Why is it that custom clothes are often just a bit… off? Like they fit just a little big on the character, or don’t quite fold or (procedurally) animate well, or they look too simply textured compared to their own game. Where’s this uncanniness come from?

Humans are really intimately familiar with clothing because we've been wearing clothes our entire lives. We understand subconsciously how the different parts of clothes are supposed to fold, deform, and fall - so much so that when clothing doesn't do that, it sticks out to us as uncanny. These kind of expectations are similar to other things we're extremely familiar with - food, human movement, human anatomy (especially faces), and so on. We're basically hardwired to notice these kind of differences and flag them as weird.

Clothing in video games is nothing like clothing in reality. The attributes of real clothes are determined by things like the strength and flexibility of the materials, the skill and style of construction, and the physical attributes of the person wearing the clothing. Video games don't have those kind of constraints - most of the time, clothing is either a texture painted onto a 3D model or it's a completely separate model with a separate set of textures that is swapped with the old parts of the body. As such, there's going to be seams and edges where things don't match up perfectly. Player-selected clothes tend to exacerbate these differences because they weren't assembled by professional artists who use a bunch of design tricks to make things look better together.

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