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How to export a garment from Marvelous Designer to Maya (for MetaHuman)
HOW TOs > MARVELOUS DESIGNER

(This a ROUGH document, use at your own risk!)

Once you’ve finished your MetaHuman clothing in Marvelous Designer, how do you export it to Maya?

IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that the process below uses a combination of MAYA 2022 and MAYA 2024, because that’s what I use (as of June 2024). I use Maya 2022 to import the MetaHuman from Bridge, and Maya 2024 to refine the clothing’s mesh etc.

Example

In the following example, I’ll be using a MetaHuman I’ve made called “Svetka“.

She is a female, medium height and normal weight. (ie. f_med_nrw)

And I’ll be fitting a ‘pencil skirt’ outfit from Marvelous Designer (one of the free clothing items in the CLO asset store) using Maya.

Step 1. REFINE THE UV SHELLS

You need to refine your U-V shells, so they are ready for export:

  • In your 2D pattern window, make sure none of your patterns are overlapping.
  • Once you’ve done that, select all the patterns in the 2d window.
  • Go WINDOW > UV EDITOR.
  • Select everything, and then click the “UV PACKING” icon (its the icon on the right)
  • You might need to move the UV Editor window off to the side to be able to see the UV Packing popup window
  • Click RESET (down the bottom).
  • Change PADDING to “0.01”.
  • Turn on FIX SCALE RATIO.
  • Click Apply. (It can take a few minutes to process. You can see the progress in the bar on the lower left of the interface.)
  • Once it’s done, just double check that there’s definitely no overlapping UVs. There often still ARE weird things that you need to fix – like buttons that are still placed off in a random place, and still with many layers of them overlapping that you need to drag off onto their own. You need to go through and make sure everything is inside the UV 0-1 box.
  • Double check that the UVs do not touch the uv tile edge lines. Make sure they are definitely nowhere near the lines.
  • You can now close the UV Editor window

Step 2. SAVE THE PROJECT

If you don’t already have your project saved, you should save it with a specific name, so that you can re-do the export later if it’s incorrect.

Step 3. EXPORT THE FBX

Now you can export the FBX:

  • In the 2d Pattern window, select everything, then go to FILE > EXPORT > FBX.
  • Create a new folder for your garment – it will have texture sub-folders so you NEED to make sure you are saving into a NEW empty folder.
  • Name your FBX file, then click OK.
  • The “Export FBX” window will appear.
  • At the bottom of the window, click RESET.
  • Now, change “thick” to “thin“. This will change other settings too.
  • Now, turn OFF Select all avatars’.
  • Change it to MULTIPLE OBJECTS. Important: Do not use “single object”! I’ve found that if you use Single Object, Marvelous will attempt to merge items sometimes (especially with belts in my experience), so you are better off doing that yourself manually in Maya to avoid problems.
  • Set the Image Size to 8192 pixels. Otherwise the clothing textures will look grainy later on.
  • You might want to turn off some of the maps, depending on whether your materials will use them. (I usually turn off METALNESS and OPACITY if my garments have no metals or see-through areas.)
  • Scroll down, and set the scale to “CM”. Otherwise it will be the wrong size later.
  • Click OK.
  • It’s going to take a few minutes to save out the F-B-X file, but that’s normal.
  • Then you can save your project again and close Marvelous Designer.

Step 4. ‘FIX’ GARMENT

You can skip this step if you want to just try to rig / skin your garment “as it is” on your MetaHuman. Just jump straight to step 5!

In this step, we’ll go through how to prepare your garment for skinning, by:

  • Removing unseen mesh areas
  • Combining each piece of the garment as a single mesh to avoid problems later
  • Combining each piece as a single final garment

4A. PREPARE TO FIX

You might still have Maya 2022 or 2023 open, with the “_full_rig_01_Y-up.mb” scene open.

CLOSE that Maya entirely.

Then freshly open Maya 2024 or above.

You should use Maya 2024 or above for the next few steps, because they don’t involve the MetaHuman rig, and Maya 2024 has much better vertex merging results.

  • Create a blank new scene.
  • Import the FBX file you exported from Marvelous Designer.
  • Turn on the TEXTURED button in the viewport.
  • Take your time and carefully navigate around your entire garment to make sure that all the materials look correct.

What you’re really checking for is any strangeness that could be caused by accidental overlapping UVs. If you find any, go back to Marvelous and adjust the UVs and re-export, then re-import into Maya.

  • Save your new Maya project, in the same place that your “_full_rig_01_Y-up” file was saved. It will be somewhere like this:
    \Downloaded\DHI\akasda3_asset\8k\asset_source\
  • Name your new project with a name ending in:
    METAHUMANBODYTYPE_UEVERSION_GARMENTNAME_unrigged_garment
    (For example “f_med_nrw_UE5pt4_PENCILSKIRT_unrigged_garment.mb“)
  • It’s important to include a UE version, so later you’ll be able to ‘track’ whether files are compatible with the MetaHuman type that you want to use. (eg. MetaHuman bones were changed in UE5.4.)

You’ll be making a lot of changes so its good to make sure you keep saving as you go.

4B. DELETE UNSEEN FACES

Now you need to go through your mesh and delete any faces in your garment that will never be seen. Otherwise later you will get strange bits of mesh poking through your garment because the skinning process gets confused.

(For example, if your character is wearing a shirt, and the shirt goes below the belt level and is tucked inside the pants, you need to now go in and delete those faces. Otherwise they will cause problems with skin weight painting later.)

What I usually do is:

  • Have a look and see if there are parts of the clothing that I want to remove – that is, parts that won’t be seen. (If there’s NOT parts you want to remove, skip onto step 6.)
  • Make sure the mesh is selected in the Outliner.
  • Make sure I’m in “Modeling” mode (in the dropdown that’s in the top left of the Maya interface).
  • Go to the MESH menu and choose SEPARATE. It might take a minute or two to process this.
  • Once it finishes, go through and hide various items to make things easier to see.
  • Then I select the things I want to work on, and click the ISOLATE button on the top of the viewport.
  • Then I right-click and hold and I go into face mode.
  • And delete rows of faces to break meshes up.
  • Then delete the remaining pieces.

Before you finish this step, make sure that your garment is a single mesh in the Outliner. If it isn’t:

  • Select all the individual elements.
  • Go to the MESH menu, Combine.
  • Then go to the poly modelling shelf, and click to delete history.

4C. MERGE VERTICES

Now we need to merge vertices.

IMPORTANTMerge vertices will NOT work unless you first MESH > COMBINE your meshes all together. Obviously, ‘combining’ is a different thing to MERGING,. However, by ‘combining’, you are then allowing Maya to merge the vertices together.

 

  • In the outliner, make sure the garment mesh is selected.
  • Go to the top MESH DISPLAY menu, unlock normals.
  • Then go to MESH DISPLAYsoften edge.
  • In the Poly Modelling shelf, click the icon to delete history.
  • Then go into vertex mode, by right click holding on the garment, and then clicking VERTEX.
  • Press ctrl shift A to select all vertices.
  • Then go to the “edit mesh” menu, and click the box next to merge.
  • Change the threshold input field to “0.01“.
  • And click merge.
  • Click to delete history again.

Now you need to check the vertices and re-merge if necessary.

  • Right-click hold on the garment, and click OBJECT MODE.
  • Make sure the garment is selected in the outliner.
  • And go to the top MESH menu, and click SEPARATE.
  • Click around the garment and look at how the mesh has separated.

If it separates into separate garments that really should be separate, like into a separate pants and shirt, that’s fine. But if pieces of fabric within the shirt, for example, are separate objects, you need to do some more merging. So:

  • Select the pieces that should be one mesh, and go to the MESH menu and click COMBINE.
  • Double click on the selection tool on the left of the interface, and make sure marquee is selected, and camera based selection is enabled.
  • In the viewport, right click hold on the garment and click VERTEX.
  • You might want to turn off the materials in the viewport, to make the next process easier.
  • Select two or three vertices that should be merged together.
  • And go to the EDIT MESH menu and go MERGE TO CENTER.
  • Go around the fabric until most of the vertices are merged.
    (To make it faster, you might want to set a key command for merge to center, or at least break off the edit mesh menu so its floating and its easier to click.)
  • Once you’re done merging vertices, right click hold and choose object mode.
  • Go up to the MESH menu and choose separate. If it won’t separate, you’ve successfully merged the fabric pieces together.
  • Right click hold and go into OBJECT mode.
  • Select the entire garment, and then go to the MESH menu and click COMBINE.
  • Then in the Poly Modelling shelf, click delete history.
  • In the Outliner, make sure that there is a single mesh.
  • If there are any extra polysurface items in the Outliner, you can go ahead and delete them.

 

REMEMBER!!

Remember to MERGE vertices of your SHIRT PROPS (badges, etc) to your SHIRT. And merge your PANT PROPS (gun holsters etc) to your PANTS.

 

4D. SPREAD UVs OVER MULTIPLE TILES (optional)

Now might need to change your UV tiling from a single tile (0-1) to multiple ones, but only if you are doing cinematics with the camera close. Otherwise, the textures will be TOO BLURRY.

So to adjust the UV shells so they span over multiple tiles (and are therefore higher resolution):

  • Open “UV EDITOR”.
  • Right click hold and choose “UV SHELLS”.
  • Marquee-select all the shells.
  • Press W on the keyboard, and move it around so the largest uv shell piece is in the very center of one of the first uv tile.
  • Press R on the keyboard, and click drag the middle of the gizmo to resize, and expand it up so that that largest shell is the biggest it can be without going across a border of the uv tiles.
  • Press W on the keyboard, and just rearrange all the tiles so they fill three across and two up. (ie. a total of six UV tiles)
  • Make sure none of the UV shells overlap, and none of them cross any of the UV tile borders.
  • Go up to the IMAGE menu, and click the box next to IMAGE RANGE.
  • Go to EDIT > RESET SETTINGS.
  • Change Maximum U to 3, which is horizontal.
  • Change Maximum V to 2, which is vertical.
  • Click Apply.
  • Press the icon that looks like a mountain with a sun, next to the checkerboard icon. And you should see textures in each of the six tiles that we want. They will look strange and wrong, but as long as they exist in each tile, it’s fine.

    Okay, click that icon of the mountains again to hide the textures.
  • Now minimize the UV EDITOR window and go back to your main viewport.
  • The textures will appear all screwed up, but actually it’s fine because we’ll be re-making these in Substance Designer.
  • Rename garment in the Outliner by adding “_UVSIX” at the end. This will remind you that there are six UV shells that must be maintained throughout the process.

 

4E. EXPORT MESH AS FBX

  1. In the outliner, rename your single mesh as “Unrigged Garment“.
  2. Then make sure it’s selected.
  3. Go to FILE > export selection .
  4. Change the dropdown to FBX export.
  5. Change the current preset to, “Autodesk Media and Entertainment“.
  6. Then name the file, ending in, “_mayaunriggedgarment“.
    For example:
    f_med_nrw_UE5pt4_PencilSkirt_MayaUnriggedGarment.fbx
  7. And click the button, “Export Selection“.
  8. You can now save this Maya scene if you like. I tend not to bother, but you can save it with a similar name to the fbx, so, “mayaunriggedgarment”.

Now close Maya 2024, and open Maya 2022.

Open up your MetaHuman source file scene; the one ending in “_01_Y-up“.

For example:
Svetka_full_rig_01_Y-up.mb

Step 5. ADD KEYFRAMES TO YOUR MAYA 2022 METAHUMAN SCENE

You should have Maya 2022 open, with the MetaHuman source file project open – the one ending in “_01_Y-up“.

Now you need to go through and add keyframe poses to this scene, which will make skin weight painting possible in the next step.

This takes about ten minutes or so to setup. It’s WORTH it! Because you can reuse this scene over and over in the future to rig and weight-paint any garment for this sized MetaHuman Body.

SETUP THE SCENE

Okay, to set up the scene ready for skinning:

  • Deselect everything in the Viewport.
  • In the Outliner, twirl down rig > body_grp > geometry_grp then click on “body_lod1_grp” and press H to hide it.
  • Hide the “body_lod2_grp” as well, and the “body_lod3_grp“.
  • Twirl open “body_lod0_grp and hide the body and the flip flops objects, and make the “combined_lod0” item visible.
  • At the top of the Outliner, make sure that the “DHIheadgroup is also hidden.
  • Click “rig > head_grp” and press H to hide it.
  • In the Outliner, go to the SHOW menu and make sure “joints” are visible.
  • Turn on xray joints if its not already on. (Just above the viewport, its the icon third from the right)

CREATE KEYFRAMES

Now we need to set some keyframes, so we will be able to see the movement of our clothing as our skeleton moves.

  • In the Outliner, click on “root_drv
  • Go  SELECT > HIERARCHY.
  • Now, in the timeline, click on frame 0. (If there is no frame zero, change the left numbers below the time slider both to 0, then go to frame 0.)
  • Press S on the keyboard to set a keyframe.
  • Go to frame 20 and press S again.
  • Go to frame 40 and press S

Keep keep going like that until you get to frame 140.

SET POSE KEYFRAMES

Now, let’s set seven key poses.

  • Turn on the AUTO KEYFRAME TOGGLE button in the bottom right of the interface.
  • Go to frame 20.
    • Click the upper left arm of the skeleton.
    • Rotate it up, so the character has their arm directly outwards like a t-pose.
    • You’ll need to slightly adjust the clavicle as well.
    • Click the right arm, and rotate it up too.
    • And adjust the clavicle as well obviously.
  • Go to frame 40. Pose the character with their arms directly upwards (like they are reaching directly up to touch the ceiling).
  • Go to frame 60. Pose the arms beside the body.
  • Go to frame 80. Pose with the arms out directly to the front.
  • Go to frame 100. Bend the left thigh up, with the lower leg down. And point the foot down too.
  • Go to frame 120. Bend the right thigh up, with the lower leg down. And point the foot down too.
  • Go to frame 140. Bend both legs up, with feet flat,  like it’s sitting on a chair.

Those are the main poses that will help problem solve your “skin weight painting” in the next step.

  • Go up to FILE > SAVE SCENES AS
  • Remove the “01_Y-up” in the name, and replace it with “02_keyframes”.
For example:
Svetka_full_rig_02keyframes.mb
  • Click the button to save it.

Step 6. CHANGE MAYA VERSIONS

Okay, this is the point where I usually switch to Maya 2024, and make sure my Maya scene says its 2024 only. That’s because for some reason skin bindings and skin weights and NGskintools all work much better in Maya 2024. However, switching over means that you’ll lose the ability to animate the MetaHuman facial rig and other things inside the Maya scene, just  FYI.

  • Close Maya 2022.
  • Open Maya 2024.
  • Open the Maya scene that ends in “02_keyframes“.

RE-SAVE THE PROJECT

  • Go FILE > SAVE SCENE AS.
  • Remove the “02_keyframes” in the name, and replace it with “03_garmentrigging“. I usually put MAYA2024 in the name, just to remind myself not to open it in Maya 2022 (because once I use it in Maya 2024, the internal rigging stuff for MetaHumans will be broken).
For example:
Svetka_full_rig_04garmentriggingMAYA2024.mb

And click the button to save it.

Step 7. ADD & BIND THE GARMENT

Now let’s add the garment.

Go to FILE >IMPORT, and import the FBX file with the garment (either the one from Marvelous Designer or the one you adjusted in Step 4 and re-exported from Maya as an FBX).

Now we need to bind the clothing item to our skeleton.

But first, we need to check it.

Turn on TEXTURED in the viewport, if it isn’t already, and move around your clothing item. Make sure everything looks correct. You don’t want to move forward unless it definitely looks right, because the next steps are quite a lot of work.

Okay, now let’s bind the garment to the skeleton.

  1. So go to frame 0.
  2. In the outliner, right click on “body_joints“.
  3. Click “Select Set Members“.
  4. Now hold down control, and click your clothing item mesh.
  5. Now in the top left dropdown, make sure you’re set to Rigging, and then go up to the skin menu, and click the box next to Bind Skin.
  6. In the popup, set the options to be:
    • Joint Hierarchy“;
    • Closest distance“;
    • Classic Linear“;
    • Interactive“;
    • Neighbors“;
    • the checkbox “off” for “allow multiple bind poses“;
    • max influences set to “1”;
    • the checkbox “off” for “maintain max influences”;
    • the checkbox “off” for remove unused influences;
    • the checkbox “on” for colorize skeleton;
    • the checkbox “off” for “include hidden selections on creation”;
    • and lastly the “deformer mode” set to “Skin Cluster“.
  7. Then click “Apply and close“.

It will now be bound. Scrub through the timeline, and you’ll see it’s bound but not perfect yet. Go back to frame 0.

Step 8. COPY SKIN WEIGHTS.

The first step of fixing our skin weights will be to copy the existing weights from the MetaHuman’s skin.

  1. So in the “Outliner”, twirl down “rig > body_grp > geometry_grp > body_lod0_grp” and click the mesh ending in “_combined_lod0_mesh”.
  2. Hold down CONTROL on the keyboard, and click to select your garment.
  3. In the SKIN menu, click on COPY SKIN WEIGHTS.

If you scrub through the timeline you’ll see that it’s better but still quite messy, but we will now clean that up using NG Skin Tools.

But before we do, go up to FILE > SAVE AS. Replace the “03_garmentrigging” in the name with “04_skinbound“.

For example:
Svetka_full_rig_04_skinboundMAYA2024.mb

And click the button to save it.

Step 9. SMOOTH WEIGHTS WITH NGSKINTOOLS

HIDE SKIN

We don’t want to see the MetaHuman’s skin for this next stage, so:

  • In the Outliner, look inside “rig > body_grp > geometry_grp“, click “body_lod0_grp” and hide it.

SMOOTH WEIGHTS

Now we’re going to smooth the skin weights.

For this tutorial I’m going to be doing it the simplest way, using the plugin “ngSkinTools2“.

You’ll need to go ahead and installngSkinTools2″ if you haven’t already, and restart Maya. The plugin is free for testing use.

  1. Now make sure your clothing item is the only thing selected in the Outliner. It must be a SINGLE MESH. (Otherwise you will might need to go to Step 4 and combine the meshes etc.)
  2. At the top of the interface, click on the “ngSkinTools2” shelf tab.
  3. Click the green “ngSkinTools” button to activate it.
  4. In the “ngSkinTools” window, click “initialize skinning layers“.
  5. It will take a minute or two, but then a layer will appear that says “Base Weights“.
  6. Now at the bottom of the skin tools window, click “Paint“.
  7. Now we need to adjust the settings.
    • Make sure “Brush projection” is set to “Surface“.
    • Brush mode needs to be on “Smooth“.
    • And the brush shape needs to be the one on the right.
    • Change intensity to one.
    • Change brush radius to about eight.
    • Brush interactions should be on about five.
  8. Now, move around the clothing and look for areas where the texture is being stretched unnaturally, and click drag to smooth it.
  9. If you keep going around to problem areas like underarms and the crotch, you should find you get a good result after a while.
  10. Make sure that the crotch is symmetrical. Sometimes the stitch lines start moving to the side, which looks really unnatural.
  11. Also it’s important to be careful around hard items like buttons, because they shouldn’t be warped by the movement of the body. The fabric they are attached to can stretch a bit, but plastic buttons and metal zips and things like that shouldn’t be stretching, obviously.
  12. Now if you see the mesh splitting when it comes to edges like at the sleeves, it means you didn’t properly merge vertices earlier.
  13. Okay so once you’re finished smoothing the mesh, click PAINT in the NGSkinTools dialogue box, just to get out of that mode.

Now that skin weights are a fair way along, go up to the file menu, save scene as. Remove the zero 5 skin bound in the name, and replace it with “zero six, weight, painted“.

For example:
Svetka_full_rig_06weightpaintedMAYA2024.mb

And click the button to save it.

Step 10. FIX MESH COLLAPSES

During the process of smoothing, you may find that you can see the skin of the character poking through the mesh. Now, in unreal we’re going to be hiding the skin, so that won’t really be an issue. But, on the other hand, if the smoothing process has made body parts sort of collapse, like the person’s butt has caved in a bit, that should be fixed now.

What you can do is:

  1. Double click on the selection tool (the arrow in the options on the left in the Maya interface)
  2. Twirl down “soft selection“, and turn on “Soft Select“.
  3. Adjust the falloff radius to”5” or so.
  4. Then right-click and hold on the garment, and click VERTEX.
  5. Then click on a vertex in a collapsed area, and pull it out. (Just make sure you’re only making subtle changes, otherwise the mesh will start to look quite strange when your character is moving around.)

Step 11. REDUCE WARPING FROM HARD SURFACE ITEMS

Go through and try to reduce the warping and bending of hard items like buttons.

I tend to just try to smooth the area around the buttons when the character is in extreme poses, to try to lessen the effect of the bone movement on them.

Step 12. EXPORT GARMENT AS FBX

Okay, so you’re now ready to export the rigged, complete garment with correct skin weights, to FBX.

  1. In the Outlinerselect the garment mesh, and go to the top FILE menu, EXPORT SELECTION.
  2. Change the dropdown to FBX.
  3. Then name the file, ending in, “_mayarigged_garment“.
  4. Change the template to ‘AUTODESK MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT‘.
  5. Twirl down GEOMETRY, and make sure ‘SMOOTHING GROUPS‘ is turned off. This is important, because we need Unreal to make the smoothing groups.
  6. Twirl down ANIMATION, and turn off the checkbox for animation.
  7. Now click the “Export Selection” button.
  8. Save your Maya scene. So go up to the FILE menu, SAVE SCENE.

Now import the “shoes“, FBX, from marvelous designer, and go through the same process, of binding it to the skeleton, using bind skin. Then copy the skin weights. And smooth the skin weights with n g skin tools. Then select it in the outliner, and go file, export selected. Then name the file, ending in, “_mayarigged_shoesonly“. Then click export selected. And in the popup, just the same settings as we did before.

And we’re finished with Maya so you can close the program if you like.

Step 13. MAKE TEXTURES WITH SUBSTANCE PAINTER

Now we will make proper textures with Substance Painter, to later “plug-in” to your clothing’s materials in Unreal.

  1. Open Substance 3D Painter
  2. Go to FILE > NEW
  3. In the popup, set the TEMPLATE to “PBR – Metallic Roughness Alpha-blend (starter assets)
  4. Click SELECT and choose your FBX
  5. Make sure USE POLY MESH AS HIGH POLY MESH is SELECTED
  6. Enable the checkbox USE UV TILE WORKFLOW, and make sure it’s set to PRESERVE UV TILE LAYOUT PER MATERIAL (otherwise your six UV tiles will NOT be properly used)
  7. Make sure that “Auto-unwrap‘ is OFF
  8. Click OK
  9. When the model loads, click the CROISSANT logo
  10. Change OUTPUT SIZE to 8192
  11. ENABLE the option “USE LOW POLY MESH AS HIGH POLY MESH“.
  12. In the “Mesh Map Bakers”, you can disable items if you want to. But the default options work fine:
    • Normal
    • World space normal
    • ID
    • Ambient occlusion
    • Curvature
    • Position
    • Thickness
  13. Click BAKE SELECTED TEXTURES
  14. When the process is finished, click “RETURN TO PAINTING MODE
  15. Now click the material (in the top right corner) that you want to change first
  16. Drag a material or smart material over to the LAYERS, and start making your texture
  17. When you’re finished, go to the FILE menu and click EXPORT TEXTURES
  18. In the dialogue box, change the output directory to a new folder that specifies what these are textures for (eg. PoliceUniform_SUBSTANCEtex)
  19. Change the OUTPUT TEMPLATE to UNREAL ENGINE 4 (packed)
  20. Click EXPORT
Substance Painter Tips

If you’d like to apply textures in Substance Painter just to edges etc, check out this tutorial all about ‘generators‘.

 

Step 14. MAKE NAKED METAHUMAN WITH SHOES

Okay, before we go any further, we need to create a MetaHuman that hasn’t got any clothes of its own, for us to use inside Unreal.

So open up the MetaHuman Creator website in a web browser.

Login, and make a naked version of your MetaHuman. So remove the top clothes, bottom clothes, and change the shoes to be flip flops, so that the mesh will include the skin for the feet.

I usually name my MetaHuman something like “SvetkaNoClothes“.

Then I log out of the MetaHuman Creator website.

Step 15. CREATE UNREAL PROJECT AND IMPORT METAHUMAN

Okay so now in the epic games launcher, launch the engine.

  1. In the popup, click the “film, video and live events” tile on the left. Turn on Raytracing if you want. Set your project location, and name your project. And click CREATE.
  2. Once the project loads, go up to the top ribbon and click on the “Quick Add” icon, then click QUIXEL BRIDGE.
  3. In the window that pops up, click on the icon of a person and login.
  4. Then on the left, click MetaHumans, then My MetaHumans.
  5. Click the tile for your MetaHuman without clothes.
  6. Click to download it. Then click to Add it to your project.
  7. It might popup with various things, just agree to them. And then restart the engine when you’re prompted.
  8. Then in the content browser, open up the MetaHumans folder, and drill down until you find your MetaHuman blueprint, then drag it into the scene.
  9. And reset the location and rotation.

Step 16. CHANGE PROJECT SETTINGS

There are now two vital settings that you need to change in your Unreal Project settings.

  • Go to EDIT > PROJECT SETTINGS.
  • Type “allow static lighting” in the search bar. Turn OFF the checkbox for ‘Allow Static Lighting‘. (Why? Because by default, no ambient occlusion data from the Material will be applied to your model in Unreal. That’s why you must de-activate the setting to make it work. For more, check out this video by William Faucher from Feb 15, 2024.)
  • Type “virtual” in the search bar.  Enable the checkboxes for “Enable virtual texture support” and “Enable virtual texture on texture import”.
  • Now restart your Unreal project, to make those two new settings take effect.

Step 17. IMPORT GARMENT INTO UNREAL

In the content browser, make a new folder called “Imports”, and open it.

Then make a new folder called “Clothing”. Then open it.

Then make a new folder named for your garment type. Then open it.

Now right click, and click the top import option.

Find the FBX that you exported from Maya, ending in, “_07mayariggedgarment“.

In the next dialogue box, click to reset the settings.

Change the Skeleton to, “metahuman, underscore, base, underscore, skel”.

Then click IMPORT ALL.

Once it loads, if you get a “failed to merge bones” error, it’s really frustrating but it means you need to literally quit out of unreal and Maya, and restart your computer, then re-export from Maya again. That’s the only way I’ve found to fix this error.

Okay, if the import worked, a series of Materials will have been created.

Step 18. ADJUST MATERIALS

Now we need to apply our Substance Painter textures to our materials.

So in the Content Browser, make a new folder called something like “SubstancePainterTEX”, and open it.

Now, for each material of your garment, you need to do the following:

  • Make a folder for your the material and open it
  • Drag the substance PNG texture files from Windows Explorer into the Unreal Content Browser
  • Double click the ‘occlusion roughness metallic’ texture, and turn off the checkbox for sRGB, then save and close it
  • Now open the material
  • Drag the PNG files from the Content Browser into the material graph
  • Connect the base color to the base color, the normal to the normal. And then for the ‘occlusion roughness metallic’ texture, connect R to Occlusion, G to Roughness, and B to Metallic.
  • Save and close the material

So go through all of your materials and do that.

Step 19. ADD GARMENT TO METAHUMAN BLUEPRINT

Okay, now let’s actually add the clothing item to our MetaHuman.

So in the Outlinerclick to edit your MetaHuman.

In the window that pops up, on the left side, under Components, click the Torso.

On the right side of the window, click the Skeletal Mesh dropdown, and choose the garment that you imported.

At the top of the window, click Compile. Then click Save. And now you can close this editor window.

Step 20. ADD A TEST ANIMATION

  1. In the content browsernavigate to the folder you made called “Imports“, and open it.
  2. Make a new folder called “Animations“. Then open it.
  3. Now right-click, and click the top import option.
  4. Import a test animation. If you like, you can import the MetaHuman range of movement animation that I made. It’s just an iClone free animation, which I then adjusted in Maya so that the clavicles and upper arms were closer to correct.
    VFRangeofMovement_MayaMHrig_m_med_nrw.fbx
  5. In the dialogue box that appears:
    • Click to reset the options.
    • Then change the skeleton to “meta, base, skel”.
    • Twirl down advanced, and make sure you enter a value for the custom frame rate. This should be 60 for my test range of movement animation.
    • Then click IMPORT ALL.
  6. Once that is imported, navigate back to the “Import” folder in the content root, and open it.
  7. Make a new folder called “Sequences”. Then open it.
  8. Now right-click, go to the Cinematics, and click, “Level Sequence”.
  9. Name it as range. Of. Movement. Underscore. M. MED. NRW.
  10. Double click to open the sequence file.
  11. The sequencer has opened up. So now, drag your MetaHuman from the outliner into the Sequencer.
  12. Underneath your MetaHuman name in the Sequencer, delete the control rig for the body. And delete the face item entirely.
  13. Now on the body track, click the plus icon. Then hover over animations, and click the animation you are testing with.
  14. You’ll see some of the body and head poking through the garment. This is normal, and to fix it we need to hide some parts of the body and head.

Step 21. HIDE PARTS OF METAHUMAN BODY

So let’s start with hiding body parts that shouldn’t be seen, because of the clothing.

For the moment, go into your MetaHuman’s blueprint and remove the garment from the torso, and the shoes from the feet, so you can clearly see all the skin.

Step 22. CREATE THREE NEW FILES FOR BODY PARTS

There are three files we need to go through and duplicate, to make custom versions for our MetaHuman.

  1. M_BodySynthesized COLOR
    In the content browser, go into the CONTENT folder, then METAHUMANS, then the folder for your METAHUMAN, then MATERIALS.
    Duplicate the file “M_BodySynthesized”, and rename the new one by adding an underscore, then the word COLOR, then an underscore, then the name of your MetaHuman. So in this example I’ll add underscore, color, underscore, Svetka.
    Okay that’s the first file done.
  2. M_BodySynthesized GRAY
    Now in the content browser, go to the root of the content folder, and search for “M_BodySynthesized”. There might be more than one. Hover over them, and click the one that is in the “MetaHumans > Common” folder.
    Now right click on it, and choose “Show In Folder View“.
    (It will be in All > Content > MetaHumans > Common > Materials)
    Duplicate it and rename the new one by adding an underscore, gray, underscore, then the name of your MetaHuman. So in this example I’ll add underscore, gray, underscore, Svetka.
    Okay that’s the second file done. One more.
  3. M_BodySkin
    Now in the content browser, in that same folder you already in, there will be a material called “M_BodySkin“.
    (So the folder you’re in will be All > Content > MetaHumans > Common > Materials)
    Duplicate “M_BodySkin” and name the duplicate as “M_BodySkin_Svetka” or whatever the character name of your MetaHuman is.
    Okay, now we have those three new files, go up to the FILE menu and click SAVE ALL.

    Now we need to add the new files to our MetaHuman’s body.
  4. CHANGE ‘MATERIAL SLOT’ MATERIAL
    In the Outliner, click to edit your MetaHuman’s blueprint.
    In the Components tab, click BODY.
    Under “Materials” on the right side, change the “Materials Slots, Element zero” dropdown to one with the same name, but with the word COLOR and your character’s name at the end.
    Go up and click Compile. Then click SAVE.
  5. CHANGE PARENT MATERIAL
    Now double click the square tile image next to that dropdown.
    In the Details tab, scroll all the way down. Under “General“, change the “Parent” dropdown to one with the same name, but with the word GRAY and your character’s name at the end.
    Go up and click SAVE.
  6. CHANGE BODY SKIN MATERIAL
    Now double click the square tile image next to that dropdown.
    In the Details tab, scroll all the way down. Under “General“, change the “Parent” dropdown to one with the same name, but with your character’s name at the end.
    Go up and click SAVE.
  7. ADD OPACITY MASK TO SKIN
    Now double click the square tile image next to that dropdown.
    An editor window will now be open for “M_BodySkin_Svetka“.
    The main material node will be highlighted by default. In the Details tab on the left, change the Blend mode dropdown to “MASKED”.
    Now we need to drag a transparency texture into here, and connect it to the opacity mask of the material.
    So to do that, in the content browser, go to your root content folder, imports, and make a folder called materials, and open it.
    Then inside that, make a folder called “MhTrnsparencyMasks”, and open it.
    Then drag in the file “MH_m_med_nrw_OpacBody_HandsOnly”.
    Now go FILESAVE ALL. And drag the imported file into the blueprint of “M_BodySkin_Svetka”.
    Connect the “RGB” output of the TEXTURE SAMPLE NODE, to the opacity mask input of the main material node. Click APPLY, then SAVE.

Step 23. HIDE PARTS OF METAHUMAN HEAD

We now need to hide parts of the head, just like we did for the body.

There are three files we need to go through and duplicate, to make custom versions for our MetaHuman’s head.

  1. “MI_HeadSynthesized_Baked COLOR”
    In the content browser, go into the CONTENT folder, then METAHUMANS, then the folder for your METAHUMAN, then FACE, then MATERIALS, then BAKED.
    Duplicate the file “MI_HeadSynthesized_Baked”, and rename the new one by adding an underscore, then the word COLOR, then an underscore, then the name of your MetaHuman. So in this example I’ll add underscore, color, underscore, Svetka.
    Okay that’s the first file done.
  2. “MI_HeadSynthesized_Baked GRAY”
    Now in the content browser, go to All > Content > MetaHumans > Common > Face > Materials > Baked.
    Duplicate the file “MI_HeadSynthesized_Baked”, and rename the new one by adding an underscore, then the word GRAY, then an underscore, then the name of your MetaHuman. So in this example I’ll add underscore, color, underscore, Svetka.
    Okay that’s the second file done. One more.
  3. “M_Head_Baked”
    Now in the content browser, in that same folder you already in, there will be a material called “M_Head_Baked“.
    Duplicate “M_Head_Baked” and  rename the new one by adding an underscore, then the name of your MetaHuman.
    Okay, now we have those three new files, go up to the FILE menu and click SAVE ALL.

    Now we need to add the new files to our MetaHuman’s head.
  4. ADD NEW “MI_HeadSynthesized_Baked COLOR” MATERIAL
    So in the Outliner, click to edit your MetaHuman Blueprint.
    In the COMPONENTS tab, click the FACE.
    Under “Materials” on the right side, change the “Materials Slots, Element zero” dropdown to one with the same name, but with the word COLOR and your character’s name at the end.
    Go up and click Compile. Then click SAVE.
  5. ADD NEW “MI_HeadSynthesized_Baked GRAY” MATERIAL
    Now double click the square tile image next to that dropdown.
    In the Details tab, scroll all the way down. Under “General“, change the “Parent” dropdown to one with the same name, but with the word GRAY and your character’s name at the end.
    Go up and click SAVE.
  6. ADD NEW “M_Head_Baked” MATERIAL
    Now double click the square tile image next to that dropdown.
    In the Details tab, scroll all the way down. Under “General“, change the “Parent” dropdown to one with the same name, but with your character’s name at the end. (For example, M_Head_Baked_Svetka“)
    Go up and click SAVE.
  7. ADD OPACITY MASK TO SKIN
    Now double click the square tile image next to that dropdown.
    An editor window will now be open, called something like “M_Head_Baked_Svetka“.
    The main material node will be highlighted by default. In the Details tab on the left, change the Blend mode dropdown to “MASKED”.
    Now we need to drag a transparency texture into here, and connect it to the opacity mask of the material.
    So to do that, in the content browser, go to your root content folder, imports, and make a folder called materials, and open it.
    Then inside that, make a folder called “MhTrnsparencyMasks”, and open it.
    Then drag in the file “MH_m_med_nrw_OpacHead_ForHighCollar”.
    Now go FILESAVE ALL. And drag the imported file into the blueprint of “M_Head_Baked_Svetka”.
    Connect the “RGB” output of the TEXTURE SAMPLE NODE, to the opacity mask input of the main material node. Click APPLY, then SAVE.

Now the head will only show the portion above the collar line.

Step 24. ATTACH HARD PROPS

Next we need to attach our solid props to our MetaHuman.

So the easiest way to do that is by making a socket in the skeleton.

But just remember that it’s not a perfect solution, because the prop will just be sort of floating in space, by an offset amount relative to a bone. So it has no active physics or collision, which means it will penetrate the clothing when the character moves in certain ways.

 





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