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Modeling a Cloak in LightWave
November 8, 2012
I'm going to be modeling a long cloak for a future character, so I figured I'd share the process here for those of you that are interested. This cloak will be created for DAZ 3D's "Genesis" figure.
Inspiration comes from the Lord of the Rings Gandalf character, as well as the Star Wars styled Jedi robes.

Skill level: moderate
Time Taken: about 2 hours

I start off loading up Genesis in the default T-position in LightWave. I exported the model from DAZ Studio and specified "LightWave" as the scaling size. This ensures that everything is done in the same scale for importing the clothing geometry back into DAZ Studio later.

I set my Genesis geometry to be on a background layer, and start with the sleeves on a new foreground layer. A simple cylinder is created to become the sleeve. I will do most of the modeling on only one side of the figure, and mirror it across later. As usual, I will be creating this clothing item using the sub-division surfaces method, so I will ensure that I only use quads (4-sided polygons), and I'll keep the geometry itself as clean and low resolution as possible. For the sleeves, I used a 6-sided cylinder as a base.

The sleeve is now converted to a sub-division object (Tab key in Lightwave), I also removed the end caps and added a loop to start defining the shape.

A few more edge loops are added to the sleeve, and I create a similar cylinder for the body shape. An important note is to be sure to use a shape that can be split down the center for our mirroring later. For simplicities sake, I used an 8-sided cylinder.

I now start adding detail to the torso cylinder. To do this - I add edge loops, and size/rotate them to follow the basic muscle shape of the body. I try to define the overall shape by adding as few polygons as possible.

The torso shape is now also converted to a sub-division object, and I removed two polygons near the shoulder to enable me to join in the sleeve. The cloak is beginning to take shape...

I now delete the right side of the model and mirror the left side over to see the full model. More detail is added with addition edge loops to define the torso shape better.

I delete the front rows of polygons to create an opening in the front, and I now will start on the hood. The edges around the neck are extruded up, and sized to start creating the required shape for the hood.

I continue extruding the top edge to cover the head.

Once I've reached the top of the hood, I created a couple of new polygons to bridge the top and bring the two sides together. I also scale and rotate the edge loops to define a better shape for the hood.

The bottom edge of the cloak is now extruded down to foot level, and I add edge loops for more detail. I've also rotated two polygons on the chest are to facilitate better polygon flow. I've started to create hanging fold detail by doing an edge bevel the length on the torso.

I constantly rework the mesh adding edge loops when I need more detail in an area. Getting an idea of how the folds will look can only be done by researching reference images. I use the spin quad tool quite often here to adjust the flow of the geometry to follow the direction a fold will lie.

More detail is added, with smaller folds starting to be created. Areas of the geometry that will be bending a lot like the elbows get extra geometry to enable a smooth bend.

I now create the inside and edge of the cloak by making a copy of it, flipping the polygons, and extruding the whole cloak inwards. By merging this new object with the original, I end up with a solid two sided object. I have also selected different areas of the object to define surface groups.

And that's about it for the modeling. I then created face groups, uv-mapped the object, and imported it into DAZ Studio. Using a combination of the Figure Setup, Transfer Utility, Joint Editor and Weight Map Brush Tools, I created a conforming wardrobe item that fits Genesis.

Here is the final (untextured) look of the cloak worn by my work-in-progress character:



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Thanks for sharing. Its great to see how you're focused on both expression and efficiency at the same time:0)

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