Art by Guru Prasad

Creating a Magnificent Dress with Marvelous Designer and Substance Painter

Pierre Bosset on November 8 2018 | Substance Painter, Stories, Marvelous Designer, Design

My name is Guru Prasad, but I go by the name of Necromancer online. I work for a gaming company called Dhruva Interactive in Bangalore, India, as a senior character artist.

The David & Diana Apparel Creation Contest

Participating in contests is a good habit. You learn a lot by sharing your WIP in the contest forum, receiving input from other contestants, and trying to complete your asset before the deadline.

The 18th-Century Dress

I was looking for very clean, fresh, elegant and cool-looking references. I wanted to do something which relates to the character pose, so after collecting a lot of references, I decided to go with an 18th-century dress.

The main challenges were making flowers and leaves, the layering of clothes one on top of the other, making birds in Marvelous Designer and selecting a color theme for the character.

Marvelous Designer and Substance Painter

Starting in Marvelous Designer, I basically use the default library assets for all my clothing as these are really good as a beginning point. Then I try to adjust according to the project’s specific needs. After adjusting the cloth, I export that to Substance Painter with default settings.


I start by collecting references for garments, such as those shown.

After collecting references I jump into Marvelous Designer for creating clothes. Marvelous Designer is one of the tools that allows quick and easy garment creation with natural folds.

Let's start creating some clothes in Marvelous Designer. The first step is to import the avatar (Diana Base mesh) .obj or .fbx.

Create the fabric pattern as shown, with layer 0 in simulation properties.

Arrange patterns in the 3D window to wrap around the avatar properly and sew the pieces, adjust the garment, then simulate.

Consider working on each part of the garments separately by freezing the rest of the garments.

Repeat this process for all the fabrics with layer 0, layer 1, layer 2, etc. in simulation properties.

Try to use default material presets [Cotton preset for most of the fabrics] at particle distance 10-15.

Select UV Editor and rearrange the UV shell for maximum usage of space.

Once you're satisfied with the result, change particle distance to 5 and simulate. Export your fabric with these settings:

Now let's start importing the Diana model and fabrics into Substance Painter with the following settings:

The image below shows the number of texture sets used for the project.

Now let's start baking some maps [AO, Curvature, world space normal] in Substance Painter.

Click on Bake Mesh Maps as shown in the left image and then load clothes in High Definition Meshes, as shown in the image on the right. Adjust the settings according to your needs to get a good result.

The gif below shows the texturing workflow.

Repeat this process for all the other parts.

As mentioned earlier I was aiming for a clean and fresh-looking character. I would like to give credit to Mysticalpchan for providing those beautiful lace patterns.

I think layer instancing and smart materials are the most powerful features in Substance Painter. Layer instances help you to share the content of one texture set to the multiple texture sets. For Marvelous Designer, try using basic library fabrics; these are really good as a starting point.

I will definitely continue to use Marvelous Designer and Substance Painter in all my personal projects; these software tools play a big role in my pipeline.

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