University of Fashion Blog

Posts Tagged: "computer game"

Welcome to the Metaverse: How Fashion and Cartoon Avatars Can Build Your Brand

(Image from the Balenciaga-themed episode of The Simpsons released by the brand during Paris Fashion Week Spring 2022)

In a previous UoF blog, we covered how Balenciaga’s creative director, Demna Gvasalia, co-created a bespoke 10-minute episode of The Simpsons, in which Homer tries to learn the correct pronunciation of the brand name, “buh-len-see-aa-guh” and seeks to find the perfect birthday gift for his wife Marge. The episode premiered during Paris Fashion Week 2022 at a red carpet event held at Théâtre de Chatelet, with a star power assist from Isabelle Huppert, Eliot Page, Cardi B and Naomi Campbell. It was a huge success, and the fashion industry took note. Another marketing avenue was paved.

Can I create my own DIY Cartoon Character?

The answer is YES! With computer gaming on the rise, especially among Millennial and Gen Zers, some famous fashion brands have already gotten in on the act, creating fashion outfits for computer game characters. Not only does fashion created for characters add prestige to the games themselves, but they help bring brand awareness to a new cohort of potential customers who wouldn’t ordinarily shop heritage fashion houses, such as Vuitton, Balenciaga and Ralph Lauren.

Today, cartoon generator websites like turnmeyellow.com and getcartoonizer.com instruct you on how to take your photo (2D only) and then create a downloadable digital file of yourself, for example, a Simpson’s “yellow” character, or a character from Comedy Central’s hit series, South Park. However, while these apps will transform your photo to have the “same look” as a Simpson’s or a South Park character, obviously you are not actually a copyrighted character from these shows and therefore they cannot be used for commercial purposes. In the case of Balenciaga, their team worked closely with The Simpsons’ creators directly, and received permission to use their characters (and created new ones) to promote the Balenciaga brand.

Are personalized fashion avatars the next wave?

(Image credits: Ready Player Me)

Yes. The next wave is to create your own personalized fashion avatar and the marketing possibilities are endless. Either way, these new marketing tools have designers jumping for joy.

If you are familiar with 3D design software, such as CLO3D, Browzwear, Optitex, Gerber, and Tukatech, then you know how realistic-looking fashion avatars have become. And so, it comes as no surprise that apps for gaming and fashion-generation are now available to the general public.

One avatar creation app is Ready Player Me by Wolf3D, where you can create an avatar with or without a picture, specify gender (or not), and specify skin tone and hair. By generating a personal avatar from a selfie image, you’re able to use it in different gaming and virtual applications. In a newly announced partnership with metaverse fashion leader RTFKT, you’re able to use their shoes and jackets to customize your avatar and you have access to hundreds of hairstyles, eyebrows, glasses and other options. All of these assets are free for Ready Player Me users. In addition, their avatars can be used with gaming platforms such as, Unity and Unreal Engine and have web and IOS integration.

By the way, the personal plans and/or student plans from the two main game engines are free.

Platform Link
Unity https://store.unity.com/compare-plans
UnReal Engine https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/download

 

(Image credits: Ready Player Me)

How early 2D fashion toys helped build brands, thus paving the way for today’s digital fashion cartoons & avatars

(Image credit: Bunty’s cut-out paper dolls from Pinterest)

If you are of a certain age, then you might just remember a time when ‘cut-out dolls’ were all the rage. Girls would spend hours folding clothes with paper tabs over figures made of paper or thin cardboard (in fact, some of us even designed our own paper clothes!). Paper dolls, dating back to the mid 1600s, were mostly used as children’s toys. However, eventually they found their way into advertising. with movie stars and celebrities as the focus.

Fast forward to the 21st century. Now you can create your own fashion ‘doll’ (avatar) to use for AR experiences on your phone and to bring your own personalized avatar into your favorite computer games.

With some entrepreneurial spirit, some mad computer & design skills, why not create your own computer game or cartoon character to promote your brand?

(Image credit: House of Math)

Let’s take a look at House of Math for inspiration. It’s a good example of using avatars to promote personalized learning. According to House of Math: This gamified platform offers games, the whole curriculum for K12, math drills, boot camps, study techniques and problem solving. You can also create your own 3D-avatar which takes your through all your activities. In addition, we have Mentor-on-Demand: a teaching service where you can either chat, video chat or have a one of our over 140 mentors come and teach at your home.“

(Image credit: Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow on YouTube)

And let’s not forget Demna Gvasalia’s bespoke video game in 2020 entitled, “Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow”. 

How would I get my designs to games?

As you may have guessed, creating your own good computer game can cost thousands, and unless you or someone you know has some serious gaming chops, your best bet is to explore existing gaming platforms that allow you to design clothes for a particular game so that you can market your designs through your own social media channels. While there are services and software to make this easier, those may come with a fee.

To all our aspiring tech-savvy designers out there who are interested in promoting their own designs through computer games, let’s look at some popular garment design software and how to get your designs to games.

Remember, for games, you will need to export the garments and the avatar on whom you design the garments. CLO3D and Browzwear will allow you to export certain avatars. Marvelous Designer is similar to CLO3D and is focused on Animation and Gaming, but if you are using CLO3D for clothing design, there may be a different workflow.

Where to get started?

Let’s start with Browzwear and CLO3D. Since in any game, your avatar will want to move, both platforms have avatars that are already rigged and ready to export as FBX file types.

Tutorials on Automation Source
https://browzwear.com/watch-your-designs-come-to-life-with-the-vstitcher-animation-workspace/ Browzwear
https://support.browzwear.com/VStitcher/Export/settings.htm#ExportFBX Browzwear
https://support.clo3d.com/hc/en-us/articles/360055227373-Automatic-Rigging-Converter-ver-6-0- CLO3D
https://support.clo3d.com/hc/en-us/articles/115000526908-3D-File-FBX-Import-Export CLO3D

 

And if you want to use other poses or use other avatars, Mixamo works with Browzwear and this workflow is explained by Browzwear.

https://www.mixamo.com/#/ Mixamo Adobe

 

If your game allows import of your own avatar, they will give detailed instructions.

Game/ Platform Link
VRChat https://www.gameskinny.com/9c6x1/vrchat-guide-how-to-create-custom-avatars
Animaze https://www.animaze.us/manual/gettingstarted3d/animaze3d
Valheimians https://www.valheimians.com/article/how-to-import-custom-avatars-in-valheim-multiplayer-with-valheimvrm-mod/
Roblox https://developer.roblox.com/en-us/articles/using-avatar-importer

 

But what if I want to get my designs into video format instead?

Good news, Browzwear can save to an MP4 and CLO3D can save to an MP4 or MOV file. You can also download garments with movement without the avatars. If you know how to edit MP4 files, this is another method to get your designs visible.

Tutorials on MP4 / MOV files Source
https://browzwear.com/watch-your-designs-come-to-life-with-the-vstitcher-animation-workspace/ Browzwear
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adx8WPVA92o&t=380s Browzwear
https://support.clo3d.com/hc/en-us/articles/115004522187-Animation-Video-Capture CLO3D
https://invideo.io/blog/how-to-merge-videos-in-windows-10/ Invideo.io

 

If you are less tech-savvy but love to draw, why not create your own cartoon character?

(Image credits: Sew Sketchy)

Sew Sketchy

Sew Sketchy is the brainchild of fashion illustrator/influencer/Parsons graduate, Romy Schreiber. Followers of Schreiber’s Sew Sketchy character have a ball as they watch Sew Sketchy explore life as a fashionista. In Schreiber’s own words, “she is a sartirical personification of the fashion girl stereotypes yet what you read is 100% inspired by her real life.”

Image credits: Sew Sketchy

The Most Stylish Cartoon Characters Best Dressed Lists

(Image credit: Cosmopolitan magazine, 2014)

Oh, and did you know? There are several ‘Best Dressed Lists’ when it comes to rating the most stylish cartoon characters (spoiler alert…Olive Oil from Popeye is not one of them). For example, there is Anime Motivation’s “The Best Anime Character Outfits”, 3Dtotal’s “15 Stylized Characters of Spring 2021”, Sara Scoop’s, “The 10 Most Stylish Disney Characters”, Cosmopolitan magazine’s “The Most Stylist Cartoon Characters of All Time”, Attire Club’s “The Most Stylish Male Cartoons Characters on TV”, MsMojo’s “Top 10 Cartoon Characters Who are Totally Fashion Goals”, and Elle magazine’s “Fashionable Cartoon Characters”.

But, in my book, the best of all is Pixar’s character Edna “E” Mode, the half-Japanese, half-German fashion designer from the animated cartoon, The Incredibles. Why? Not only does she have her own personal style, but she also knows how to design for all of the characters in the show.

Design wise, Edna Mode from the start was all about shape and size inclusivity, even before it was popular. She designed to the ‘person’s strengths’ and made personalized clothes just for them.

“I never look back, dahling. It distracts from the now.”

—Edna Mode

Too bad I can’t hire her for any of my own future products!

(Image credit: Pixar)

So, tell us, do you have a fav cartoon or game character and how motivated are you to use gaming to market your brand?

Gaming & Fashion: Two Aspirational Worlds of Experiences Combine

- - Fashion Innovation

(Image credit: Skinvaders blog post)

To those of you out there who aren’t into computer gaming, listen up, it won’t be long now before that could change.

According to two recent blog posts on Skinvaders (a platform for in-game branded skins and digital clothing) entitled, “How the new gamer generation is driving fashion in gaming” and “Why are people spending money on the branded clothing in-game?” Janne Souza stated that the growing popularity of life simulation and casual games has increased the number of women gamers, in fact, women account for 46% of global gamers! Souza also claims that gaming is now the biggest entertainment industry with $180 billion in revenue, and, that Gen Z and Millennials are the most active gamers (Gen Zers representing almost 40% of all global consumers).

Why now? What is driving fashion brands to work with gaming companies?

Souza posits that fashion is seeing gaming as a crucial marketing channel and a way for brands to sell digital or phygital (both digital and physical) collections, as their consumers do not see a border between the digital and physical worlds. Additionally, people are the same in the physical and digital worlds – they want branded clothing or skins in both environments – for their personal and exclusive identity and that gamers are willing to spend on tools for self-expression. Souza also states that the psychology of brands (the brands’ image that is transferred to us) is the same in the digital world as the physical. We want to be fashionable and 70% of young gamers are interested in branded ‘skins’ (fashion).

BALENCIAGA 

So, it’s no surprise that on September 20, 2021, Balenciaga announced their partnership with Unreal Engine’s game Fortnite to further blur reality. 

Do you want the fashion to be real in your game or real in your physical world?  Alas…now you can have both!

Players in Fortnite can now have Balenciaga fashions (or skins) for their characters. Players can also purchase Fortnite branded items on the Balenciaga store, Tees, caps, leather jackets, shirts, and hoodies (hoodies – are already sold out), sizing in French unisex XS – L.

(Image credit: Unreal Engine)

(Image credit: Unreal Engine)

(Image credit: Unreal Engine)

(Image credit: Unreal Engine)

In the blending of the real world and gaming, the same models can now be used for both digital world and real-world interactions.

If you are a follower of the University of Fashion blog, then you know that for the past two years we have been covering technology’s impact on the industry: the rise of fashion video games, our 2019 post covering Riot Games’ collaboration with Louis Vuitton x League of Legends, how the fashion industry is moving into the world of Augmented Reality (AR) retailing, Artificial Intelligence for fashion and the use of 3D design software in the design process and in 3D textiles.

It therefore comes as no surprise that the fashion industry is focused on the buying power of the biggest gaming aficionados, Millennials (born between1981-1996) and Gen Zers (born after 1996), since according to McKinsey & Co, these combined generations wield around $350 billion of spending power in the U.S. alone; around $150 billion by Gen Z and around $200 billion millennials. In 2020, Gen Z accounted for 40% of global consumers. What better way to broaden a brand’s generational reach (especially among heritage brands like Vuitton and Balenciaga) than to meet them in their ‘world’?

RALPH LAUREN

Balenciaga is not alone in their attempt to reach and to recruit new gamers to their brand. Other fashion brands are also bringing fashion to gaming. Late August 2021, Ralph Lauren formed a partnership with Zepeto to create a 50-piece digital apparel collection and virtual world. For those unfamiliar with Zepeto, it is a free social media app that lets you create a 3D digital character (called a Zepeto) from a picture of yourself and then share it on social media. We all have friends who have created a personal Zepeto, right?

The 3D avatars in Zepeto can now have an exclusive Ralph Lauren x Zepeto wardrobe. The Ralph Lauren flagship store, along with two other locations in New York City, form the digital spaces to interact with the Lauren collection. You can get a glimpse of this virtual world on YouTube: in a virtual Central Park and picking out a classic sweater at the Ralph Lauren flagship store.

(Image credit: YouTube)

(Image credit: YouTube)

HOW ARE VIRTUAL OUTFITS CREATED? 

For all the ‘on-the-table’ designers out there, you know, those of you who prefer to actually touch the fabric, and draft, drape and actually sew your designs – you will be happy to know that some of the workflow in creating virtual outfits is somewhat the same.  

Workflow

First, the virtual garments are modeled based on real garments, then the physical materials and textures are matched with a virtual equivalent. Using 3D scans (for already physical items, such as sneakers) and Unreal shaders (algorithms that literally add shading to the skins) for the virtual world are created.

Just like in the real-world, from sketch to final product, there are many steps in the workflow.  The key points are:

  • The artist brings the vision and concept and even for all of the 3D technology – artistry is still the heart of design.
  • Just like in the real world, the digital environment is an important consideration to the final product.
  • Fabrics and grains were not exactly the same as in the real world, but virtual equivalents can be found.
  • Different CAD programs have different strengths. Multiple CAD packages will be used to create the final product, such as Zbrush, Maya, Marmoset Toolbag, Substance Painter, 3D scans, CAD data, and Unreal Shader system.
  • There are 3rd party companies that help with getting 2D/3D assets between fashion and gaming. So, you are not alone in this new metaverse.

(Image credit: Skinvaders.io)

THE NEXT WAVE

A scene from the bespoke Balenciaga episode of The Simpsons (Image credit YouTube)

All eyes in the fashion industry are on another new PR/marketing ploy, namely collaborations with iconic TV cartoon characters. During Balenciaga’s recent spring 2022 collection show, the audience was treated to a bespoke 10-minute episode of The Simpsons, in which Homer treats Marge to a Balenciaga birthday gift that ends with the town of Springfield being flown to Paris by creative director, Demna Gvasalia, to model in his show. Since The Simpsons first aired in 1989 and is the long-running animated comedy on TV, its reach includes Baby Boomers (born between 1946–1964) and Generation X (born between 1965–1980), as well as Millennials.  Between cartoons and computer games, it looks like Balenciaga has nailed every generation from Boomer to Gen Z.

Stay tuned to our blog for more info on how you can create your own DIY avatar fashion and avatars from cartoon characters.

Does anyone out there want to comment on how the fashion industry will reach Gen Alpha (born after 2010)?