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Creating Conforming Clothing For Poser Figures

For Poser 7 as well as Pro Pack, Poser 5 or 6

Building unique conforming clothing for Poser figures can be a challenging task- here's a step-by-step guide to the process.Making Poser clothing is not terribly difficult from a technical standpoint, but there are several things to consider before plunging in and getting started.

First, if you plan to make conforming clothing, which is easier to use although harder to make than dynamic clothing, then you need to decide for which figure you are building the clothing. As we will make clear, different figures have different shapes and in many cases different joint structures, and items of clothing built for one figure generally won't work well- if at all- with another.

The first step in making conforming clothing is to build the actual polygon mesh for the item in question, and import it into Poser as a Wavefront OBJ file. For a description of how to model clothing meshes using our Shade application, take a look at our tutorials "" and "".

Then, in brief, to turn an imported polygon mesh into an item of conforming clothing there are three steps that need to be performed.

1. Scale and position the item so that it properly covers the figure for which it is intended, when that figure is in their zeroed pose. The "zeroed pose" is the pose that the figure assumes in the Setup Room, not necessarily the pose that they have when first brought into a Poser scene. If this means going back into the modeling app, tweaking the clothing and re-importing, then so be it- the clothing absolutely must cover the figure properly in the zeroed pose for the next two steps to produce anything of value.

2. In the modeling application or using Poser's Grouping Tool, group the polygons of the clothing such that they correspond as closely as possible to the existing body part polygons of the figure. At the same time, you'll need to name the polygon groups such that they match the internal names of the bones of the Poser figure for which they're intended.

For example, the default P6 James figure's bones are (exactly) hip, abdomen, chest, neck, head, leftEye, rightEye, lCollar, rCollar, lShldr, rShldr, lForeArm, rForeArm, lHand, rHand, lThigh, rThigh, lShin, rShin, lFoot, rFoot, plus individual bones for the fingers and toes which are only relevant if you're building gloves or articulated shoes. You can find these names by examining each body part in the Properties tab of the Parameters and Properties palette.

3. Bring the clothing into the Setup Room and apply the bone structure of the figure that's going to use the clothes. You'll need to delete bones that aren't relevant to the clothing item you're rigging (head, neck, chest and arms for a pair of pants, for example) and you'll want to make sure that the bones are well-centered within the right parts of the figure, but if you've set up and named your groups properly, the bones will automatically apply to the right polygons, and the rig is the same as that of the underlying figure so the clothing should conform properly.

This tutorial will address the second and third steps in detail, as these are the ones that can be done within Poser itself and require the most explanation.

The first thing you need when creating conforming clothing is a polygon mesh in the right shape. As noted above, the mesh should cover the figure with which you want to use the clothing when that figure is in its "zeroed" pose. To get a mesh item into Poser, you'll need to use a modeling application like Shade to build it, then export it in one of the file formats that Poser can import. We suggest Wavefront OBJ, as this is Poser's native file format and offers excellent texture-mapping options and robust geometry.

To bring the mesh into Poser, use the File>Import menu, and choose the appropriate geometry file type (Wavefront OBJ, 3DS, LWO, 3DMF, DXF, etc.); be sure that the "weld identical vertices" option is checked in the Prop Import Options dialog.

With the clothing prop in the scene, use the Parameter dials in the Parameter Dials palette (Window menu, choose "Parameter Dials") to move, orient and scale it as needed to get it into position- this will be the default "pose" for the clothing, and it should always be based on the "zeroed" pose of the figure that will be wearing the item. You can download a sample zeroed pose for James at the bottom of this tutorial; to create a zeroed pose, just set up a figure in their default pose, then go through the body parts and set all bend, twist and back-front parameters of all the joints to zero.

If using the parameter dials to modify the clothing prop doesn't give enough control to get the item to fit, it may be necessary to either use Poser's magnet tools to deform the geometry slightly, or to return to the original modeling application and modify the item slightly in order for it to fit properly.

Once the prop is imported, scaled and positioned properly, save the scene. The next step is to use Poser's Grouping Tool to create polygon groups in the prop, to facilitate adding bones and to ensure that the item bends in the right places to properly cover the figure. You may be able to create groups in your modeling application; if so, it's important to ensure that the groups you create have the same names as the body part groups of the figure that will be wearing the clothing. The reason for this is that the best way to rig an article of conforming clothing is to duplicate the exact bone structure of the underlying figure, and the best way to accurately control which bone attaches to which group of polygons is to name the polygon groups with exactly the same names as the bones that control them. Thus, to create an article of clothing for James, you would want to use James' bone structure, thus you'd want your polygon groups named identically to James' body part groups, as follows-

To do this, select the clothing prop and click the Grouping Tool. The prop will turn red, to indicate that all its polygons are selected in the current group, while all other items in the scene will turn charcoal grey. We suggest setting your Document Display Style to Flat Lined or Lit Wireframe to best show the polygon structure.

The next step is to create new polygon groups for the various body parts of the clothing item. In the Grouping Tool palette, click the New Group button and name the new polygon group. As noted above, be sure that the name you give the new group corresponds to the name of the body part of the figure wearing the clothing. Now, click the Add button (on the Grouping Tool palette, with the plus sign) and click, or click-and-drag, to select polygons for the new group. Here we have created a chest group for the jacket-

- and we can continue creating additional groups- an abdomen group, groups for lCollar and rCollar, etc. Check the groups to ensure that no polygons have been left out- you can check the Show multigrouped faces and Show non-grouped faces options to check your work.

One additional point must be raised here. As noted in the Poser 6 Tutorial Manual (page 331-334), any two polygon groups that are touching must have a parent-child relationship or tears in the geometry will appear when the model bends in that area. Thus as shown below, if you have part of the arm sharing an edge with the abdomen, for example, then when that part of the arm bends it'll leave the abdomen completely as the abdomen isn't the parent of the arm. For the same reason, you don't want to have three polygon groups all contacting each other, as two of those groups will either be "siblings" or worse and they'll split when they go to bend.

When the grouping is done, click the Setup tab to bring your clothing object into the Setup Room, to apply a bone structure.

In the Setup Room, you can create your own bone structure or use an existing one from the Figure Library. Since we're creating an article of clothing which is intended to be worn by the default James figure, we'll try to match James's bone structure. This ensures that the clothing will both bend in more or less the same way that James does, and that it will conform properly (since conforming relies on having the bones of the clothing named exactly the same as those of the underlying figure.)

To create a bone structure for the jacket, you will ned to use the Bone Tool-

- to draw the bones of the figure, which will both allow the clothing to bend and, if the bones are properly named and positioned (and this is the tricky part) allow the jacket to conform to the underlying figure. Theoretically, you could simply use the bones for whichever figure will be wearing the clothing, but in practise this doesn't work as well as it should. Thus, creating an entirely new bone set and then adjusting it is prefereable. However, the bones must be given the same internal names as the polygon groups that we created earlier, to allow the bones to work with the polygons and to conform to the bones of the "base figure" which will be wearing the clothing.

With all bones in place and the jacket in position, you can now go back to the Pose Room. If Poser alerts you that some polygons aren't grouped to bones, then you'll need to cancel your return to the Pose Room and use the Grouping Tool to make sure there aren't any ungrouped polygons in your clothing prop, and use the Properties Palette to ensure that your bones are properly named.

You'll also want to make sure that the bones you've created are sized and positioned properly, to allow the jacket to bend in the right places to properly conform to the figure wearing it. If the bones aren't placed or sized right, the conform operation can produce some very odd results! You can take the "base figure" (James, Jessi, etc.) into the Setup Room and take screenshots of their bone layout, to give you some references to use when positioning and sizing your item's bones. Note that even after the item is rigged, you can always go back to the Setup Room to fine-tune your bones before adding the new item to the Library.

Once all the polygons are grouped and the bones are positioned and sized, you should be able to go back to the Pose Room and work with your new clothing a bit- to add it to the Library, so you can re-use it in other documents, pose the item and set up the camera to get a good view, then in the Library palette, navigate to the directory (in the Figures category for preference) in which you'd like to save your item, and click the Add to Library button (with the + sign) at the bottom of the Library palette.

Now your clothing is done- you should be able to bring it into a scene containing the base figure, select it, choose Conform To... from the Figure menu, choose the base figure in the resultant dialog and (provided you've set everything up properly) the clothing should snap to the base figure and follow its movements.

Congratulations- you've just built an item of conforming clothing!

Note that these same steps and procedures can be used to create unique poseable figures as well!