Friday, 24 October 2014

Quick Tip: Cloth Simulation in 5 minutes!

In this Quick Tip post, I'll show how to quickly set up cloth simulation so that you can use Blender to create cool-looking cloth animation.

Cloth animation can enhance the realism of your characters and create a more lively scene. Not only for characters, but any object made out of cloth can benefit from cloth movement, such as flags, tablecloth, paper and so on.

Step 1: To set up a cloth simulation in Blender, start out with a UV sphere and a plane. The plane will act as our cloth and the UV sphere our collision object. Make sure you subdivide the plane about 10 times in edit mode (Adding a subsurf modifier also helps add more realistic bends and wrinkles in your cloth but will be slower to view in the viewport. It's best to leave this step to the end).

Step 2: Select the plane and enable type 'Cloth' in the Physics panel. Tweak the cloth settings to your hearts desire. I've just left the default as is.

Step 3: If you playback the scene (Alt+A to play, ESC to cancel), you'll notice the cloth falls through our UV sphere and doesn't collide with it. Well to do this, we'll need to specify the sphere to be a collision object. You can define the amount of friction or the amount of "stickiness" of the collision object using these settings. 

 Step 4: If you playback the animation now, you'll notice you now have the cloth colliding with the sphere!

Additional Tip!
Sometimes when you're creating an animated film, you might want to have certain parts of a dress for example stuck to the character with no cloth simulation while other parts move freely. To do this, you can set a "pin" option. Here's how you can do this:

Step 1: Go to the Object data panel and create a new vertext group. You can name this whatever you like but I named it "pinnedCloth". Then, go into edit mode of the plane and select vertices you want pinned and assign it.
Alternatively, you can paint the vertex group in Weight paint mode as well. Anything in red shows where the pinning will occur.

Step 2: In the cloth settings, enable pinning and select the vertex group.

Playing back the animation will now clearly show the pinning occuring. The "pinned" vertices stay in place while the other vertices move according to the cloth simulation.
Pinning is effective when it comes to animating things like a dress, a flag or even someone holding a piece of cloth. You can have your dress parented to your armature and pin those vertices but leave the lower part of the dress without pinning so that the lower part of the dress can move naturally like a skirt.

Here is Blender's cloth simulation in action in my upcoming animated short film "Uyir"!

That's it! Hope this quick tip helped!


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