Praeclarusa: The Burgundian Robe
- how to get started and some special tricks

This product continues our new series of medieval clothing that we started with the "Hennin and Torque".
This robe is a reproduction of the typical female dress of the 14th to 16th century with it's long, wide sleeves and skirt and a form-fitting top.
This little tutorial will guide you through the use of this product and gives you some tips on how to alter settings and tweak them to your needs.

If you are new to dynamics in Poser, we highly recommend you look into the Poser Help and check out the tutorials Smith Micro offers on it's site.
You will find a tutorial called "Cloth Parameters and Their Effects" there that will explain all the settings you can use with dynamic cloth.
There will be some situations where the skirt and/or sleeves looks brittle, have sharp edges or even break
- no tutorial is able to cover every scene your imagination is able to create.
Being able to alter the cloth parameters will help you to get a smooth result without altering the scene too much.

Before we start with the tutorial it is necessary to mention dynamic cloth and DAZ Studio!
Unfortunatly the dynamic dresses and the belt do not work in DAZ Studio, regardless of the version you own.
DAZ Studio uses a completely different system for dynamic clothes.

While in Poser all you have to do is load an object-file, clothify it and choose the objects it collides with, this method does not work in DS.
Dynamic clothes for DS require a third party software that is (at the moment) not available for developers.
In other words: If you want to purchase dynamic items for DAZ Studio you are, at the moment, bound to what DAZ offers in it's store!

...and now it's time to

Set up your scene

It's as easy as this:

  1) Load your figure.
As V4 is the most used figure at the moment, all items will fit her by default.
But with little effort, you will be able to fit everything to other figures as well.
Uncheck Inverse Kinematics, but otherwise leave your figure as it was loaded from the runtime.

2) If you want to use additional conforming clothes or hair it's time to load and conform them now.
Of course you can use dynamic clothes, especially the Praeclarusa hats, as well. We will talk about this later.

3) Add hair, jewelry, scenery items and what else you may desire for your scene.

4) Decide on one of the robes and one of the five color- and material combinations or create your own look with the single materials or any other material you already own.
If you want to use a pose and/or camera setting that will show the back of the figure and robe or plan on an animation you should use the robe with lacing. The lacing and eyelets will, although they're static, slow down the clothroom simulation but the end-result is worth the extra effort as you will not have to ask yourself how Victoria was able to put on this robe without tearing it into pieces.
If the back of the dress will not be visible in your final render the robe without lacing is the right choice as the clothroom simulation will run much faster.
Both dresses are smart propped to V4, they will automatically follow any rotation and translation if you move her.

   5) All the way down in your Poser Window you'll see the Animation Controls. Go to frame 20!

6) If you want to use morphs on V4 you can add them now - the morphs will "grow" from 0 to the desired value from frame 1 to 20 and the veil will react on it (as far as it touches the affected bodyparts).

This way the dress will fit all add-on-characters for V4 and of course Aiko 4, Stephanie 4 and The Girl 4!

If you use conforming clothes:
Don't forget to check if there are morphs/fixes you need to set.
If you use dynamic clothes (the included belt for instance):
Simulate the dress first and then use another simulation for the second clothing (add at least Victoria and the dress to the collision objects).

7) Add your pose on frame 20 as well.

And what are these last 10 frames after frame 20 for? I hear you ask.
The last 10 frames will give the cloth time to relax. While V4 has already stopped her movement, the dress will continue to follow the gravity! The result is a smoothly flowing dress that looks very realistic and soft.

   8) If you used conforming clothes for your V4 you should make adjustments to them now so that you do not find any pokethroughs when everything is done.
If you want to use clothes underneath the dress, shoes for instance, you may encounter pokethroughs in the first frame.
In the best case this looks ugly - but in almost every case your dynamic cloth will look crappy and broken.
If this happens you can do the following:

Go to frame one and add the conforming clothes .

Move your camera around to see where the conforming clothes poke through the dynamic clothes.

On frame 1 alter the size of your dynamic cloth until no part of the conforming one pokes through it.
In most cases is it enough to alter the x- and z- scale.

If desired you can now run your calculation as described below.

The more elegant solution:
Go to frame 20 where you added your pose and set back all scaling values you altered on frame one back to 100%.
This way the dynamic cloth will shrink around the conforming one and behave like a real clothing item with a little amount of elasticity.
Please note that this method doesn't work with every kind of clothing.
If you still encounter pokethroughs after running the calculation you should leave the "oversized" dynamic cloth as is.

9) If the hand touches the face, the body or something else you will have to do a bit of thinking work:
May it happen that the sleeve crushes and crumples between the hand and the touched surface?
If so, you should make sure that there is a small amount of space between hand and touched surface.
This way the sleeve will flow smoothly down between hand and surface without crushing too much.
If you want the hand to be closer in the final render you can add one frame (frame 31 in our example)
and move the hand to the desired position in that last frame.
That last "extra frame" is not part of the simulation as we told Poser before to render over 30 frames.

If you've followed the tutorial until here, you are done with setting up the scene...

So far your dynamic item looks pretty stiff if not to say: It's a total mess as it will, depending on your pose, cling to Victoria's hip but fit no other part of her body!
Nothing even close to what you saw in the promotional images and in this tutorial.
And so it's time to visit the

The Cloth Room

   1) Select the "New Simulation" button by clicking on it.

2) By default your beginning frame is 1 and the last frame is 30.
All our promotional images are made with these 30 frames so you may want to leave the settings as they are.
Once you have some experience with dynamic cloth you can play with more frames and with changing the pose during the simulation.
But for now 30 frames should do the trick!

3) Check the box "Cloth Self Collision".

4) Drape frames... you may want to use them or not - this depends on your pose and what you want to create.
If the Pose is rather static and if you do not use a windforce you can add as many drapeframes as you desire. 5-10 are a good starting point for your own experiments.

5) You can now press the "Clothify" buton. A dialog will appear where you are able to select the dress you've loaded.
Find it in the list of items (where for instance the hair or other props will be as well) and click "Clothify".

6) Now the "Collide against" button is active. Click on it and you'll see everything that's in your scene.
If you are unsure what bodyparts of V4 will be touched during the simulation you should choose the whole V4.
You may want to uncheck the hair you've used, as having it in your simulation can be very time consuming.
Howeer you MAY find that you will have to check it as well when you run the simulation and find that the hair pokes through the cloth. But before you run a new simulation it may give your more satisfying to use the hair's morphs to fit it to the dress as this is what happens in real life too: Hair is softer than cloth and will be pushed away.
In most cases the dress will touch the ground or a background prop, so you will have to check it as well.
Same goes for every piece of clothing you have in your scene and props (like chairs).

7) When you are done with the collision dialog, you have to set the collision depth and offset for every item that's in your list
(V4 and, depending on your scene, ground, clothes, props).
Collision depth and offset tell the cloth how close to the surfaces you've just chosen it shall get.
We recommend something between 0.6 and 0.5 for your first try.
You will find some checkboxes where you can uncheck the collision with V4's head, feet and hands.
V4's head will only collide with the dress if you posed her hands close to it. So it's your decision if you want to uncheck it or not. Hands and feet will collide with the dress in most situations so it's better to leave them in your list of collision objects.
As already mentioned you can leave hair out in almost any case.
Now you set at least a hook into the "Start draping from Zero Pose" box, and you're done with this part.

8) After you finished the Collide dialog, you can see the parameters for the dress.
You can leave these settings alone so far, and run your simulation by hitting the "calculate simulation" button
- but:
You may want to save your work before you do this, so that in case that something happens (Poser crashes, your computer refuses to work, power blackout, your cat wants to play with your computer mouse...) you can simply load your scene and hit the calculate button.

9) Get yourself a drink or fix some coffee, lean back and watch the magic happen...
(and hide your keyboard and mouse from the cat and other nosy roommates).

10) As soon as the calculation is done you should save again.
The results of the calculataion will be saved together with your scene so you will not have to go through the whole process if you want to reload the scene later.

11) Now choose the best render settings your computer is able to handle and render a small version of your image.

12) In the material room you can pick several alternative materials and textures and of course you can add every material set you have to the surfaces.
If you want to create your own material combinations you have to take care of the material zones "belt", "lacing_socket" and "brokat"! These are in fact parts of other material zones that use the same material settings so make sure to match them to the surrounding surface. If you are unsure where these extra-zones are located you can use a flashy color in the difuse channel to make them stand out. Now you will see that for instance the "belt" zone of the dress uses the same material as the skirt and the torso of the dress.

The dresses contain as few distortions as possible and will render beautifully with any kind of material shader.
But of course you'll have to keep in mind that the more you "stress" the mesh of a dynamic item, the more distortion you will get.
In other words:
If you wrap the cloth around the figure, add a massive windforce or such, a simple material like the included sets will give you a far more realistic result as a patterned one.

The Belt comes in two varations: Parented and not parented. Both belts will be fitted in a second simulation. Just add the dress (and, if used, other things like a chair) to the collison objects and you're done.
Some tricks for the belt can be found below.

13) If you are satisfied with your scene you should now run your large final render, decide on more drapes and scenes while the render engine does it's work, and then admire what you have created.

As you may have seen from this tutorial you now have a highly creative and inspiring set of items in runtime. Most of all your medieval lady now finally has the dress that fits her elegant pose with ease and your fairytale witch can dress up in a robe that will follow her movements even when she flies on her broom!
The Praeclarusa products are the clothing solution for all your scenes that require perfect folds, natural movement and the elegance of historic garment.

Following our setup-example above the result, after adding some good light and altering the camera, we get this:

But you can do more!

Tweaking and experimenting - here's where the fun starts!!
The same scene - another pose!!

So you've created the perfect scene.
Light, textures, the character you've chosen:
Everything looks lovely together and you begin to think of a little series.
You're lucky, you do not have to start from zero again!

   1) Load the scene you've created before and save it under a new name (just to be sure not to overwrite the perfect one you've done before).

2) Delete all frames except the first 20 ones by typing a "20" in the right "counter" of the animation window.
By default there should be a 30. Poser will ask you if you are sure, just prompt this by clicking the "OK" button.
Now you've got rid of the "relaxing frames".

3) Go to frame 20 and alter your scene to your desire: Pose, postion and so on.

4) Type a number for the last frames into the right counter. By default this will be a 30.

6) Calculate your scene and render the second issue of your series!

The cloth parameters
As said above, the internet holds many tutorials and overviews regarding the cloth parameters, you should even be able to find sample images that show the effect of higher and lower values.
On the dresses we have used values that simulate the behaviour of heavy velvet.
Below you find alternative settings to create different looks.
Do not hesitate to experiment with these values and create new, exciting fabrics.
You can even save a dress with a new name to the props library and it will load with your new settings!

Chiffon Crepe de chine Heavy silk

Light silk Light wool Linen

Cracks, edges, distortions and other nasty things
Such things can happen - don't panic, your cloth is not destroyed. You can always alter things and recreate the simulation.
First you should check out your render settings. Sometimes a hole or crack is nothing but an artifact caused by your render- and/or material settings.
If this is not the case you can do the following:
  • Use more frames - using more frames for the same pose helps the cloth to relax and stretch while it follows the pose.
    If you add more frames (by typing a higher number in the field that holds the "30") you have to alter your Simulation Settings as well! Just type the new number of frames into the "End Frame" field.

  • Alter the pose - sometimes the pose is too extreme or your figure is rotated too much so that the cloth cracks when following the movement.

  • Alter the parameters - play around with the cloth parameters and see what you get.

  • Some postwork - While heavily postworking dynamic cloth is counterproductive cleaning out some sharp edges or a little pokethrough can be a better solution than deciding for another pose.

If you find the texture you've applied is being heavily distorted you can do two things:
  • decide for another scene where the cloth is not stretched and twisted in such a massive way.

  • decide for a material without a pattern... what is definitely the better way to go, as you will like the dynamic result better than you would like any pattern on your cloth.

What's this collision friction checkbox?
This checkbox tells the cloth engine to ignore the Static and Dynamic friction settings specified by the dial,
and instead use the settings from the Cloth Collision Objects dialog.
The checkbox that you see below the cloth parameters is unchecked by default - in opposite to what you may be used to by Praeclarusa 1 or the Soft Sheets as we found that the dresses worked better without it.
Feel free to experiment with it, simulate and render a small scene with the default settings, unckeck it and calculate again, render and see what works best - with your specific scene.

There is not THE way to go when you work with dynamic cloth - and that's what makes it so fun!!

Working with two and more dynamic cloths at once

...well, not literally at once - but of course you can use more than one item in a scene.
You just have to take care that they do not intersect on the first frame. Now how does this work?

Let's take the dress, the belt and the Torque as an example:
Start by setting up your scene as you've learned above.
You should always load and calculate the item that fits your figure more tightly, this will be the dress in most cases.

Set up pose, camera and so on like you've learned and run the calculation.

After you've finished your simulation, create a new one (Sim_2).
Now load the Torque, clothify it and add the dynamic dress to the objects it has to collide with (beside your figure, clothes and so on).

If you find that the veil intersects with the dress on the first frame you have to alter it's position like described *here*.
Run your calculation and enjoy the result.

Step by Step
  • Step 1: The dress represents the dynamic object that has the slightest distance to the character. So we add and calculate it first.

  • Step 2: The Belt has a higher distance to the character. So we load and calculate it after the dress but before we add the Torque.
  • Step 3: The veil of the Torque has the highest distance to the character. So we load and calculate it with a third simulation.

When you decide which item to load first and what item will follow, it is only important how the dynamic object fits when you load it!
Poser will take care of any kind of deforming/widening/distortion during the calculation if you took care about the collision settings.

  Step 1: The Dress Step 2: The Flinder

  • You can add more dynamic items to your simulation. Just keep in mind:
  • Create a new simulation for each item
  • Don't let them intersect on frame one
  • The item that is the closest to the character has to be calculated first
  • The item that comes next MAY collide with the first item, the third item may collide with the second and first and so on.

Keeping the scene, changing the cloth
So you have a pose, light, textures, everything - but with the laced dress instead of the dress without lace it will look more convincing?! Just delete the dress you have and add the other one, clothify it and run your simulation.
All collision settings will be kept.
You just have to make sure that you do not miss a thing if the new cloth is longer/wider/tighter than the previous one and if new props are in your scene.

To drape or not to drape...
When setting up a cloth simulation you have the choice to add drapeframes.
The drape-simulation will calculate the number of frames you enter in the field before the rest of the simulation will run.
If you use draping or not, is totally up to you.
A basic rule:
If your pose is rather static, does not rotate much, and if you do not use a windforce, you should give draping a try to achieve a softer, more natural look.

The number of frames you use is left up to you as well - you may want to start with something between 5 and 10 drape frames.
If you are unsure you can test the effect by clicking the "Calculate Drape" button beside the field where you enter the number of drapeframes.
This will run a simulation of just the drape so that you are able to get an idea of the effect.
This "preview calculation" will not be saved with the scene!
If you want to keep the result of your drape calculation you have to run the complete calculation as you are used to
(by hitting the "Calculate Simulation" button) and then save your scene.

The scene below contains only slight movement, only few degrees of rotation and no additional windforce. This way only few forces affect the dynamic veil.
Some additional drapeframes are able to add the illusion of gravity and movement anyway.

No draping 15 drape frames

Sitting Down

The dress and it's sleeves are very long and so your figure will sit down on the skirt and maybe the sleeves will touch the chair when Victoria sits down.
If you want your figure to sit down on a prop (a chair, a box) set up your scene and simulation as usual.
But you should move the prop you want to use as a seat away from the figure on frame one, and have it in place on frame 20.
During the simulation the prop will "slide" under your figure and either push the cloth away, or squeeze it between figure and seat.

If you want your figure to lay down or sit on the floor you should use a different technique:
Apply your pose on frame 20 as you are used to.
Make sure that the figure does not stick in the floor or any other surface to allow a little bit of space between dress and ground. As long as the dress is not set to transparent a little more amount of space between the figure's body and the ground will not be visible in the resulting render.
Copy or write down the position of V4's hip.
Now go back to frame 1, paste the values to V4's hip and move her slightly upwards if needed until the veil does not touch the ground.
Move the animation slider forwards and check if the movement of your figure is half-way smooth.
Now go to your collision settings and UNCHECK "start draping from zero pose".
You are done. Run the simulation and see what you get.
This little trick keeps the dress and it's sleeves from floating in the air while the figure sits or lays on the ground.

[back to top]
The Belt

With this set you get a belt in two variations, parented and not parented. Please note that, if you want to use the belt with the dress, you always have to calculate the simulation of the dress first and then run the calculation of the belt in a second simulation.

Generally we recommend to use the non-parented belt as it will drape far more smoothly and most of all it will be easier to get it in the right position: resting deep on the hips, like a burgundian lady used to wear it.

The parented belt will load in a position relative to V4's hips. This way you can position your figure whereever you desire, the dress and the parented belt will load exactly where V4 is.

If you are an experienced user you may want to use the non-parented belt anyway and position it manually. It's worth the little effort because the resulting simualtion will look more natural as if you use the parented belt.

All in a whole the belt, because of it's shape and size, is definitly a dynamic prop that requires some thinking work.
If you move or rotate your figure a lot or use windforce the long end of the belt will start to "fly away". While this can give exciting effects it may not be desired in every kind of scene. So if you long for a more static result with a relaxed, rather straight belt you should do the following:

  • 5-6 drapeframes make the belt rest on the hips.
  • Avoid rotations along the y-axis of your figure as much as possible. Check for body-rotations and hip rotations, reduce them if possible and use the camera instead to show the desired perspective.
  • You can as well try to use some drapeframes (5 or more) or add 10-15 more frames after frame 30 (and add these ONLY to the belt-simulation!!) but this will not work in all cases.
  • If the hands intersect with the belt you should move them away from the belt and use an extra frame like described here. If the hand touches the face, the body or something else"** to make them touch the belt in the end.
  • Windforces can emphasize the fly-away effect, depending on how you set up your scene. If in doubt you may want to try a scene without a windforce.
  • Sometimes the extra-frames that are meant to relax the clothes are those that make the belt fly (because it tends to "reach" for the sleeves in some scenes depending on the pose). Just choose a frame where everything looks fine for your render.

  • Another nifty trick:

    If you find that your belt looks superb on let's say frame 15 you can do the following:

       1. Save the pose that your figure has on the last frame,
         for instance by using the Pose Dots.

       2. Delete all frames down to the one you like best.
         In our example you keep the frames 1 to 15.

       3. Re-apply your pose on the last frame.

       4. Re-calculate the dress (Sim_1)
         but leave the simulation with the belt as is.

    We've tried this out several times and even in a 10-frames-simulation
    the dress looks perfect!

  • Check out several camera-settings:
    What looks strange from one side can look perfect if you use a different viewpoint!
    ...or you can as well try to use fewer frames.
    But in this case you have to run a new simulation for the dress first.

  • Neat tricks with constrained groups

    We've already mentioned the constrained groups included with the dress.
    These groups help to keep the dress in shape and prevent it from slipping down from the shoulders.
    The way we set up these groups by using material zones will make it easy for you to delete them all or keep only specific ones.
    Here you learn how to manipulate these groups, just for the case that you want to create a more flirty scene where Victoria allows a peek on her skin or to relax the dress.

    The constrained groups are named
         "brokat" (the mid of the sleeves and the neckline),
         "lacing socket" (the part of the back that holds the rings and laces),
         "belt" (the waistline) and
         "rings" for the dress with lacing the additional material.

    The laces are set up as a soft decorated group that should not be altered to prevent them from poking through or flying away, the same goes for the rings.
    In other words:
    If you use the laced dress you should leave it's backside intact.

    • 1. Go to the cloth room, choose the simulation with the dress (if you have more than one simulation),
            find and click the button "Edit constrained groups"

    • 2. Move the camera around to see where the groups are (they appear as red dots)

    • 3. Go to the Group Editor that just openend and click "Remove all"

    • 4. If you want to use the laced dress click "Add materials"
            and choose at least "rings" and "lacing socket" and "lacing" to prevent the rings and lacing from loosing contact with the dress.

    • 5. In the same way you can add all parts that should stay as is and leave away all parts that you want to act different.

    Below you see some examples: