ATTENTION – In MD5, the Arrangement Points, Bounding Volumes and Measurements have been moved to the Avatar Editor. From the main menu, select Avatar > Avatar Editor.
Many of you may not be familiar with arrangement points and bounding volumes. These features allow you to place your patterns around the avatar in the 3D window before simulating.
The MD default avatars come with these features, but if you bring in your own avatar you’ll have to create them.
You may think this unnecessary, but using arrangement points can save you a lot of time and headache. Let’s look at a simple example of arranging patterns without using this feature.
This is a custom avatar that I created using Make Human. She’s proportioned a little more realistically than the MD default avatars. You’ll be seeing her a lot in upcoming videos.
Here’s a simple waistband that I’ve created. Watch what happens when I try to place it. Without arrangement points, it’s almost impossible to get it to work.
Now everything is in place, so we can simulate. See the issues that occur when the patterns that wrap around the avatar are placed flat?
I’ll show you how to create custom arrangement points for any avatar you choose. You can also create these for non-human items, if it will help you place patterns more efficiently.
Using Existing Files
You can also start this process with an existing set of bounding volumes and arrangement points. If you are just going to use an avatar briefly, this may be a good option. If you use it a lot, I would suggest that you create a good set from scratch. Either way, you need to understand the process to use them effectively.
If you want to bring in an existing set, use the Open button in the object browser and locate a saved Bounding Volume file. Do the same for the Arrangement Points file. Make sure they are matching files or you’ll have a real mess.
Mysterious Fit Button
You’ll notice there is a Fit button here in the Object Browser. According to the MD manual:
“Rearrange the arrangement bounding volume, which was fit on a previous avatar, to fit the current avatar when changing the avatar’s pose or loading an avatar for a different gender. Find and click the menu indicated in location > The arrangement bounding volume will be fitted according to the new avatar’s joints.”
I tried to make this work several times and it never did. If you are new to MD, you don’t have any files to open, so you may think to use the MD default arrangement point files. Good luck finding them. On my Windows machine, I finally found them hidden in a temporary directory. Even then, the Fit button didn’t work at all.
The Fit feature used the joints settings for reference. My avatars have no joint information, so therefore, it doesn’t work.
Creating Custom Points
Now I’ll show you how to create custom points. First, you may want to open an MD default avatar, turn on the show bounding volumes and show arrangement points and then take a screenshot so you have a reference to look at as you work on yours.
To create your own custom set of bounding volumes and arrangement points for your avatar, you’ll want to open or import your avatar without garments.
Bounding Volumes (BV)
You can’t create arrangement points without a bounding volume. We’ll create the bounding volumes first.
Select the A-BV tab in the Object Browser at the top right of the program. Select the Add button. You may need to select it after adding to see the properties open. You’ll see that you have a cylinder in the 3D view. Use the gizmo to place the cylinder where you like it.
You need to use the Height and Radius values in the Property Editor to shape the cylinder. Height is how tall the BV is. Radius X is the width, side to side and Radius Y is the depth, front to back.
Your goal is to surround the avatar with the cylinder. For the most part, you don’t want to penetrate the model. After you have the BV in a good position, give it a name. Use something descriptive and make sure you note whether it is the left or right on symmetrical cylinders.
Repeat this process for all the BV you want around your avatar. Refer to your reference images to get an idea of good placement.
Arrangement Points (AP)
In the Object Browser, select the A-Point tab. Click the Add button. You may need to select it after adding to see the properties open. Arrangement Points are children of Bounding Volumes. You can’t place a point without it referencing a BV. Select a BV from the dropdown list in the Property Editor.
Use the X, Y, Offset and Wrap Direction values to place the point where you want it. The X value designates the placement on the X axis, or around the BV cylinder left and right. The Y value on the Y axis is for placement up and down on the BV.
Offset determines how closely a pattern will ‘hug’ the bounding volume. You can put the point directly on the cylinder at 0 behind it at a negative number and in front of it with a positive number.
The Wrap Direction is not overly obvious. The MD manual says nothing about it and the only distinction I could find was the lapping behavior. If the setting was Down, it lapped the left side of a piece over the right on placement. If the setting was Up, it lapped the right side of the piece over the left. Of course, this only applies if the pattern piece is long enough to encircle the avatar, like a waistband or such.
Think about the arrangement point as you place it and which type of patterns will use it. This will better facilitate the values you need. Create as many points as you want. You can always change these settings or add more in the future. So don’t sweat it too much.
Testing & Saving
After you’ve got your bounding volumes and arrangement points, it’s a good idea to test what you’ve created to make sure you have everything covered.
There are several saves that I would recommend. I would suggest that you create a folder for each of your avatars. You can put all the files associated with it there for easy access. I like to keep my project for measuring the avatar and all of these other files together.
First, if you’ve created any garments for testing, delete them all. Then save the whole project by giving your avatar a name. Now when you want to start a new project with this avatar, everything will be ready to go. This is File > Save as Project.
You will also want to save your avatar as an avatar, too. Select File > Save as Avatar. Your Bounding Volumes and Arrangement points will save with the avatar. This allows you to swap out avatars on a project without reopening all the other files.
In addition, you should save both your Bounding Volume file and Arrangement Point file. In the Object Browser, click the Save button. Name your file with the avatar’s name followed by anything else you may need to know.
Per Pattern Adjustments
There are features available on a per pattern basis, not just the Arrangement Point. If you have a pattern that is too tight to the body or too loose, look in the Property Editor at the bottom under Arrangement. You can adjust these on a pattern-by-pattern basis, if the defaults you’ve set on Arrangement Points don’t work properly for that pattern.
This should give you a good start for creating your own custom Bounding Volumes and Arrangement Points. If you have an avatar that you use a lot, you’ll find yourself creating custom placements.
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