[Tutorial] G1G2G3G8 Clothing in Blender 1

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NOTE IN 2021: This is obsolete owing to changes in Blender's control scheme in versions after 2.79.  Please use this one instead:

Dress Making and Rigging Tutorial Custom Bones 01Please find the video on my YouTube channel here. For those who prefer a text reference, I'll do my best to replicate the important points here. Link to Part 02 Link to Part 03 (Just use this one if you already have a mesh with vertex groups and just want to rig it)WHAT YOU NEED:-Blender 2.82 or higher-Daz Studio 4.15 or higher-Genesis 8 Starter Essentials installed; these should come with your DS installation or be available in Daz Install Manager as soon as you have signed up on daz3d.com. A WARNING AND DISCLAIMER:Making clothing is very time consuming and something of an elaborate multi-step process. Save a lot. Don't get discouraged. It gets faster as you get used to it. The methodology you would use to create a garment in Blender is also very different from what you would use in Zbrush or Marvelous Designer, so if you already have a workflow for those or another modeling program and an exported obj with vertex groups assigned, feel free to skip to whatever part we actually start the rigging in Figure Setup Tools in Daz Studio.GETTING STARTED WITH BLENDERFirst of all, you'll need a human figure to work with. If you export one to wavefront/obj from Daz Studio, make sure it is set to Base resolution and 0 subdivisions in your Parameters first. Make a note of the scale you use for exporting. I use Daz Studio's own scale because the Blender preset is broken and has been for some time.When importing to Blender using the File--Import dialogue, make sure to check "polygroups" and "keep vertex order."Now you're looking at a naked figure such as Genesis 8 on a plain gray grid. Whatever figure you're using, the instructions I'm about to give should still hopefully work. There may be a point where Daz3d moves away from dual quaternion weight maps (or "General" rigging, as it's called in Daz Studio), in which case there may be instructions needed that I don't yet know about here in July 2021. I'm going to say "Genesis 8," but just know that this works just as well with Genesis 3 or any future "General Weight Map" figures.In order to start your clothing item, go to the top left of your screen and click Add--Mesh--Plane.,Now there's a tiny plane at the bottom center of your screen. You can select it by left-clicking on it, right-clicking if you're old-school and have changed your controls to old Blender style.Scale this until it's around the length of Genesis 8's thumb. This is going to be our first simple polygon. You can scale by typing S and then dragging your mouse. Left-click to finalize the new size. Now if you hit R, you will activate the rotation control, and typing 90 will rotate the plane 90 degrees. You can move it by hitting G to grab and then drag it up to the upper chest area. Now we need to change the object center of our polygon so that we can mirror it and save time. Click on Object--Set Origin--Origin to 3d Cursor. Origin to Center would also work. We just want to have the center right at the center of the screen for now.,Now go to the right side of your screen and the little blue wrench icon, your Modifier panel. Click on it and choose "Mirror.",It defaults to X, which is what we want right now. As you can see, I've left Merge on but raised it to .01. You might go as high as 0.1 depending on what scale you used on import (if you used Poser scale that's going to be too big). Now Blender creates a mirror of our one polygon we created. You can also see the tiny magnet that is now blue at the top of the screen, and if you click this you can activate the Snap controls and choose Face, making sure Project Onto Other Objects is also checked. Now when you select the polygon and hit G, it snaps onto the body of Genesis 8. If you select the middle edge by using alt and right click, you can scale it to be very narrow and drag it over until it merges correctly. Hitting Object--Shade Smooth will help with this.Now we have a polygon that is mirrored by the program, and we can extrude it in various directions to create our dress. To do so, you can enter Edit mode by hitting Tab, or by clicking the dropdown at the top left of your screen that currently says "Object Mode." With alt-right click you can select any given edge, and then hit E to extrude. Pressing Enter both finalizes the extrusion and snaps it onto the body. It'll be clipping into G8 at first. That's okay, we're going to fix that as we go along.,In the above I've extruded around to the back to merge the edge of the polygon with the center line to make sure it merges with the mirrored half. Again, s-x and .001 to make your line straight, then drag it until it merges with the mirrored side. Then you can extrude up and down the back and the center line of the body to create a frame work for your garment, and extrude up over the shoulders to create straps or the base of what will be your bodice.When it's time to join polygons on the same side, you can select four vertices around the empty area and click F key to fill them. F can also be used to create a new edge as well as a face, if needed.,Once you have a bodice with straps, a complete waist circle, a complete circle around in the chest area, and a straight line in the merge area in front and back, then you can fill in the blank areas. Select a row of vertices, but not the verts on the very end of the row. Here you can see there was a four-poly gap, so I selected the two middle polys and extruded those around the body. Each drag I try to make sure it lines up with the rows above and below, so that filling in between will be easy. ,When I've done this, I will fill in by selecting all but the very end edges of a gap area (alt right click, and use ctrl b to create a negative bounding box to unselect the end bits). Then I hit CTRL+E and select "Bridge Edge Loops." Now I only have square four-vertex poly holes to fill by selecting their edges and pressing F, and I have a complete though overly clippy bodice. Then you can go back to your modifiers panel and find the tiny dropdown arrow on the right that allows you to choose "Apply." Now both sides of the geometry have been created. Hopefully you kept your middle lines nice and straight so everything merged and there are no holes. This is a good time to turn off the snap tool by clicking the currently-blue magnet button.,You can see where I've also used G to grab on selected verts to smooth out the edges of the strap area, too.Now I will use A (you may have to tap A twice in some versions of Blender) to select all, and Alt+S to scale the garment outward. I may want to stop scaling before all the clipping is fixed to keep things from getting too loose (almost certainly in the bosom area). In this case I will select individual verts and drag them outward. There's a little blue circle at the top of your screen that activates the proportional editing, which lets you pull connected polygons like putty. This can be turned on and off at different points when you need it or don't need it. Scrolling your mouse wheel after something is grabbed with proportional edit on lets you scale the area of influence of the edit.Here you can see me doing this with the bum area. You also have the option to turn on mirrored editing, because we created a mirrored mesh that is perfectly symmetrical on both sides. This option is visible on the right side of the image. It is found in the very top tab in the options on the right, where you can click X by the word Mirror. Here you can also see the little blue circle of the proportional edit, beside the now-gray snap button.,Now that the bodice is done, we can create a skirt by alt-right clicking the bottom row of edges and extruding it downward (with e and g). You may need to pause and tug the buttock area around to achieve full coverage during this process. Here is another time-saving tip. Extrude your skirt only once, as shown. ,At this point I selected and deleted some of these very long side faces because I wanted to create a loincloth dress. Remember, you can create a bounding box with b or a bounding circle with c. Then I alt-right clicked the bottom edge, front and then back, and hit CTRL+R. This creates a little preview line and you can type a number to subdivide into the desired number of polygons (what this pic calls "loop cut and slide").,Now I have a crude loincloth dress. I tweak the curvature of the verts at the connection area of the flaps by dragging them around, hit A to select all, and it's time to subdivide. You can find this option under the "Edge" panel up top. I will hit Subdivide enough times that I feel the polygon count is high enough for smooth deformation, but also high enough to show folds and wrinkles for realism.,Now we're ready for cloth simulation, UV mapping, and materials and vertex group assignment, which we'll start on in Part 02....

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.
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akinoshima's avatar

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.