Computational Research Center

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Native Dancer: Accessories Update

Author: Ariann Rousu – Native Dancer Digital Artist

Each of the male and female characters come together nicely but are missing some distinguishing elements to each regalia set. Regalia accessories are important to each individual dancer, as they represent traditional values and are meant to be proudly worn and displayed when dancing. Often these items are personal to the dancer, whether it be sentimental or based on style choices. Below you can see each individual character’s regalia at its current stage without accessories.

Native Dancer Project- Female Jingle Dress Dancer
Native Dancer Project- Male Grass Dance Regalia

To begin this process the advisory board members and I decided what accessories would be needed to make our current dancers look complete. For the female dancer, we have decided on a beaded headband and braid extensions for her hair. In addition to her headwear, she will be given a scarf around her neck and a feather fan to hold. The male dancer will be given a baton for holding, along with a head piece that matches with his grass dance regalia. The pieces I am making are common amongst dancers in each of the character’s dance category. They are meant to represent possible items that could be in the metaverse community we are creating. In the future of Native Dancer, I hope we have many accessories for dancers to equip to their characters. 

My first step was to determine what pieces would be created in marvelous designer (MD), and what objects I would have to 3D sculpt. I began with fitting a headband to the female character as a starting point. It attached well, however lacked the beaded look I am going for. If I used a 2D file to create a textured look, it may not have the dimension or textures I would like to see. I am putting this on hold as I would like to use maya to create a more textured element for the headband.

As for the Male headpiece, I began by constructing a cloth headband with hanging elements for visualization in MD. From there I was able to export the piece that would lay on top of the hair and bring it into maya, which is where I plan on sculpting more of its elements such as dear hair and porcupine quills. I plan on defining his headpiece element more as the image below was an early attempt and learning experience.

Native Dancer Project- Headpiece Base in Marvelous Designer
Native Dancer Project- Export Test from Maya

The next accessory that I created in MD was the scarf that would be tied around the neck of the female dancer. I was able to simulate a scarf shape easily in MD then began using a selection tool and a move tool to simulate tying a knot that would be used to hold the scarf together. This was not successful as when I had the knot almost tied, the fabric would break through the other piece and the knot would fall apart. I decided to attach the scarf using the sewing options instead. This worked well, as I planned on somewhat covering the attached area with another 3D object to represent a broach.

Native Dancer Project- Scarf in CC4

To create the broach, I went back into mesh mixer to sculpt a round medallion shape with decorative circles around the edges. I also created a 3D eagle shape that would go in the center of the circular shape. Overall, I am very pleased with how this turned out after attaching it to the scarf in MD.

Creating hair extensions did not start out well in MD but was an easy problem to solve. When creating the pattern and trying to simulate it to the character the pieces did not want to hold onto the braids. I tried again to simulate the extensions after making them and the character larger. (Sometimes the simulation of the cloth in MD works better on larger objects.). I was able to resize the extensions again to fit the character once I brought them back into Character Creator 4(CC4). I am now working on fitting accessories to the female character in CC4.

Native Dancer project- Female hair Extensions

Another important element that will be attached and used on various accessories are feathers. I have been working on sculpting feathers in maya using their xgen feature. Xgen can be used to generate tubes on a surface that can then be altered to look like grass, hair or fur. Depending on what you are making, you can either scatter these tubes randomly over a surface or use guides to generate the general area where you would like your tubes to fall. Below you can see what stage the current feathers are in; I will be sharing feathers integrated with the accessories in another post.

Native Dancer Project- Feather Generated in Maya