In this lesson I’ll go over the process of creating panel cloth. We’ll make a shalwar kameez, which is a traditional garment worn in Pakistan among other places. It presents some unique challenges above and beyond a tight fitted t-shirt, jeans or a simple dress. Remember, cloth isn’t easy. Know that it will take time and require lots of clean up when running shots. It will add a significant amount of technical difficulty to a project, but if you spend the time to figure it out, it can really add a lot of depth to your work. This is in regards to cloth in general and not just 3DS Max as I’ve found the same to be true of Maya Cloth etc.
Cloth can be sculpted, as in you can build a model using the usual tools for modelling and apply a cloth modifier to make it into cloth. This is sometimes called object cloth. Another method is to create flat panels, much like a real tailor would do by cutting pieces of cloth. This second method (panel cloth) is what I will discuss here.
1. First gather some reference materials. Look at photos and if possible clothes that match or are at least similar to what you are trying to create.
2. In the top view create spline shapes (line tool, or any other shapes) in a flat plane in the shape of the cloth panels you wish to create. This needs to be done very cleanly or it will give you errors later. Spline vertices should be properly connected to each other and shapes should not overlap one another. They should all be in a flat plane (as in if you look at it from the front view you just see a straight line.)
Below you can see the layout for the Kameez (shirt) and to the right is a seperate layout for the Shalwar (loose fitting pants).
All splines for the Kameez were attached to one another. Then with all vertices selected, I hit the Break button to make each segment into an individual spline as required by the Cloth modifier.
Tip: Arrange these cloth panels (shapes) to fall within a square. This will later be the UV Layout for your Garment (cloth model).
Edit/Clone to create a Reference of the Panel object. By creating a reference instead of an Instance or Copy, we can use the Reference to create cloth and still maintain a connection to the original splines which can be adjusted for fitting etc and have changes reflected in the Reference object. I went back and forth a lot to get it right, so this was a huge help.
3. Apply the Garment Maker modifer to the reference copy.
Later when you make changes to the original splines, come back here and hit Mesh It! to update this model.