Mz Muffet’s Marvelous Design

One of the hallmarks of our work has always been highly stylized wardrobe design to help tell our stories. For our photoshoots we hire costumers to plum the depths of local theater houses to help us realize our fantastical ideas.  Now that we’ve begun to create scenes digitally, we must create the clothing we envision from scratch. The good news is we can literally make exactly what we want vs. being forced to settle for whatever costumes we can find. The bad news is we’ve struggled to craft clothing that (to us) feel authentic, well-fitted, and appointed with the abundance of details we desire.

That said, we are thrilled to have begin working with the digital clothing design program Marvelous Designer. It is a 3D program that allows clothing designers to create patterns and virtually sew clothing that can then be fitted onto a 3D model. This program is used by wardrobe designers for HBO, Disney, SEGA, Playstation, and even IKEA. The program incorporates gravity, cloth structure, seaming, and wind turbulence to help visualize lush, realistic creations that are making our hearts sing!

We thought it would be interesting to share our first  journey of how we are now creating our wardrobe designs for our digital imagery.

Like all of our creative processes, we started with research. For our Mz Muffet, we wanted to create an alluring, adult version of the original poem Miss Muffet that would incorporate prim and proper details onto a sultry fitted dress. We decided to craft a dress that merged a form-fitting cheongsam in the torso with a scooped, A-line ruffly, circle skirt.

Using inspiration from existing clothing Stacey drew a rough sketch that focused on the pose and garment details. The sketch was imperative to help us visualize the integration of the two dress styles, as well as, incorporating little details like the piping on the cap sleeves, and the high collar. It also helped inform the style of ruffling that we were after for the hat and skirt.

Just like sewing clothing in real life, we needed a pattern. Jason was able to import, and modify a basic cheongsam pattern so he could sew the different dress styles together. The program allowed Jason to quickly visualize different garment lengths, dart positions, and materials, which was vital to finding the right look to the dress. Being able to apply the sewn pieces directly on the model, was extraordinary helpful, and allowed him flexibility to adjust the varied fit and cut.

Once the garment was completely sewn, Jason  brought in a Maya cache of the character animation that took the model from T pose to final pose.  He then applied the garments to the character to simulate the natural fall and fit of the clothing.  Little changes in how the stitches aligned on the sides, and the shape and position of the darts were key to getting the dress to fit well when she was in her seated pose, which was different from how it looked best when she was standing.

Additionally, having the clothing on the model in the final pose meant she could be rendered with the garments in place, eliminating the need to further tweak the clothing as sculpted geometry in Maya or ZBrush. (A tedious process we’ve thus far loathed.) Additionally, the program ingeniously allowed Jason to fluff the folds on the garment to get the right feeling of cheekiness and intersection with the spider body.

We’re looking forward to creating more garments and other items for our future pieces. Marvelous Designer really bridges the gap for us to incorporate custom clothing in CG to create unique pieces for our artworks. We are in love!