Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Fantasy medieval clothing: Brigid set

I joined the Osgiliath roleplay community, and developed a bartender character. I looked for female commoner fantasy medieval clothing, and couldn't find anything that really suited the character I had in mind.

So I made my own.

I went back to NCI's wall, read the tutorials for clothing making, and grabbed both Robin Wood's and Chip Midnight's variations on the standard SL clothes-making templates.
Robin's templates are with her SL Tutorials. Read the tutorials while you're at it!
Chip's templates are hosted by OnRez, who also have a web-shop for SL stuff.

I went to the Gimp and made my own blended versions of the templates; open Robin's, save as to change the name. Open Chip's, select a useful layer, copy, go back to the blended template, paste as new layer. Repeat until I'd grabbed everything I wanted from Chip's template. Save (with the new name).

I like to put seams on an object - these are grayscale semi-transparent pixels along the hemlines and natural join-lines of a garment. So every time I develop a new set of seamlines, I put them in my master templates. I made princess line seamlines for the Florence set, and added them to my master templates (as well as to the Florence set).

In among my research (google-browsing for 'make SL clothing' and so on), I discovered that the UVMapper Pro demonstration version is a great way to preview SL clothing. To give credit where it's due, that's Olila's idea. Read all her stuff about preparing to make SL clothes and skins: she's smart.

With the preparation Olila recommends doing, the clothes-making becomes mostly art. She's covered almost all the science.

Another option for trialling your clothing is to upload to the Beta grid. That's free, and it lets you see your stuff under SL lighting conditions, and exactly as it shows on an avatar.

That said, DO use UVMapper (or uploading to the beta grid), and DO extend your garments a little past the seams. Even when I thought I had seam matching right, it turns out that I didn't always - I'd end up with a bit of avatar skin showing through, or mismatched seams, or if I'd gotten lazy with keeping borders controlled, a splash of colour across the seamline.

Again, once you've got everything controlled, clothes-making is art. I use the Gimp, and I make LAVISH use of layers. I set visible only the layers I need to see with, or the layers I want to compare with.

I use a layer as a backdrop (white or black), so I can see what I'm doing.

I use a layer as the base colour for the garment.I use another layer as the textured base colour for the garment.

I use a layer for the seams. (Sewing seams, not mesh seams.)

I use a layer each for buttons, grommets, laces, and other details.I use a layer for highlights and shadows.

In the Brigid set, I put aprons on the skirts. The aprons were tied in the back with bows, and had lace and/or two shades of optional embroidery.

The skirt file has these layers:
A base shade for each colour of skirt.
A textured colour layer for each colour of skirt.
A layer for the apron.
A layer for the highlights and shadows on the apron, bow, and apron strings.
A layer for the lace.
A layer for the bright embroidery.
A layer for the faded embroidery.

The waist cinchers for the Brigid set took some work to get the cincher edges and straps positioned right. This involved painting each guess, saving to a .jpg, uploading into UVMapper, seeing where I was wrong, going back and repeating the process. But once I got it right, the rest is colouring within the lines.

Okay, it's also getting the texture right. I'm not going to give you exactly how to achieve each texture I did - a girl has to keep some secrets if she's going to sell her stuff!

But the important thing with the textures is this: create the texture across the whole garment at once. Don't make a small texture and tile it(unless you're looking for exactly that effect, such as some repeated lace patterns or modern curtain patterns).

The other thing I did with the leather cincher: once the texture was partially made, I went to each seam on the front of the cincher, cut the texture section at the mesh seam, and pasted that onto the matching seam on the back half of the cincher. Then I blended and smoothed the paste line until it looked like the pasted bit had always been there. I did this before I noised the texture, so the noise-ing would help with the blending.

I won't explain how to highlight/shade the grommets: there are plenty of 'how to add highlights and shades' tutorials on the web.

The cinchers have these layers:
Base shade.
Textured layer.
Grommets layer.
Laces layer (yes, these are highlighted/shaded too!).
Seams layer.
Shading layer.

The blouses are very similar to the skirts. The texture on the textured blouses matches the skirts, as does the lace.

How I made the lace and the embroidery? Pixel by pixel. Simply zoom-in, choose a small brush size, paint the image you want pixel by pixel, zoom out, cut, paste where you want it.

How I made the faded version of the embroidery? Take the bright version, paste onto a new layer. Select the colour to work with. Look at the RGB and HSV sliders. Slide one - and only one - slider to make the colour paler. Select by colour, replace old with new.

How I chose the skirt colours? For each colour that was in either the bright or faded embroidery, I used that colour for a skirt. The colours that weren't in the embroidery, used the RGB values for colours that were, changing only one slider. This kept all the colours within the same colour family as each other, with the embroidery tying everything together.

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