of gusset on the sleeve and the side underarm of the front and the back. I'm not going to show you that process, because it took awhile to do.

Finalizing the Wetsuit

Here is the completed pattern. All the pieces have been sewn together and fitted. When you are doing a garment that is this advanced, you must be prepared to go over each seam and make sure the pieces match up properly.

This is the final wet suit with some color and specular highlights. I chose a color that is not absolute black. I also used the Graphic 2D pattern tool to add some branding.

This was not an easy garment to make, but I really like the final result. There are still some details missing, if you wanted the wetsuit photorealistic. All of these seams should be done in a stitch type texture and it could use a zipper down the back.

I want to thank Antonio for the inspiration image and request. You should have a good basis for creating masculine avatars with close fitting garments. You also learned how to use some of the new tools in MD5.


marvelous designer md project files