How are clothes made in the real world?
Clothes are created with different kinds of fabrics, thread and a needle. Often buttons or zippers are used to enable people to open and close different parts of the clothing. To create clothes seamstresses draft clothing designs (these are called patterns), cut patterns and sew patterns together to create the final garment.
Complex clothing patterns are often drafted and redesigned dozens of times. In some cases it may take a seamstress around 40 hours to develop a final clothing pattern, and an additional 60 hours to cut and sew it.
Traditionally for thousands of years, seamstresses and tailors would sew clothing by hand. Later in years, people invented sewing machines and transitioned to using sewing machines more often instead of sewing by hand. In the 14th century the word sewing is first known to have been used to describe the art of cloth making. Sewing has a very interesting history which you can read about it on Wikipedia.
What are digital 3D clothes and how are they made?
There are two kinds of digital clothing, conforming clothes and dynamic clothes.
Conforming clothes such as conforming DAZ clothing or Poser clothes, are clothes that are rigged for a specific model. Conforming clothes are usually skin-tight and do not have realistic wrinkles. Conforming clothes do they drape realistically on different poses of a model nor move with the model if the model is animated. Creators of conforming DAZ clothing often create additional clothing morphs for a set of different poses. Conforming 3D clothes are very limiting however since if a user wants to create a different pose, the clothing does not hang realistically, and in some cases the clothes stretch and get distorted. With conforming clothes there are no options to add wind effects to blow the clothes. Long conforming dresses for instance, are very hard to use for certain poses such as sitting or lying down.
Dynamic 3D clothes on the other hand drapes realistically when simulated and adjusts itself whenever one changes the 3D model’s pose. Dynamic clothes also move realistically when animated and some programs even allow for wind controllers to simulate wind blowing the clothes.
How are dynamic 3D clothes and conforming clothes made?
There are two ways to create 3D character clothing. To create conforming clothes one needs to sculpt the clothing in a digital sculpting program, or model the clothes in a 3D modeling program. Then, one needs to rig the clothes for the 3D model.
To create dynamic 3D clothes, one needs to use a cloth simulation software to create, simulate and animate the clothes in.
There are also some other options such as using cloth simulation plugins in 3D modelling programs, but these have been reported to take much longer to simulate the clothes and in order to use these cloth simulation plugins one first needs to model or sculpt the clothes.
What are the uses of 3D digital clothing?
In recent years software companies have developed cloth simulation software such as CLO3D, Marvelous Designer and Optitex.
These cloth simulation software allow fashion designers and 3D artists to create digital 3D clothing.
The dynamic 3D clothing created with software such as Marvelous Designer can be used for drafting clothing designs, creating virtual fashion shows and visualizing how clothes will look before producing them.
Digital dynamic 3D clothes are also used by 3D studios, visual effects studios, film companies, game studios and 3D artists for dressing their 3D models or digital doubles.
How are virtual 3D clothes made? By using the tools found in these cloth simulation software such as the virtual sewing machines and the pattern drafting tools users are able to design digital 3D clothing.
How do Digital Clothes help Fashion Companies?
By being able to visualize the clothes on the computer fashion companies can significantly cut down on costs and time it takes to create clothes. Seamstresses can now draft patterns and clothing designs on the computer without needing to waste real world fabric until they get the design they are after.
Dynamic 3D Clothes used for the Entertainment Industry
Dynamic 3D clothing created in Marvelous Designer cloth simulation software is used in video games such as Assassin’s Creed, Metal Gear Solid V, as well as for digital doubles in major motion pictures such as The Hobbit, in movies such as The Adventures of Tin Tin and by 3D artists for their 3D models.
Some 2D artists also use 3D models to save time when creating fantasy book cover designs, instead of painting the characters by hand they use programs like DAZ Studio or Poser to pose the 3D models and render them.
Selling Virtual 3D Clothing on 3D Marketplaces
Some creators of 3D clothing made for DAZ/ Poser models sell their clothing models on 3D marketplaces such as daz3d.com renderosity.com runtimedna.com etc.
There have been several press releases published about vendors who make a full time just living from selling digital 3D clothing. Models of 3D clothing can also be found for sale on all kinds of 3D marketplaces such as CGTrader, TurboSquid, The3DStudio, 3DExport, CreativeCrash, 3DUniverse etc.
SecondLife, the world’s largest virtual world, also has a marketplace where creators can sell 3d clothing they create for SecondLife avatars.
What do 3D clothes look like?
When viewed in wire-frame mode, one can see the 3D clothing models mesh which is usually either composed of quadrangles or triangles. 3D clothing models can be textured with graphic overlays, seamless pattern designs (such as for example floral designs or realistic fabric weaves), colors of the clothes can be changed and realistic fabric detail can be added with Normal maps or Displacement maps.
3D clothes can be rendered either with a human 3D model or without a 3D model. For fashion catalogs the clothing is often displayed without a 3D human model inside.
See here below a Gallery with some examples of digital 3D dynamic clothes made in the Marvelous Designer cloth simulation software.