Pauline Boiteux is a Technical Artist in the Substance 3D Assets team, with particular experience in the areas of procedural fabrics and the creation of leathers. Here she discusses the creation of clothing scenes using assets from the Substance 3D Assets library.
For some time, we’ve steadily been increasing the number of assets available on the Substance 3D Assets platform. This project stemmed from a release of over 2000 meshes in 2021; the artists of the 3D assets team were tasked with testing out the practical usability of these assets, with an open brief to create any scene we wanted. I’m personally more used to creating renders of single objects, and the idea of making a whole scene seemed to be quite a challenge, at first.
Sweaters on a Chair
I decided to create two scenes, or perhaps two different versions of the same scene. My first version of the scene was essentially to test out the waters, to see how long each step would take, and determine what sort of post-production would be necessary. That sort of thing.
For this first scene, I chose to create images of pullovers quite impulsively – the project came at a time when I was quite cold, and I was searching online for a wool pullover. The aesthetic of some of the clothing I found on Pinterest really appealed to me. Sometimes there’s a deeper context to an image – and sometimes there isn’t, and it’s just a collection of objects and colors that you personally find attractive.
I went looking for references, and came across some images of stacked sweaters that really projected a comfy, soft, bright kind of mood.
For this scene, I just took meshes from the asset library exactly as they were – the chair, the pullovers, and the scarf. I put everything together; this stage was not only really fast, but it also allowed me to play around with a lot of trial and error in terms of the mood, lighting, and overall look of the final image.
Then I textured my objects, and the texturing phase was also extremely quick; I essentially just found some textures I liked in the asset library, and drag-and-dropped them onto the models. For this first scene, it’s really the lighting that brings everything together. I had some help with this – I discussed this with Anaïs Lamelliere, the 3D Assets team’s Color & Material Designer. She has an innate feeling for the right colors to use, and she really helped me to create an effective scene.
I was happy with the result for that first image. It ended up being selected as the banner for the Fashion collection in the 3D Assets library.
The Corset Scene
My second version of the scene was more involved. At this point, I had a better idea of how long each step would take, so I decided that I could spend more time on my hero asset, the corset, knowing that I’d be able to assemble the rest of the scene quite rapidly afterwards.
Again, my reasoning for the scene with the corset was more considered. I’ve had the idea for some time that lace, and underwear, can look fantastic in 3D. So here I took the opportunity to create my own ‘hero underwear asset,’ to see how good it could look. This whole image was partly a proof of concept, for sure.
I started by looking for some new references, keeping the same cozy, intimate mood in mind, and I came across some gorgeous pieces of lingerie. I really love the imagery of these pictures. These creations really have a precious aura about them.
With the concept for the scene in mind, I began searching for the assets that would go around the lingerie hero asset, from packaging to accessories, and even windows. I quickly put the scene together.
The next step was to jump into Marvelous Designer to create my own specific mesh for the corset.
With this done, I created a tailored material for it in Substance 3D Designer, and used materials from the Substance 3D Assets library to texture the rest of the scene, and to quickly iterate.
I spent some time looking for the best materials to use – mostly moving sliders around for ages. Using Substance 3D Painter, and once again with help from Anaïs, I was able to give the scene a more defined look, and coherence overall.
And that was it.
There weren’t really any big technical challenges – using ready-to-go assets like this really makes life easier. I suppose the big challenge for me was that I tend to spend more time than necessary on some of the details – tiny things that probably nobody will even notice. And just on a time management level, that can make it a rush to hit deadlines. Here, because the project moved along quite quickly, I had to teach myself to trust the pre-prepared assets we have available, and to not spend too much time trying to personalize everything. I found that using ready-made assets like this allows you to focus on what’s important, and to spend your time and effort on the parts of your scene that really matter.
I completed this project very quickly. It took me maybe 2 days to finish – though, that said, I already have some experience as a 3D artist. Even so, I think this project illustrates how it isn’t so difficult to get a really attractive render in 3D, when you have the right tools – and, here, I principally used the Substance 3D Asset library, and Painter. Like this, you can quickly create images that are approaching a professional level of quality.
I think that, for relative newcomers to 3D, it isn’t necessary to be intimidated by the thought of getting into the field, thinking that it will require a lot of work. Yes, there is a learning curve at the start, because you have to have a minimum familiarity with the tools. But once you have that base level of knowledge, then it’s possible to create good results very quickly – as this project demonstrates. If 3D is something that strikes you as interesting – or, honestly, if maybe you work in a graphical sector, and having a knowledge of 3D is something that will save you time in your work – then you just have to jump in and try it. It isn’t as difficult as it might seem from the outside.