Marvelous Designer 8
We check out
the new features that make MD 8 one of the strongest updates so far.
One of the best
releases I have seen from the Marvelous Designer. New sculpting, retopo and
trim weight tools mean MD is well on its way to becoming a one-stop-shop for
digital garment creation.
- Great new sculpt tools
- Improved workflow for CG artists
- Handy auto-arrangement tool
- Beta remesh tool needs fine-tuning
- Still expensive
features in Marvelous Designer 8 (MD 8) kick everything up a notch. First,
there is the beta remesh tool, aimed at handling retopology inside MD, rather
than the user having to use, for example, ZBrush’s remesher or transfer UV to
geometry space in applications like Maya.
Then there’s 3D
sewing, which enables the user to stitch their items together in the 3D View.
Finally, there is brand new sculpting tool functionality, auto arrangement
point creation, and the ability to trace patterns from a UV map.
clear to see that the new features are aimed at improving the existing workflow
for CG artists, as well as minimising the time you have to spend tweaking an
exported garment once you’re done creating it in Marvelous Designer (MD). The
question is, are the new features any good? Well: yes, they are. Let's
take a look.
Beta remesh tool
remesher still being in beta, it is a huge improvement over the existing
Quadify option, as it gets rid of a lot of the ngons the function generates. Found
in the 3D View > Right-click Mesh menu, it generally gives you a nice, even
mesh – even if you, for example, dive into some sculpting like smoothing after
The remesher is still in
beta, which mean seams or edges can look ugly
The only area
where I had issues was on mesh edges, especially on thick cloth, where it could
get pretty ugly. However, as it’s still in beta and presumably still being
refined, the current beta implementation creates a much easier mesh to retopo,
that’s for sure. Let’s just hope the final tool doesn’t take as long as Quadify
to fully fall into place.
The new auto arrangement tool
takes the tedium out of creating bounding volumes
The ability to
automatically add arrangement points and bounding volumes on avatar import is
another new feature many users will welcome, as it saves you from the tedium of
manual creation. Being able to also do your sewing in the 3D View is another
great new timesaving feature, as you can see whether the sewing is straight right
away, or headed for ctrl+B.
best new feature by far this release is the fledgling sculpt tools. Located in
the drop-down next to the Store icon, the Sculpt option comes in five flavours:
Sculpt, Smooth, Grab, Stamp and Pinch, and they work pretty much like you’d
expect, especially if you’re used to ZBrush for example. Smooth in particular
came in handy for me when I didn’t want to alter the mesh, but wanted to get
rid of those telltale MD folds in the back of a clothing item.
I also really
enjoyed taking the Stamp tool for a spin, especially with some of the
cloth-fold brushes available from Gumroad. However, all flavours are good, as
they finally allow you, the artist, the tools to fine-tune and sculpt your
The ability to
sculpt natively is a timesaver and a half, rather than solely tweaking and
relying on the physics of the draping algorithm(s). It also works really well
with one of the other new features, the ability to adjust trim weight to an
object, like belt buckles and other imported garment accessories.
The last strong
feature of this release is the ability to create a new garment based on a UV
set, by tracing patterns from a UV map. This is a super-handy feature for
content creators who want to avoid the manual morphing from one type of figure
to another, or for users who have exported modeller files that could use some
cloth TLC, or even DXF file issues.
The workflow is
easy: simply load your OBJ file as a garment, check the ‘Trace 2D Patterns from
UV Map’ option, and it will import the object as a garment, complete with
sewing lines – all you have to do is adapt or detail it, and you’re done.
An excellent release
All in all,
this is one of the best releases I have seen from the Marvelous Designer team since
I first reviewed version 2.0. I do of course still think its pricing is way too
steep, especially for Steam users, but for once I also think that the improved
features, the bug fixes and increase in user friendliness warrant the pricing.
Designer 8 is an excellent release. It seems the focus has changed a little
from solely working with cloth to allowing artists more freedom in the
application. The new sculpting, retopo and trim weight tools help it well on
its way to becoming a one-stop clothing shop for digital garment creation.