Creating Cordage, Rope in Marvelous Designer

Oct 15, 2020 at 08:00 am by Warlord720

Marvelous Designer (MD) makes some tasks like belts and suspenders quick and easy. The most difficult part of these can be setting up the sewing but once you get your feet wet in MD even that gets easier. A belt can be set up to draw up the waist area, creating folds and wrinkles, which improves the realism of the final cloth simulation.

One overlooked aspect for many new users the ability to take a flat piece of cloth and turn it into an inflated or deflated tube to mimic rope and cordage. This can be tacked or tied in a knot to get some pretty cool results. The tacking part is easy… the knot tying not so much. Once you get the concept of how to hold the simulated cloth in place tying the knot gets easier too.

Knot tying, as cool as the results can be, is a bit difficult to describe in a short article so we are going to focus on:

  1. How to draw out and set up the cloth.
  2. How to sew the cloth.
  3. How to use pressure to keep the cloth from collapsing flat.
  4. How to tack the cloth to the avatar to aid in simulation and shaping.

This is another simulation that is anything but rocket science. To put it simply… it’s child’s play… even a tech writer can do it. Once you wrap your head around tacking and placement you will progress rapidly. This is one of those tips that can look good or even great the first time you try it. It can also look like crap if executed poorly.

  1. Draw Cloth – This almost doesn’t qualify as a step… it’s so easy. Grab the rectangle cloth tool and drag out a long, narrow piece of flat cloth. Divide longways in the middle with an internal polyline. Just like making a dress shirt collar, this internal line gives the cloth a place to curve back on itself smoothly. Leave the fabric type at default for now as you can play around with cloth presets later.
    Cordage Rope in MD
  2. Sew Cloth – Another easy step. Sew one long side to the other long side. Yes… that’s right… sew the cloth sides to each other. Just like you used to do accidentally only this time we mean to do it. This is where the internal lines come into play. This will allow the cloth to fold over itself without totally freaking out the cloth simulation engine.
    Creating Cord Rope in MD
  3. Using Pressure – Another no brainer to execute. It just takes some experimentation. I have used both negative and positive pressure. Sometimes very high, almost to the end of the scale. The idea is to get the cloth to form a tube-like straw used in soft drinks. Again… some experimentation is required.
  4. Tacking the Cloth (Tack on Avatar) – This makes it all easier to handle while following the form of the avatar. It allows clothing to be drawn up depending on its length. Look at the cloth as being in two equal pieces then place a Tack to Avatar tack in the middle of each section. Place the other end in the middle of the area the cloth will cover like both sides of the avatar waist. This can be done in one pinning, but I would suggest starting here for the initial simulation. It’s not as radical and allows the cloth to settle down as it bunches up the cloth it collides with. Once satisfied you can move the tacks around (both ends) to each side of the waist area below the belly button to draw the cloth together. From there move the tack till the cloth ends are touching each other. Lengthen or shorten the cloth as needed. Until you get some experience you can simply lay one side across the other to simulate them being tied together. 

It will take some fiddling around with settings and cloth presets, but this should get you started on using cloth for cordage and rope simulations in MD. Once you grasp the basics you can experiment with tying the knots or a simple loop over like you would do with a robe or housecoat.

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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