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Which 3D program works best for mesh clothing specifically?


adriannesuz McMinnar
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I have been trudging away trying to learn Blender but then I started to read some threads from people complaining that maybe the type of mesh in Blender will create rigged mesh clothing with blockier movement (if I understand correctly, which I probably don't).  So if I want to create very high quality skirts and other clothing items within SL, is there a program that would be better for me to learn, such as Maya or 3D Max?  I apologize if this is already in the threads but I did a search and didn't come across an answer to this particular question.  

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You don't need high end software for SL clothing, just what you can use and afford. Blender 2.59 is my modeler of choice, it has nice weighting tools and a not too difficult and overwhelming interface (since it was redone). There are plenty of available tutorials, and best of all, you don't have to fork out $4k to autodesk or pirate it, since its free. People are generally quite forthcoming with assistance too. :)

 

Re blocky movement, as long as you have the right amount of geometry going in the right direction, you're using the weights brushes where appropriate,, and you don't rely on the bone weight copy script to do all your weighting, you can get great movement in blender. Just a case of practice.

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adriannesuz McMinnar wrote:

I started to read some threads from people complaining that maybe the type of mesh in Blender will create rigged mesh clothing with blockier movement

 

There's an old saying, "A bad carpenter always blames his tools."   A lot of people in SL are now learning mesh modeling and rigging, for the first time.  Naturally, many are struggling somewhat, since it's a big subject.  It's often much easier to blame the software for less than ideal results, rather than face the more difficult truth, which is that it takes a lot of practice to get good at this stuff.

Blender is no more or less capable of producing a well made article of rigged clothing than any other full featured modeling program.  The only relevant question is how good are you, the artist, at using it.  If you're just starting out, the answer is probably "not very".  But that's OK, you'll get better.  As with anything else, mastery comes with time, patience, and lots and lots of practice.

 


adriannesuz McMinnar wrote:

is there a program that would be better for me to learn

 

I think you'll find Maya is at least an order of magnitude easier to learn than Blender is.  But that doesn't speak to the quality of the work you'll be able to do with either program.  You can get equally good results from either, or equally bad results from either.  It is the artist who makes the difference, not the particular software.

I'd suggest you look at it more pragmatically.  Maya costs $3500, and Blender is free.  If your interest is very serious, Maya is worth every penny.  But if you don't have thousands of dollars burining a hole in your pocket right now, Blender is still a fantastic program.

Either way, you've got your work cut out for you, if you're just starting out.  It'll be a while before you'll have a solid mastery of what you're doing, no matter what program you're using.  But that's OK.  That's just how it works.

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The only differences I can think of that might make one program easier to use for making mesh clothing is its tools for painting vertext weights, or better evelopes for generating starting weights, or better modeling tools. Beyond that they all pretty much work the same way as far as skinning a mesh to the SL rig. Blender is plenty good enough to make items for SL every bit as good as something made in a program like Maya or Max.

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Modeling polygonal/triangulated mesh shapes is not better or worse for clothing than for anything else.  I use 3ds Max, and have made vehicles, furniture, houses, avatar bodies, and lots of clothes, and it's all about the same difficulty.  The key is knowing how to manipulate the shapes to what you want, not what kind of object you are creating.

In regards to animation, the SL avatar has a fixed set of bones.  The triangles that make up the standard avatar body are "rigged" to follow one or more of the bones.  The animation basically is a sequence of bone and joint positions, and the avatar shape just follows along with whatever bone it's attached to.  Rigged mesh works exactly the same way.  You tell your 3D program which of the avatar bones each part of the mesh needs to follow.  For a skirt that would be mainly pelvis, and left and right hip bones.  At joints you need your skirt geometry and the bone weights to smoothly blend, so it bends the way you want it to.  That means assigning partial weight to two or more bones.

As long as the program allows you to add and remove detail from the geometry, and assign the bone weights as needed, any program will let you reach the same final result.  How they differ will be in the tools within the program, which make it easier or harder to do that task.

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  • 1 year later...

If you want something thats a blast to use and integrates with Photoshop seamlessly,  ZBrush by Pixelogic.  Its more like molding with clay and I have fun using it.

 The automatic re-topology tool may be worth the price lol.

Heres a sample of working in Zbrush

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  • 4 weeks later...


Shannon Danick wrote:

I personally think that anyone who is willing to spend $800+ for 3D software, just to make stuff for SL, is a true fool. I mean, c'mon, get a cheaper hobby. Use Blender...it's free and can do as much as any $800+ software bundle.

hmm a lot of assumptions and out right meaness.  Actually Im using it to print in 3D for a very specail cause.     I actully think people who just call others a "true fool" without knowing anything may need to reevaluate.

Be nice.  It makes for a happier life.

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While what several of the others have said is true, I'll add a caveat....

 

Different modelling software approach the task of modelling differently.  So you may find it 'easier' to model in one particular program than the others.

 

I personally find modelling easiest in Lightwave3D.  That's just me.  The flow of it just seems more natural to me.  But I know others find 3DSMax or Maya or Blender 'easier'.  They can all do the same stuff.....it's just how they approach the individual tasks differently.

 

I suggest trying out demos, or old versions, etc., and see which one you can follow the processes easier on.  Of course, you may find that the one you find easiest is the most expensive....or that none of them seem to be 'easier' for you.  There are hundreds of modelling programs out there...... (ZBrush, modo, Wings3D, SketchUp, to name a few)....try a few.  As long as they can export/import the most common formats (obj, dae) you can always bring them into another program to do another part of the flow (e.g., I model in Lightwave, but I weight and rig in Blender.)

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I know this thread is a little old, but I'm surprised that it is all over the place as far as what is best to use. IMHO, the answer is clear as day, and no other program really comes close to the ease of use and custom features specifc to SL. The program is BLENDER, without a doubt. If you combine BLENDER with AVASTAR. You have pure gold. Everything you could ever need, at your finger tips, and more. No joke!

Personally, I've only been using Blender for about 9 months, but I don't see ever needing to ever pay for 3ds Max or Maya again. It would seriously be going backwards for me. Rarely to do I praise a product, but Blender is worth every bit of praise. I'm moving into more video types of production, and I couldn't ask for a better program. Fire, explosions, mist, rain, floods, fracturing, compositing, video and audio editing, and much much more all in 1 program, all done well. If you are talking about modeling. Imagine every feature you ever saw in any program, for modeling, in 1 program. Or just about. I still model most things in 3ds Max, but that is only because I've focused more on animation, and rigging in Blender, and spent little time actually modeling in Blender. I'm doing it more and more in Blender, and it pretty overwhelming having all these tools right at my finger tips. Texturing goes to a whole different level in Blender. You don't even need Photoshop. The texturing tools are far superior to any other 3D program IMHO. 3D paint built in also.

Like I said earlier, you get the Avastar addon, and you got something custom made to work perfectly with creating things for SL centered around the avatar. Copy weight tools that allow you to literally weight 1 full outfit once, and never have to do much manual weight painting ever again. You just transfer those weights to all your other clothing items. Plus, Avastar has a custom DAE export option that perfectly fits the SL DAE format, with tools to fix errors in weighting, verts and more. To me, it's really the animation aspects, and custom character creation aspects that blow me away. Import motion capture and transfere it to any SL skeleton possible. You can export animations in anim file format and have more control of animation in SL, with access to more bones to animate other things.

I'm going to just stop here, cause I could go on and on and on about Blender. Basically tho, the answer to what is the best program to use for creating clothing in SL, is without a doubt Blender. Hands down, not even debatible. Modeling, you might be able to argue for programs like Marvelous Designer is great for creating draped clothing or clothing in general, but AGAIN, you can almost do the same thing in Blender.

Oh, and I'm not against shamelessly promoting products that are this good and help every1.

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