SECOND LIFE MODEL IN A-POSE FOR MARVELOUS DESIGNER

It has been awhile since I have posted mainly due to a creative funk!  It seems to be a cyclical thing for me...life being too busy...my mind on other things, wintertime blues...or, nothing appeals that is fun to create. Maybe, some of you have experienced this as well?

I have had a few things turn up in the last few weeks which have made it possible for me to start to create again.  I hope in the coming weeks to share what I am up to and perhaps create some excitement for you as well.  

SNEAK PEAK

Recently, I given a sneak peak and the ability to test a subscription-based product, which will be available to everyone very very soon.  It is called PatternMaker Pro created and produced by Lori Griffiths and Wayne Jacobsen. Many of you may have visited her website Fearless Makers, watched her professional quality Marvelous Designer videos on YouTube or, signed up to be part of her Marvelous Designer Help forum.  If you are unfamiliar with her work, I have posted links to her varying endeavors in the Resources section of this post. 

Lori has teased us for some time in relationship to pattern creation for use in Marvelous Designer (MD) and, now, she has taken MD pattern creation to a whole new level.  With a few clicks of varying buttons, you can create perfect patterns to copy and trace in Marvelous Designer from simple to very complex garments in a matter of seconds.  I am really excited about this product and will provide more details when the full version is released to the world. 


PATTERN TESTING & MODEL POSES

Okay so what does Lori's product release have to do with Second Life (SL) A-Poses?

Well, being the stubborn creature that I am, I tend to often travel the "doing it the hard way" path.  I been trying relentlessly to learn mesh creation in Blender since the addition of mesh to Second Life.  I tried learning Blender for creating sculpties when they came out years ago, which ended up being an absolute fail on my part. But then again, sculpties have never really appealed to me anyway.  Learning 3D modeling hasn't been an easy journey for me and very frustrating I might add.  I rather envy those who had/have the ability to travel the formal training path to learn these skills. 

As time has gone by, I was introduced to Marvelous Designer and began to create clothing for Second Life's default avatar and the 5 standard sizes.  For those, who have worked with the standard Second Life avatar model, you are well aware of its' many faults and foibles we have to take into account and work around.  We can only hope Philip Linden's High Fidelity adventure and Linden Lab's Sansar, will take into serious consideration some of SL's model issues when they create avatars for the forthcoming platforms.

I have worked with the standard SL default model over the years and still feel like I do not know it well. Being antiquated in my processes *grins*, I have continued to use the standard default model in the T-Pose, both in Blender and Marvelous Designer.  Sometimes, I can get something really nice and it fits correctly out of MD, but more often then not, the items look like crap and requires lots of post work, which quickly becomes very annoying and makes me just want to trash what I have created.  And, I usually do trash it and give up!

There really has to be a better way for creating clothing.  

A BETTER WAY

Yes, there is really a better way or, will be soon!  

So, in that vane, I am going to share with you a sneak peak into what I learned about modeling poses while testing PatternMaker Pro (PMP).

The dress you see below is one I created using Marvelous Designer (MD) and a dress pattern created by PatternMaker Pro.  I was able to chose from a variety of patterns choices and chose this "tent dress" with a "bishop sleeve" in PMP, along with pre-set model measurements, generated then downloaded the pattern.  I imported the pattern into MD and traced my pieces out, sewed them and simulated the garment on the default SL avatar set in a T-Pose.  You can see the less than desirable initial results below.

FYI- for all you Second Life or, the Open Sim grid creators, Lori has created an accurate set of measurements for the default Second Life model.  These measurements go into creating the perfect sized pattern pieces and all you have to do is trace and sew. Easy Peasy!  I can't wait till the product is out!

T-POSE DEFAULT SL MODEL

While the length of this dress is very nice, notice how the sleeves seem to pull and drape poorly with no symmetry whatsoever.  Actually the sleeves looked a bit strained in length.  Also, note, the neckline on the front.  Notice how it bags and bunches up when it should be flat against her chest. There is also distinct peaking on the left shoulder where the sleeve meets the armhole while the right you can see bunching.  The shoulders are a definite issue for this T-posed default SL model. 
Tent Dress with Bishop Sleeves Done in T-Pose (Front)

You can see in the next photo how poorly the neckline fits in the back of the dress and across the shoulders. The peaking we saw on the left shoulder in the front is much more noticeable  when we see it from the back view.  Again, there is no symmetry with the draping of the sleeves. It would take some considerable work in Blender or other 3D modeling software to fix this mess.  Something I am not sure I would want to attempt nor would be willing to attempt. Life is supposed to be made easier using MD not harder!

This dress looks really awful to be quite honest!
Tent Dress with Bishop Sleeves Done in T-Pose (Back)

Okay so if it is so easy, why does this garment look as horrible as it does when I am touting a new product?  It's the pattern right?  You just need to adjust the pattern on the model and resimulate.  Nope, I tried that and it looked even worse the 2nd, 3rd, 10th time around.  It has nothing to do with the pattern at all. 

As I was providing feedback to Lori on the testing, I sent her these pictures of what this dress looked like and was hoping for some pointers.  I had to be doing something very wrong to get these results. If you have seen any of her tutorials, you will know that my clothing never looks like Lori's clothing!  There has to be some sort of secret!

Lori made a suggestion, one that many of you probably already know, it is the model pose that is causing all my issues.  She suggested that I try the more relaxed A-Pose others have been using for quite some time with MD. The default SL measurements in PatternMaker Pro were taken and based upon the SL model being in an A-Pose.  Who knew something so simple would alleviate so many problems. 

I know most of the tutorials I have seen make it look very easy and simple when others demonstrate things but often, they forget to tell you really simple things that can make a difference.  I suppose most of them don't even think about it and assume beginners know these things!  Wrong!  Not only do we, as beginners, need to know these things, we need to know why in order to help us avoid pitfalls and to educate on the principles.   I do have to admit my own stubbornness!  I knew others were using an A-Pose for their SL Clothing, although off the top of my head I am not sure I can think of a tutorial that uses the A-Pose and/or specifically talks about.  Hhhmm...I will have to do some research into that...it simply may have escaped my attention.   It didn't really click for me until I started testing for Lori and she made the pose suggestion.

A-POSE: A BETTER WAY

Okay, not wanting to look like a total idiot, I had to search around for a default SL model in A-Pose, which I never found and is really one of the main points to this article.  

So, with the A-Pose model finally created, skin textured, and imported in to MD.  I set about recreating the "tent dress with bishop sleeves" I had done in the T-Pose.   I did everything exactly as the first time but added a texture to the final product. One other thing I did was I nudged the sleeve length so it was a bit longer.  I wanted the cuffs to cover her wrists.  The results between the T-Pose and the A-Pose garments are startling, which you can see for yourself below.

See how much nicer the fit is?  The sleeves drape very nicely and where they should drape.  The neckline lays flat with no extra bulges. There is no mountainous peaks where the sleeve meets the armhole.


Tent Dress with Bishop Sleeves Done in A-Pose (Front)

Even in back view you can see no extra bluges or bags around the neck, no shoulder peaking, the sleeves don't look like they are straining. Plus, the draping looks very natural and realistic at the cuffs. 

Tent Dress with Bishop Sleeves Done in A-Pose (Back)

So, what started out as beta testing a new product turned into a realization about user error and plain old fashioned stubbornness.  The two things I learned are very important in user satisfaction and creating a very nice garment. So from this little adventure...
  1. it really does matter the pose of your model you are working with.
  2. it really does matter use precise and well made patterns to work with.
Since I had neither of these in the past, it is no wonder most of my clothing looked like crap!  

I think as a creator, regardless of your level of experience or creativity, you have to be open to suggestions from others.  You have to be willing to ask hard questions and ask for feedback when you don't understand something or your items turn out really differently from others. And, as an educator, you have to think on a simplistic level regardless of the level of information you are trying to impart to others. Neither educator or learner should take the basics for granted because oftentimes mistakes can be made which makes a huge difference.


ELUSIVE A-POSE MODEL

Getting back on track and off my soap box, let's get to the meat of this little article. I have to admit, I spent most of my Saturday researching and trying to find information and resources for this elusive Second Life A-Pose model.  It is an elusive creature at best.  After hours of researching, I never actually found a pre-made A-Pose model that I could use.  So, when you can't find one to use, it's time to make your own.  Hopefully, I can make that adventure a bit easier for you so you can make your own A-Pose model to use.

Before we start, I want to thank Haven Ditko for all the videos she has made in regards to Blender and Marvelous Designer over the years.  Many of you may know or, have taken Haven's Blender classes at Builders Brewer and Marvelous Designer classes at Ditko University. While Haven is no longer teaching like she use to, we still have the excellent videos she made posted on YouTube or, the Ditko University site.  Links for both are listed below in Resources.

First off, this process to creating an A-Pose requires the use of Blender (Free) and Avastar (Purchased Blender Add-on).  Avastar certainly makes my life much easier.  I use to apologize for suggesting products that cost because so many of us are on a limited budget; however, I have found that in the long run, said add on make things run more smoothly and saves time.  If you do not have the Avastar Add-on, I have posted a link in Resources for you to review it or, you can download the Workbench model.  The Workbench model doesn't include the rigging but, you can easily pose the bones on the model and export it for use with MD. 

Many of you still ask how you can add skin textures to your MD models.  Rather than point you back to old blog articles or, give you a blow by blow written instructions, I have included Haven's Skinned Avatar video.  You can either view it here or wander over to YouTube and watch the full screen version. 

I would watch this video, do your texture prep work as directed, then stop at the point of exporting your model from Blender.   Move on to watch the Alter to Rest Pose video to prepare your model for the A-Pose.  After setting the A-Pose in Blender, watch the rest of the Skinned Avatar video to export the model and import into Marvelous Designer.

Marvelous Designer : Skinned Avatar by Haven Ditko


On a side note, I had issues with MD5 necessitating uninstalling, redownloading, and reinstalling MD5.  In the process, I lost all my models.   Don't even ask!   Yes, yesterday was not a great creation day.  But, with every issue, I learn something new or that information is refreshed.  

If you are using or want to use custom made models and make them convenient, create a folder were you can find it on your hard drive, and place your custom models in that folder.  When you start-up MD, go to the Library, on the far left, and click the add button.  Search though computer till you find your models folder and click open.  Your models folder should show up in the Library where you can easily access and add models to MD.  When you load your model, ALWAYS load it as a model; otherwise, when you simulate your garment it will fall through the model.  Same thing goes for props/objects you want to simulate cloth on load them as models. 

The following video will show you how to transform the SL default model from the T-Pose to the A-Pose. It is fairly easy to do with Avastar.  With the Workbench model, you will have to select the blue bones to alter their position instead of the green rigging as show in the video.

Alter To Rest Pose - Avastar - Second Life by Haven Ditko


Once you have the avatar posed, you can go back to the Skinned Avatar video to follow the instructions of exporting the model from Blender and importing to Marvelous Designer.

SAY THANK YOU!

Seriously, please be sure to let creators know you find their work useful and you appreciate what they do.  Hours and hours of time are spent to provide information, usually for free, to those of us that wish to learn. We are very poor students if we do not thank those who spend their free time and resources to teach us. 

Like their videos on YouTube, leave a nice thank you comment on websites, or, on the videos.  If you want to continue to have free learning resources, be polite when asking questions or making suggestions.   Do your part to keep tutorials coming out way!

RESOURCES

 

LORI GRIFFITHS
Fearless Makers ttps://www.fearlessmakers.com 
Marvelous Designer Help forum http://www.marvelousdesignerhelp.com/ and YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8TvrdenlitmEGs2tjnalsA,

HAVEN DITKO 
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4lKhU9GpFo5hs0pMZaBCNA
http://ditko.azurewebsites.net/?page_id=2501

GAIA CLARY
http://blog.machinimatrix.org/avastar/ 
http://blog.machinimatrix.org/avatar-workbench/

I hope this information has been as eye opening to you as it has to been for me and, I hope I have been able to provide you with some helpful information to make your creative endeavors a bit easier. 

Happy Creating!
Morgaine

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