[Tutorial] G1G2G3G8 Clothing in Blender 1

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SickleYield's avatar
By SickleYield
NOTE ON THE 2017 UPDATE: I'm going back through this tutorial series and updating it with notes on Genesis 3 and 8.  Not a lot will be changed, mostly having to do with normal maps and JCMs.  At this point it's unlikely I'll do a video version because of the sheer amount there is to cover.  If you really want to do clothes commercially and can only do it via video, there are tutorials in the Daz store (I don't own any of them, because I don't buy tutorials in order to ensure I am never accused of learning from them and then giving away that info free, but esha is an amazing artist, I would expect her to do a great tutorial).

There's also this series by Arki if you're ready for a more advanced tutorial.  This free YouTube tutorial covers how to make a conformer with extra bones; it says geograft, but it still works with loincloths and other such items.  There's literally no difference, you just don't need the last bit on actually setting up the culling graft portion, and you don't need the Part 2 video.

Blender is up to a later version now, but the important controls are the same.

If you don't use Blender, feel free to skip to installment 4 and onward or the portions that are in Daz Studio.  Blender's interface is widely hated, but it's a free program with tons of features, and at the very least it's a great way to build your business until you can afford 3dCoat, Zbrush, or one of the more expensive suites.  Blender can be profitably integrated with these others as well.

In Part 1 we'll start with a discussion of setting up your first scene and creating a good low-res base topology.

A pictorial supplement can be found here. [Tutorial Supplement] Blender 2.69 Strip Modeling by SickleYield


You need:

Latest version of Blender (2.69 as of this writing); 64 bit is pretty much mandatory for sculpting.

DAZ Studio 4.6 or higher.

The GIMP or another image editor.  GIMP is free for commercial use, as Blender is, and it can read PhotoShop .abr brushes.  Krita is another good free one to look over that can do the same.


It is assumed that you have basic navigational skills in Blender and know how to change views, move, rotate, and scale.  This info is easy to find online; it's full workflows for cross-program integration that are tough to locate. 

First, export an .obj version of your UNMORPHED figure from DAZ Studio 4.6.  (I will assume Genesis 1 or one of the Genesis 2's.)  This will serve as your base to build the clothes around.  You can export at Blender or Poser scale, or whatever you choose; the important thing is that 1. You import later at the same scale and 2. You don't forget which you used.

Start Blender.  Go to File--Import--Wavefront (obj) and navigate to where you exported the obj file of your figure.

Now let's talk about meshing your base.  Some people use box modeling, wherein you import a cube, shape it roughly around the body, and then subdivide and extrude parts or all of it to form a clothing item.  There's more than one right answer; I prefer to use strip modeling with a mirror modifier. 

The important thing is that your base is LOW resolution so that you have a lot of room to work with subdivision and sculpting, and that you use a method that gives you neat quads that are similar in size starting out.  You may get to a point where you want to triangulate everything, or use triangles in selected areas, but that should always be deliberate and NEVER part of your base meshing because of what it will do to your topology and how hard it will make it to select and manage areas of geometry.

To do this, start with Add--Mesh--Plane.  Position the plane over the surface of the body, at the side of the chest if you're starting a shirt, where you want the waistband if pants, etc.  Try to align it so it is perpendicular to the "floor," so the top and bottom edges look straight rather than diagonal from the front.  When it's positioned, switch to edit mode. 

At the bottom of your 3d window is a bar with buttons and controls on it.  Over toward the right there is an icon that looks like a magnet.  Click this to turn on your snapping tools.  (Clicking again turns them off.)  To the left of this is the Proportional Editing item, which triggers a feature called "soft select" in many other programs.  And to the left of that are three cubes showing an orange vertex, edge, and face, which switches your viewing mode to view the vertices, edges, or faces of an object.  Notice that using shift-click you can turn on more than one mode here.  For now, turn on edge mode.

Once you click the snapping tools button, options appear to its right.  The dropdown right next to it has an option called "face" (a cube with a white entire side) that you can select, often the best choice for base strip modeling.  The other important thing is the button that looks like a pale blue square over a circle.  This lets us snap faces onto the body that is behind them even though they are different objects.  Turn it on.

Select your starter plane and press G.  It should snap to the surface of the body.  If an edge ends up too far to one side or the other (especially in the armpit) you can drag it with g key until it's in the right place.  As long as the snapping tools are on, selected geometry will snap to the body.  (In this mode be sure not to grab geometry you DON'T want to snap to the underlying body.) 

Now select a side edge of the plane and press E to extrude.  Notice that as soon as it's extruded it snaps to the body as well.  Things will snap from the camera you're looking through, so if you rotate the camera as you extrude around the body you can create a good line of faces around the torso (or whatever you're trying to clothe).  If you cover half the body this way, using clean polygons like this, you can then select a straight line of vertices down the middle of the body with alt+right click and press s, then x, and type a very small number (say .001) to shrink it into a straight line.  Toggling the wireframe on with Z lets you then drag this to the exact midpoint of your object and/or the scene, which is a blue line in front view.  (Access front view using  numpad 1; if it doesn't look right press 5 to turn orthographic view on or off).

If you get to a point where you need to connect two rows of vertices, use alt right click and then alt shift right click to select both.  Then hit W and select "Bridge Edge Loops."  For this to work, the two rows must have the same number of vertices.

Now, you can turn the mirror modifier on at any stage of this process, or wait until you've modeled the entire half-clothing-item.  This is located in the pane on the right side of your screen; select the icon that looks like a wrench and click it.  Then click "Add Modifier" and choose "Mirror."   Your geometry is mirrored across the X axis (other axes are available, but this is what I use the most on clothing items).  Having "merge' on merges verts at the center area, which is why we needed that center line of verts as perfectly centered as possible (to avoid holes or doubling).

Yes, this can be a bit tedious until you've practiced enough to get fast at it, but most people will be able to pick this up pretty quickly.  Like drawing or painting, it just takes practice (and significantly less practice than either of those, for this part at least).  Also remember that you can export your low-res half-meshes as obj to use as bases for other future projects. 

Features to build in at this stage:

-Sleeves, collars, and lapels; all the base features of a garment (don't plan to "add it on later" unless it's a fully separate piece like a button or lacing).
-Any slits or notches you want the final product to have (for e.g. a split and an overlap for a pants fly).   You can split a line of verts by selecting it and pressing V.

-Seams.  Create a seam by selecting a line of verts where you want the seam to be with alt+right click.  Then press Ctrl+R to create a neighboring line of verts and drag it up close to the first one.  Repeat on the other side of the intended seam.  Select the middle one again and scale or translate it to one side to create a crease.  This will still look seam-like after subdivision and sculpting and creates a cleaner and more definite seam than if we wait and use deflate/pinch to do this.  Create seams where a garment would logically have them in reality, such as down each side of a shirt, the sides and/or back of a skirt, etc.  Look at real clothes for ideas.

-The UV map.  After you apply the mirror modifier, not before.  Remember that as long as your mesh has the clean straight middle line in front and back, you can always delete one half and re-mirror if you need to do so.  UV mapping is its own area and will not be covered here.  Just try to place UV seams in the same place as your geometry seams; it makes texturing easier.  This is important because Blender is not very good at 3D texturing yet and we'll need to be able to use 2D methods in our image software.

-Coved edges.  This creates a "solid" look to a garment.  Alt+right click on a hem to select it, e for extrude, and scale it inward to create a false thickness.  Repeat on all sleeves and hems.  Again, this is easier to do now than later.

Features to wait on:

-Subdividing up to a high poly count.  Right now you should be under let's say 20k for most clothing items (less if it's a pair of panties, more if it's a full catsuit; NEVER in the six figures for a base geometry).  Yes, vendors don't all work this way; but I'm going to recommend it as a good practice.

-Separate submeshes like buttons, bows, and laces can be done now, but may need to be moved around once we've got our base sculpt in.

-Any kind of sculpting.  This should never be started until we've done a solid early UV map and placed all of the seams and features in their final arrangements.  It should not be used as a base modeling tool, not when creating DAZ figure clothing in Blender.


Whether you use box or strip modeling, it doesn't matter; just don't try to sculpt from a subdivided primitive as a way to get a good base mesh.  In Blender the only retopo options involve manually extruding using the snap tools, and you really don't want that headache; plus using the snake hook tool will annihilate any possibility of a clean base topology.  Then you're left with a monster full of triangles that doesn't bend right, doesn't render properly in DS, and can't be easily UV mapped because it has no edge loops for selection. 

If you're using Blender, and trying to create a clothing piece with a controllable poly count and clean topology, for now the best way is the old-fashioned way.  Create the base mesh shape using the simplest possible methods and leave subdivision and sculpting as finishing steps. We will deal with those presently.

Here's how you get to Part 2.
© 2014 - 2021 SickleYield
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Hi SIckleyield. Thanks for all the great work you do and the tutorials. However, I have what is probably a really stupid question. I'm following your tutorial, but I am getting stuck at the point where you snap the plane to the figure (in this case G8F). I activate the magnet and select plane from the dropdown, but the tools you refer to aren't appearing. Is there a separate step? Also, I can't seem to 'snap' the plane to the figure - when I select G, nothing happens.

SickleYield's avatar

P.S. thank you that's very kind :)

SickleYield's avatar

You have to also check the option to project on the surface of other objects. By default I think it's set to snap to self. Blender has changed since I did the tutorial, but if you're clicking and hovering over the snap magnet there should be a drop-down below that still has these options.

Hi SickleYield, I must be dumb but I'm not finding that option. Your tutorial clearly says "The other important thing is the button that looks like a pale blue square over a circle.  This lets us snap faces onto the body that is behind them even though they are different objects.  Turn it on." But I can't find that option - it's simply not appearing for me in either 2.83 or 2.91. Is there some control I have to turn on to see this?

SickleYield's avatar

Here's a picture guide to what it looks like. The little magnet is on the top bar normally:


The correct option once "face" is chosen is just called "project individual elements" now.

Thank you, I'll give it a try. I think my biggest problem is finding things. :)

goofygrape's avatar
this is great stuff ,thank you :)
Catweazle01's avatar
The pdf is missing and the screenshots are too small. I can't see what functions you are using.
SickleYield's avatar
Catweazle01's avatar
thanks. You are the best :-)
RCDeschene's avatar
Do you plan on doing a video version of this? :)
SickleYield's avatar
As it says in the intro, probably not.

Thank you ever so much Sickleyield. It's incredibly kind of you to take on the time consuming task to assemble this tutorial and give it away at no cost.


SickleYield's avatar
You are very welcome!!
Lobo3433's avatar
Thank you for sharing this really appreciated 
SickleYield's avatar
Linwelly's avatar
Thank you so much for this (and for updating, and for it being written, not a you tube) I'm just about trying to get a handle with blender so I will keep this for the moment I'm more comfortable with it :D
SickleYield's avatar
You're welcome!  I hope it helps!
abdulgaff84's avatar
Will the same basics apply for genesis 3 clothing as well?
SickleYield's avatar
For this first one, absolutely.  I'm going to go through the later installments and add updates for Iray and G3-G8 (mostly that you need to do normal maps instead of displacement where possible, and that you need to do a crud-ton of JCMs for G3 and G8 to make them work properly, especially in the thighs/crotch area).

Here's a link to a video on how to set up JCMs.

SickleYield's avatar
NP, and you can always comment or send a note with questions!  It's a huge amount of material to cover, basically a short textbook, lol.
EngelsSchwert's avatar
Suddenly, moddeling clothing seems so much less scary!
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