Fabric in Marvelous Designer

Download the Marvelous Designer project file of the satin dress.

Download the Marvelous Designer project file of hat, sweater and jeans.

Download the Marvelous Designer project file of the sheer fabric top and skirt.

This Marvelous Designer tutorial will be covering fabric and its properties. The properties of your fabric are critical for simulation and especially for animation.

This is essentially the script covered in the video. You can watch the video to learn the concepts, then use the information below for reference while working in the program.

Correction - Since creating this tutorial, it has been brought to my attention that MD does in fact respect the bias cut. It seems that the 2D window does run with standard warp and weft. If you place your fabric at a 45 degree angle, it will recognize the bias and drape. However, you may still choose to use the preset that I created for a more drastic fluidity in your garments.

Some of you don't do much with fabric in MD because you take your work elsewhere for texturing. I know many people use Zbrush and other tools outside of MD. I have to admit that MD has some serious limitations with depth and you should use other tools to implement displacement or bump mapping. However, you need to use MD to get the proper drape on your garments before you export them out for further texturizing.

There are essentially three kinds of fabric. Woven, knit and felt. We'll take a look at all of them. Before we get started talking about fabric physical properties, let's do an overview of the other fabric settings.

New Fabric

To make a new fabric, click the Add button on the Fabric tab. This creates Fabric_1. You can change the name in the Property Editor window, by selecting the Name and typing a new one.

You'll also notice a Copy button. If you have a fabric that you like but just want to make minor changes to use somewhere else, select the existing fabric and copy it instead of starting over.

To apply the fabric to a pattern, just drag the fabric on top of the pattern.


The next section in the editor is the Material. Click the arrow to the left to open up the options. You'll see that you have three tabs; Front, Back and Side. You can set each of these individually for your fabric. By default, Back and Side have Use same material as front selected.


To apply a texture, click the left icon next to Texture. This opens a file chooser for you to select your texture. The MD manual doesn't provide a file types list, but I have chosen JPEG PNG and even a Photoshop PSD. To remove the texture, click the little trash can icon and it will be deleted from the fabric.

Once the texture is applied, you can transform it. Click the Transform 2D texture tool and click the pattern. Rotate the texture by moving the cursor to the dotted edge of the circle until you see two circular arrows. Click and drag either clockwise or counterclockwise.

To place the texture differently within the pattern, move the cursor until you see a white arrow head. Now click and drag to move the texture to a different position. It might be helpful to think of your pattern piece as a window with the texture behind it.

You can scale the texture uniformly by clicking one of the large white dots with a red outline. Drag away from center to scale up and drag to the center to scale down. You'll see that MD tiles the texture automatically.

If you want to scale the texture in only width or height, click the smaller white dots with a red outline and drag.

Although you can apply the same fabric to multiple patterns and rotate or move the pattern independently, you cannot scale them individually. If you scale the fabric texture, all the patterns that share it will scale also.

There is a Desaturation attribute under Texture. You can turn this on by clicking the checkbox and play with these settings to change the shadow and brightness of your texture.

At the bottom of the Material attributes list you will see a Texture Transformation option. If you open this you'll see very precise setting capabilities. If you know the angle, width, and height for your texture, you can enter them here. This is very helpful if you are creating several different garments in different project files that shared a texture. You could set them all with the exact same dimensions.


The next fabric property is Color. Click the box to open the color picker. If you know exactly which color you want, you can enter a color using the RBG, HSV, CMYK or Hex numbers. If not, just click the bar are the right for the correct hue and then fine tune it by clicking in the box at the top.

Your choices are applied dynamically, so the 3D window will update as you change the color. When you are selecting colors that will be reused on various patterns, that may not have the same fabric, I suggest you save the color. To do that, just click the Add to Custom Color button after you have chosen a color in the color picker. It will put it at the bottom of the dialog box and you can choose the exact same one for other fabrics. You can do this for Specular Color and Emission Color, too.

If you have a texture applied, the color is an overlay. Textures work best in grayscale. If you have a texture with color, choosing a color here will mix with the texture color and you can get unexpected results.

There are two other Color attributes: Ambient Intensity and Diffuse Intensity. Ambient Intensity is the amount of light reflected from the environment onto the garment. Diffuse Intensity is used to set the light that disperses over the garment surface. These are advanced settings and you probably won't use them too often, but you should play with them to see the effects they produce.

Specular Color

Specular Color is the next property. Specular Color is the shininess or reflection of light off the fabric. Use this to show glossy fabrics that have a shine. Satin, velvet and even leather will benefit from some specular color. You'll note an attribute of Shininess here with a slider. Move the slider back and forth to determine what you think is most appropriate for your garment.

Emission Color

Another property of fabric is the emission color. It works very similarly to the other properties. Personally, I haven't found much of a use for this one, because it is not something you commonly find in real world garments. Emission color makes your fabric glow or become luminous.


The last property is Opacity. This is something you'll use frequently when modeling and also to show transparency in fabric. When you are modeling, you may want to turn down the Opacity so you can see through to the model. This will help you determine if a pants crotch is too low in relation to the model, for example. You can make a sheer fabric simply by selecting a color and then turning down the Opacity.

Delete a Fabric

If you have fabrics that haven't been applied to a pattern, you'll notice there is a trash can icon next to the name. You can delete unused fabrics by clicking this icon.
Now let's move on to the Physical Properties of fabric.


Felt is commonly used for appliqués or for hats, but felt is rarely used as a garment fabric. Felt has no structure per se. The fibers are 'felted' together, which basically means they are matted. There is no weave at all. Felt is quite stiff, so the appropriate Preset in MD would be the leather setting.


marvelous designer md project files