What is the deal with game character wrinkles?

Ask about specific settings, like fabric properties, or the difference between the sewing tools. These would be things you would expect to see in a software manual.
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LoriGriffiths
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What is the deal with game character wrinkles?

Post by LoriGriffiths » Sat Aug 08, 2015 3:38 pm

I got a comment over on my website about wrinkles/folds in clothing for game characters. This isn't the first question I've gotten on this. Here's the post.
HELLO Mam thanks for extremely helpful tutorials but for a game art student these clothes are useless until we got wrinkles no matter real or artificial as you can see in the link http://devblog.sherlockholmes-thegame.com/page/3 please check the link and read it and please help us to achieve folds like that. i searched a lot but find nothing who is teaching these techniques for realistic folds how to customize fabrics specially weft and warp properties,every one is making good clothes but helping to achieve folds and not even touch fabric physical properties please help in that topic.
The blog posts are really interesting and they are doing good work. The posts are older and you can see that MD is used, although not mentioned specifically. Here's my quandary. What's the deal with game character modelers and wrinkles?

I posted back to this comment and said that MD doesn't do these wrinkles because it's attempts to drape realistically. I don't know how many times I see a game character standing stock still with what appears to be well fitted garments and they are covered in wrinkles and folds. Why do they do this? I could understand if the garments were too large or small, certainly ill fit causes pulling or sagging.

Also, during animation, garments will contort somewhat. So I can understand why a few 'fake' wrinkles might help for realism while walking or fighting.

Any game folks out there? Why does the industry do this?

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wetcircuit
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Re: What is the deal with game character wrinkles?

Post by wetcircuit » Sat Aug 08, 2015 10:52 pm

LOL well the answer is pretty obvious – it's suppose to look "cool"....

This originally started as busy surface detail in specialFX movies (think StarWars-era spaceship hulls) called "greebles" (or "nurnies") - cosmetic pipes, hatches, crevasses, joints, ledges, jutting windows and docking bays etc etc that are suppose to give a sense of scale to an otherwise large formless surface. For examples: the Death Star and the Borg Cube are two simplistic geometric shapes which, without all the tiny surface details, would look ridiculously unintimidating. Needless to say there wasn't a whole lot of functional purpose to these details, often added by secondary artists.

In the game world, there is an advantage to having a low-poly mesh enhanced with high-detailed normal and ambient occlusion maps to create the same impression of surface scale – and there are memory advantages to dynamically changing the maps at a given distance to the camera, as more detail is necessary in close ups and less detail when far away. It's now such a hardcore cliche that so-called AAA games all employ highly detailed image maps like this, models covered in bogus details which are non-functional. Space stations are covered in "grunge" and worn metal surfaces (where dirt and weathering would never exist), and clothes are covered in wrinkles as if everyone is wearing vacuum-shrunk parachute pants from the '80s.... I once saw an exhibit of 16th Century Italian art student sketches where the effect of da Vinci's exquisite musculature was badly copied by lesser artists that had no real concept of anatomy – the result was weird, lumpy bodies that looked like taxidermy disasters.

The typical workflow for game clothes would be to model a low-detail outfit in MD, export to 3DCoat or zBrush, retopo the mesh, and paint details onto high-res maps (or bake the maps off a high-res mesh). My experiments in MD have involved exporting a "low res" mesh with a particle setting of ~24, and a "high res" mesh of the same project with a particle setting of ~6 where I have cranked up the warp and weft to create deliberate wrinkles in the clothes.... I use 3DCoat to bake normal and occlusion maps off the highres version, and transfer them to the low-res mesh which has the exact same UV map from MD.

Previously I had suggested that a game engine forum be created here since there are a lot of issues specific to game engines (although not specific to any particular engine), but that suggestion was shot down by the editor here. This "wrinkle" workflow would have been one of those topics.

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LoriGriffiths
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Re: What is the deal with game character wrinkles?

Post by LoriGriffiths » Sat Aug 08, 2015 11:30 pm

WetCircuit,

Great explanation. That makes perfect sense. Those wrinkles just creeped their way into being and now it's the norm. I still think it looks silly, but I'm a garment realist. I want people to think that my garments are photos of the real thing. I don't think I'd do well in the game side of things.

I am the admin and due to my lack of knowledge about game development, I didn't understand how a game category in this forum was relevant. You've certainly proven your point with this post. I'll create a category for you and put a copy of your post in it for others.

Thanks so much.

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Re: What is the deal with game character wrinkles?

Post by MorgaineChristensen » Sun Aug 09, 2015 12:27 am

I don't know about other gaming engines but having been a member of Second Life for 10 years, mesh, with or without folds, is only a recent option. But, if I am reading what the poster wrote correctly, prior to mesh, clothing depended on In-World created prims (flexible prims for skirts, sleeves, hair, etc) or sculpted pieces (sleeves, collars, wristbands, etc.) or system layer clothing. It was flat 2D textures applied to the In-World clothing system. SL had a UV Map template for the mesh avatar, which could and still can be imported into Photoshop/Gimp and clothing textures created. As such and over time, those with creative skills and the clamor from Residents for more realistic looking clothing, saw the advent of shadowing, wrinkling, and shading of the flat 2D clothing textures. Imaginary folds and shading added depth and realism to once flat and blah clothing. It is an art form unto itself and has progressed over time.

My guess would be, from the pictures in the link, this is something similar. A graphic enhancement to the mesh to provide added details, which AO, shadow, and other mapping may not be detailed enough or subtle enough for. Or, if some of the mesh is not draped say in MD but flat, like a shirt under a jacket, handcrafted wrinkles or shadows can take a flat mesh shirt and make it into something much much more realistic. Also, if you are worried about the global cost of polys, and lord knows MD items can be pretty high in polys...even after retopolgizing elsewhere...the savings using graphic illusions can be quite useful. Plus, you have to remember, in a gaming environment, your camera will not be zoomed in on the detailing usually. The graphic artists are going for illusion of shadows and folds to add to the over all experience.

Here are a couple of examples that might be useful to those asking you those questions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSZt0yObxKw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihLtxqQ9zWs

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Re: What is the deal with game character wrinkles?

Post by curiocrucible » Mon May 09, 2016 8:59 pm

Hi Lori. Sorry for ressurecting an old thread, but I think I can help shed a bit more light on this; I make clothing items for video games all day at work. I suspect that the original question wasn't so much about adding unnecessary noise to clothing items. We don't want that in games, or anywhere else I imagine :) I think they were asking about memory folds, and making the clothing look less showroom perfect. In the games industry, Marvelous Designer saves us a lot of time, but it only gets us so far in terms of creating clothing items that looks naturalistic and lived in, as opposed to the more clean and conceptual look that MD alone tends to provide. So once we're done building the general asset in Marvelous, we always bring the clothing into ZBrush. There, we will do a number of things:
  • - Make primary form adjustments that we feel will be faster to accomplish sculpturally than by fiddling with a simulation.
    - Define specific types of seams, including waffling and smaller tension folds along the seams. These often need to hold up fairly well to close camera shots.
    - "Hero" folds and secondary forms that are shown in the target concept art, but which we may be having a difficult time replicating with simulation.
    - Memory folds
    - Surface detail that helps define what type of material the cloth is made of
    - Damage
The degree to which you do those things in ZBrush obviously depends a great deal on the type and genre of game you're making. But if you're working on some third person, post apocalyptic game with a realistic art direction, where the game camera can get quite close to characters, you can begin to imagine the level of detail (including wear and tear) that needs to go in to the clothing for a game like that. Some studios even go so far as to 3D scan clothing items to get around some of these limitations.

Linked below are some examples from a recently released game. They do a good job of representing the sort of work we do in games now.

https://www.artstation.com/artist/xenia

Examining her work, I think you'll see that there is a good deal shown there that Marvelous is very capable of doing on its own, and also a fair amount that Marvelous simply won't do. I guarantee that any techniques you can share that address some of the things most of us are doing sculpturally will spread like wildfire though the video game character art community, and will be very appreciated.

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LoriGriffiths
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Re: What is the deal with game character wrinkles?

Post by LoriGriffiths » Tue May 17, 2016 4:26 pm

Thank you for the nice post. You've explained it very well and I must agree. I can do many things in MD, but the seam puckering and 'lived in' wrinkles just don't happen in the program. I downloaded a trial of the Clo3D Atelier program (same people who make MD, but this one is for apparel) to see what it can do. It has normal maps and can pucker seams and show threads at seams, but no export. I don't know how they are doing it in the program, but exporting it is probably an issue.

I've spent several weeks trying to come up with some type of solution for this. Since I have the patterns (drafting using PatternMaker PRO), I essentially have the UV map. I've tried countless methods to apply displacement/bump/normal information running along a seam but haven't been successful.

I'm sure I'd get a lot of people's attention, if I could solve this. Just not sure I can. :cry:

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Re: What is the deal with game character wrinkles?

Post by Rosemaryr » Tue May 17, 2016 4:35 pm

Lori... I, also, am trying out the 30 trial of Atelier, and noted that puckering effect.
I *believe* that it is embedded in their rendering engine process... they take a normals map tile and apply it on the fly to the specified seams/internal line. Since it is only a render trick, it would not be applied to the mesh itself on export.
It *might* be possible to produce a normal map for the complete garment, incorporating that effect, for export and re-application in a gaming environment, but that is something that a texture/mapping expert would have to work on.

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LoriGriffiths
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Re: What is the deal with game character wrinkles?

Post by LoriGriffiths » Tue May 17, 2016 4:44 pm

Rosemary, I'm sure you are correct. I found the normal maps within the application files for puckering and such. Tiling along a straight line is doable, but there are all kinds of problems trying to do it along a curve, such as the hem of a circle skirt.

I haven't given up on the concept, but so far I find more problems than solutions.

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Re: What is the deal with game character wrinkles?

Post by Tarby » Thu Sep 22, 2016 2:59 pm

I can do many things in MD, but the seam puckering and 'lived in' wrinkles just don't happen in the program.
That's not really the case. One trick is to use three lines: the edge (which is there anyway); a stitch line with elastic switched on at 100% and strength of around 50; and a line that sits between the two which has positive elasticity (and the fold rendering switched off) at around 20% or 30% strength. This is the standard tshirt with the above applied.
MD_pucker_test.png
MD_pucker_test.png (161.28 KiB) Viewed 4530 times

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LoriGriffiths
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Re: What is the deal with game character wrinkles?

Post by LoriGriffiths » Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:27 pm

Tarby,
Thanks for the great examples. MD has changed quite a bit lately and you can get much more realistic renders in the program.

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