Review: Marvelous Designer 8 leaves user 'extremely satisfied'

Dec 06, 2018 at 04:30 pm by Warlord720

Marvelous Designer

As a career 3D modeler, I’ve used all sorts of methods for making cloth-based objects and character clothing. From sculpting to pattern sewing the available tools have come a long way.

If I remember right, Garment Maker and cloth modifiers from Studio Max served as my introduction to drawing out flat cloth, then sewing it together for simulation against a static avatar.  As with anything even closely resembling physics back then I was enamored with the easy of simulated cloth.

The only problem was back then my workstations struggled to cope with the early versions. The load was almost too much as I had to be more budget minded in my hardware choices back then.

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I became more proficient at sculpting and re-topologizing cloth as that was my only viable option if I didn’t want to suffer innumerable crashes and lost work in the process.

Marvelous Designer changed all that.

By the time it hit the market and matured into a good tool, hardware had been through major improvements. It was a knock out combination.

Along the way, it also made dreaded UV Mapping very easy. Dumbing it down to the level it always should have been for the sake of efficiency.

Marvelous Designer 8 New Features
New Features in Marvelous Designer 8 (Image(s) Courtesy Marvelous Designer)

Imagine your best photo ever

The latest incarnation, Marvelous Designer 8 has been out several weeks now which is enough time to use the program to make things you need instead of making objects for review purposes. While both work and accomplish a common goal, actual usage in commercial projects can widen the perspective of the reviewer.

In this case, I spent available time since the release making clothing, blankets, pillows, caps and other cloth-based items for my animation characters and scenes.

My experience thus far can be summed up as extremely satisfied with not only the new features of version 8, which we’ll briefly cover in a moment but also how smooth the software operates and intuitive it is to sew in the 3D window.

That’s right.

We are no longer limited to sewing (and un-doing… unless you have a perfect eye for sewing) in the 2D window as we were in earlier versions.

The confusion of the 2D window is replaced by the clarity of the 3D window which allows the user to get the view they need to clearly sew an unusual piece.

So let's dig a little further into the new goodies released in Version 8:

REMESH (Beta)

Remeshing, in general, is starting to be a big thing in 3D modeling to clean up topology with nice looking quads instead of all those nasty, mangled triangles. Quads are just easier to keep smooth and shape for a lot of us so this is a welcome addition.

From the manual… (yes… I RTFM… sorta):

  1. Find and click the menu indicated inLocation.
    → The mesh of the selected pattern is rearranged in an aligned quad mesh.
  2. When changing pattern's particle distance, it will be reflected to re-meshed pattern.
  3. When rotating a pattern in a 2D window, the meshes are rearranged relative to the X, Y axis of the 2D window.
    - After rotating pattern in 2D window, need to Undo Remeshing and apply Remeshing (beta) again to reflect the direction of the meshes.

You’ll notice the “beta” tag in there. I’m guessing it’s not quite perfect yet, but I’ll take anything that will give me nice, pretty, desirable quads to caress and arrange.

SCULPT

Now, this is a real kicker. Especially for us that use ZBrush or mud sculpt in other programs. This should reduce the number of trips back and forth to apps like ZBrush for additional sculpting that wasn’t available in Marvelous Designer.

Marvelous Designer 8
Examples of items other than clothing created and draped in Marvelous Designer 8

It seems a bit limited right now but to be fair I haven’t spent that much time with the new feature. However, it won’t take long to embrace any tool that keeps me from jumping back and forth between pipeline apps.

TRACE PATTERNS WITH UV MAP

Again… from the manual:

Trace 2D Patterns from UV Map: Toggle on this option to generate Patterns based on UV Map information (ver. MD8).

ADJUST TRIM WEIGHT

This is a cool little feature that allows you to adjust the weight of things such as buttons and zippers which in turn affects the drape of the cloth during simulation.

While MD Version 8 doesn’t seem at first glance to have a lot of new features, one comes to realize that the additions provided are handy and time-saving. Both necessities of the efficiency required to reduce the cost of production.

For me, personally, I love the 3D window sewing. Being able to easily visualize the seams I’m sewing instead of working with a 2D pattern is a real time saver and makes the software much more enjoyable to use.

As a subscriber… when you think of all the items you can make like caps, socks, ties, blankets, pillows and so forth it’s still bringing me enough value to justify the cost.


M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years.  Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website.


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