Character Sculpting: Body

A link to a previous post that includes what Marvellous Designer is and tutorials I found that will be useful when sculpting the body.

To use Marvelous Designer I would need to build a base shape for the girl’s body in order to have the clothes drape and react correctly to match the concept art.



I jumped into zbrush and quickly sculpted a base for her body, based on the silhouette concept above, remembering that not too much effort and or time should be put into it as we won’t ever see this part of the sculpt, it’ll be covered with her clothing, shown in the silhouette concept art above.

References I had already gathered for character body sculpts:

I did however spend more time sculpting in her knobbly knees as it made more sense to just texture the tights onto her legs rather than creating legs and then creating a set of tights in marvellous designer or maya to be shaped around her legs.


I then brought the zbrush model into maya for retopologising using the quad draw feature with the arms being built within maya as it was a quicker option. Scott then mentioned that it made no difference to rigging whether or not the arms were actually attached to the body, seeing as the poncho and jumper would be covering up most of them – to explain why there is a break in the arms (this was another time saving technique.. why model it in detail if it’s not going to be seen? The torso will actually be deleted once passed to Scott for rigging, it’s only purpose is to shape the jumper.


Researching good topology not only benefits myself in terms of keeping my model wireframes neat and flowing correctly but also Scott, correct topology will make his job as rigger a little easier. Below I have included some topology references that informed me of how my own models wireframes should look.

Leg topology reference:

A post taken from Polycount also had some great reference for limbs and particularly hands:

The hands were then based off of the Stranger’s hands that Matt had already modelled.

Some reference taken from google and a pinterest board dedicated to hand topology:

Also needing modelled were a pair of wellie boots, below are some images used for reference:

Some reference taken from Turbo quid, showing boots already modelled and their topology:

model development:

Final model and topology



I followed the tutorial below for details about how to draw out the pattern in the 2D window and also for a pattern to use.

I also found an pinterest board dedicated to Marvelous Designer and patterns to use:

A few patterns I found on google:

Tutorials and references I have gathered before starting:

The Steps I followed for creating the first attempt at the jumper:


As you can see from the image above, I may have followed the tutorial a little too closely, the jumper is far too tight fitting so with a second attempt I tried to correct this by widening the patterns drawn in the 2D window. I then used the collars to hold the dress and the sleeves down. The material was created by applying a heavy density, halving the coefficient friction (this is the property that stops the material moving up just so easily) and having a stretch weft value that is just under half. Below is a screenshot of these adjustments:



Below is another example of changing the material attributes of the jumper, it didn’t really change much other than the placing of the wrinkles.


When I finally figured out how to import my maya model as an avatar I then placed the jumper onto the body.


Scott then mentioned that the band around the top of her legs may cause some problems when rigging so to make things a little less complicated I’ve gotten rid of the band and made the garment into more of just a long baggy jumper.


This mesh was then brought into Zbrush to smooth out some of the wrinkles, as around the armpits had unnecessary detail (which wouldn’t be seen at any point) that would increase render times. Once the creases were removed the mesh was then brought into maya and a low poly version created using quad draw, as not much of the jumper is actually seen once the poncho is added.


Creating the poncho

I have a fleecy poncho that I was able to bring in and use as reference for modelling, the only difference between mine and that of our character’s is that mine has sleeves and hers doesn’t.


I gathered a few images of sewing patterns for poncho’s to help me figure out how to create the design in 2D within marvelous designer based on the type of poncho we were after and wether or not that shape matched the shape shown in the concept art.

A pinterest board for sewing Ponchos, Capes and Shawls, this board gave me multiple reference images and options to choose from meaning I didn’t have to spend too much time trying to figure out the 2D sewing pattern of the poncho but instead could base it on a real world sewing pattern:

Once the pattern was figured out it was just a case of adjusting the mesh and simulating until the right length was found…



The poncho below was imported from MD straight to Maya, there were too many wrinkles and the mesh was falling too far away from the body because of the shape of the back of the character. To fix this the mesh was then imported to Zbrush, retopologised and smoothed out.



Within marvelous designer the poncho was a single plane mesh and didn’t have an underside like an actual piece of clothing which would be a problem once we begin to animate the character as there are some points where even the audience would notice this was missing. To combat this problem I simply duplicated the mesh, reversed the normals and scaled down the new mesh so that it was slightly smaller than what would now be called the outer poncho shape, the meshes were then combined and the edges joined together through extruding.

We decided to remove the hood of the poncho as it wasn’t really working well when her bag was added, it didn’t look right sitting under the bag or even on top, so we made the decision to cut it all together, it wasn’t playing any part in the story and the design of the character still looked great. Below are images of the high poly poncho and low poly ponchos. The low poly will later be used to drive the high poly.


There was also the backpack (modelled by Matt) to consider and how it would fit the shape of the characters back and clothing. The image below shows the process of sculpting the poncho to fit the shape of the bag. The character and bag were imported to maya, the mesh of the poncho was then exported to zbrush were it was adjusted and then brought back into maya. The images below show the amount of poncho’s that were adjusted.


The first full character model:



Obviously now that the model is built there will be a lot of collaboration between Scott and myself as he begins to build the rig, any changes that make his job as rigger a little easier or that will help improve the character in any way I’m happy to apply.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s