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A Different Method to Add Wrinkles to Your Clothes in SL (Tutorial)

In the process of making clothes for avatars in Second Life, I have always considered creating wrinkles one of the most difficult parts. Though the steps to make wrinkles “appear” are relatively simple, the major problem there is to achieve a “reality” effect. That’s why I have decided to write this post: in order to share a different method from the ones that are disseminated in tutorials on the internet that deal specifically with clothes for SL AVs; and, by doing so, to contribute with the knowledge on this subject. After all, when I started designing clothes for SL AVs and developing HAVANA, it was mainly as an opportunity to learn and experiment – and it is time now to help others to learn and experiment as well.

For the purpose of this post, I will mention two different processes of making wrinkles, before I describe in details a third one which is not as common as the others. I should make it clear that I did not create a new technique, I just adapted something that I found on another tutorial. All the techniques mentioned here are developed on The GIMP, but of course they can be reproduced on Photoshop, though the steps may require some adaptation. I have The GIMP in Portuguese, but don’t worry if you don’t speak Portuguese: all the steps are described in English.

Most tutorials on making wrinkles are a variation of what we can find on this tutorial on rykerbeck’s blog on Rezzable. In this case, the steps are very similar both for Photoshop and The GIMP. A significant change in that process can be observed on this 2008 tutorial on Random Ramblings Tips & Tricks on how to create a sweater using The GIMP. In this case, one uses the Bump Map filter to “apply” the wrinkles to the main layer of the sweater.

Both methods are interesting and may create a great effect. If you know how to draw using vectors, you can also create your own variations of both techniques. Nonetheless, sometimes I felt my designs needed something different, more “messy”… then I found this tutorial on how to make your own distressed paper, on mahvin.com. The “crumpled” effect that it describes is based on a Photoshop tutorial by Janee. When I saw that, I realized it was what I was looking for. I just had to adapt the technique to the clothes in SL. So, this is what I did:

1. Apply the gradient tool on a new layer:
For the purpose of this tutorial, I am considering you already know the basics and have prepared your main layer, with the cut and color you want. I will work on a blue tank top. So, the first step is to create a new layer, which I will call “Wrinkles”. It is important to make its base color white, not transparent. Then, select the gradient tool and set its blend mode to “Difference”. Apply it on the wrinkles layer repeatedly, along almost vertical lines. Note that, in theory, you can apply it in every direction, but because of the way that avatar UV maps distort in Second Life, the wrinkles seem to look better if we use the gradient tool upwards and downwards.

We are going to start with a simple tank top cut in blue

Create a new white layer (the "Wrinkles" layer)

Apply the gradient tool upwards and downwards as many times as you wish, until you get a "messy" look

2. Apply the Emboss filter:
After playing with the gradient tool, we are ready to apply the Emboss filter. Click on Filters – Distorts – Emboss. There is no right setting here, one can try with different ones untill they can achieve the effect that they want. In this example, I’m using Azimuth = 130, Elevation = 40 and Depth = 4.

Apply the Emboss filter (Filters-Distort-Emboss)

3. Apply the Gaussian Blur filter:
Since we are applying the wrinkles on fabric, we should not have them so well-defined. So, we are going to add some blur to the image, clicking on Filters – Blur – Gaussian Blur. We can set both Vertical and Horizontal effect to 10.

Apply the Gaussian blur filter (Filters-Blur-Gaussian blur)

4. Adjust color curves:
Adjusting color curves will help us to enhance contrast. There is no recommended setting here, it will depend on the effect you got when applying the former filters. Nonetheless, you can use the image of my curve as a guide. Go to Colors – Curves, make sure that the Channel is set to Value and that the Curve type is set to Smooth. Then, change the curve more or less as I did, or until you can get the contrast that you want.

Adjust the color curve to get a higher contrast. Make sure to set Channel to Value and to use a Smooth curve

After adjusting the curve, you will get a result more or less like this

5. Copy the layer:
After copying, I renamed the layer to “Wrinkle Highlights”.

Create a "Wrinkle Highlights" layer by copying the "Wrinkles" layer

6. On the “Wrinkles” layer, select Layer Mode to Multiply:
Turn off the “Wrinkle Highlights” layer, so you can see the “Wrinkles” layer. Select the “Wrinkles” layer and set its blend mode to Multiply. You can make it more or less transparent depending on how “strong” or “weak” you want your wrinkles.

Turn off the "Wrinkle Highlights" layer

In this example, the "Wrinkles" layer is set to Multiply, 70%

7. On the “Wrinkle Highlights” layer, select Layer Mode to Overlay:
Turn on the “Wrinkle Highlights” layer, select it and set its mode to Overlay. Again, you can make it more or less transparent.

In this example, the "Wrinkle Highlights" layer is set to Overlay, 20%

8. Work on the edges:
Now we just have to take care of the final touches. First, we have to consider that, the way we designed the wrinkles, the edges of our tank won’t match when we import it to SL. The easiest way to take care of that is to delete the wrinkle parts that cross the edges. In order to do that, create an irregular selection around the edges with the lace tool. Now, click on Selection – Feather and set it to 10. Click on the “Wrinkles” layer and delete the selection content. Without de-selecting, click on the “Wrinkle Highlights” layer and delete the selection content again.

With the lace tool, select the areas around the edges. Try to do it in a way that respects the directions of the wrinkles.

Click on Selection-Feather and set it to 10

Delete the content of the selection, both on the "Wrinkles" layer and on the "Wrinkle Highlights" one

9. Reduce the “messy” look:
We have fixed the edges, but the tank still looks too messy. We can correct that by reducing the wrinkles. With the lace tool, again, let’s select some areas and clear them. Remember: when you select an area, click on Select – Feather and set it to 10. Than, click on the “Wrinkles” layer and delete the selection content. Before you de-select, do the same for the “Wrinkle Highlights” layer.

Select other areas where you may want to delete the wrinkles. Remember to click on Selection-Feather and set it to 10.

After deleting the content of the selections, you will get a less "messy" tank

Finally, it is done. Now, for the final touch, just add your shadows, highlights, details and, voilà, you have your tank. Don’t forget to turn off the layers that you will not use on the final result (the template layers, for instance) and convert the file to TGA before importing it to SL.

Apply your general shadows and highlights, add the details you may want to and turn off the layers that you don't wanna see on the final result. Convert the file to TGA and you are ready to import it to SL

Note that this method is not perfect for all cases, it is just an alternative that may fit some designs better than others. It looks good on a tank, but if you are making a sweater, for instance, you will probably use another technique for adding wrinkles. Just choose among the options you have and find the one that responds better to your design.

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5 responses

  1. I cant start this tutorial…
    because i dont know HOW AND WHERE IS THAT GRADIENT TOOL..

    I wish you can make it broader, as some who read this tutorial are beginners.

    Thank you in advance 🙂

    July 15, 2010 at 2:48 am

  2. Pingback: 2010 in review « Havana in SL

  3. Grrr

    I can’t start this tutorial…
    because I don’t speak Spanish, and my GIMP is English.

    I wish you would pick a language. Some who read this tutorial do know know both languages

    No thanks given to idiots

    February 20, 2014 at 8:59 am

    • I’m sorry the translations I provided on the pics aren’t enough. I thought it’d be enough to say things like “Click on Filters – Distorts – Emboss”. Seems not. What did you say about idiots? hum… Nonetheless, I’d recommend someone interested in this tutorial to actually read it. As i said, “I have The GIMP in Portuguese [not Spanish], but don’t worry if you don’t speak Portuguese [not Spanish]: all the steps are described in English”.

      February 20, 2014 at 9:16 am

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