3D Artist
Nov
22

Create animation-ready clothing in Blender

Tips & Tutorials
by
Larissa Mori

This week we’ll look at how to approach creating clothes for an animated character in Blender

Thanks go out to Richard Culver for this Blender tutorial. You can see more of his work at www.richardculver.com.

Create animation-ready clothing in Blender

 

01 The Setup

Your setup consists of the body that is animated with weighted bones. Your Cloth Object is tied to the body in strategic places by creating a vertex group used in the Pinning of Cloth section. The Cloth Object also uses an Armature modifier. The same places where the cloth is pinned it must also have a weight map for the bone(s) it is pinned to, otherwise it remains tied to world space.

Create animation-ready clothing in Blender


 

02 The Collision Object

The Collision Object only needs to approximate the body for collisions. It should not have any facial detail, fingers, toes or anything that doesn’t directly collide with the cloth – otherwise the simulation will take longer. Remember the computer has to calculate each point in both the Cloth Object and the Collision Object. For rendering, you only need to include the parts of the high-definition body that will be seen.

Create animation-ready clothing in Blender

 

03 Drop the Cloth Object

Much experimentation can be done at the modelling stage to anticipate what will happen when the cloth drops onto the body. Think of it as holding the cloth in the air in certain ways to create an effect when it falls over the body. In this example, the solution for the armpits was to virtually remove them. They will not take part in collisions because they are fixed and also covered by the cloak’s hood.

Create animation-ready clothing in Blender

 

04 Vertex Maps

Vertex maps are not only a part of weight painting and pinning, they can also be used to paint areas of the cloth where you want to have more stiffness and/or hold the shape. This is controlled in the Cloth Stiffness Scaling tab. Where the Weight is 0%, the values in the Structural or Bending settings will be used. Where it is 1-100% it will use the Structural Stiffness and Bending Stiffness depending on the weight value.

Create animation-ready clothing in Blender

 

05 Simulate and Bake

Make sure the Cloth Object and the Collision Object are in the same layer. Then you can play the animation to calculate the cloth simulation. Depending on your objects and computer, this can take a while. Experimentation with your system and your patience will determine how many polygons to throw at it. When the simulation is done you can use Current Cache to Bake which will preserve it after you save the file.

Create animation-ready clothing in Blender

 

06 Finishing Touches

After you have the simulation baked you can then add more modifiers on the stack after the cloth such as the Subdivision Surface or Displacement modifiers. If you try to do this or try to edit your object before you bake you will have to run the simulation again. You may also want to paint Bump maps or even use Displacement maps for some finishing touches to add more detail such as folds or seams.

Create animation-ready clothing in Blender

 

Final Notes

It has been my experience that using a simple quad mesh for the Cloth Object is best. Modifiers can be added after the simulation is baked for smooth rendering or displacements.

Blender cloth can be very bouncy and unruly. After much experimentation here are some key settings that help tame the Cloth Object for animation. The rest of the values can be left at the Cotton default.

We used the settings as follows: Gravity: 10.000; Collision Distance: .010-.020; Collision Quality: 5; Self Collision Quality: 3;  Structural: 7.5; Bending: .250; Spring 50.000; Air: 10.000; Structural Stiffness: 12.000; and Bending Stiffness: 13.000.

  • Djordje Komljenovic

    This is what I call good quality stuff. Thanks!

  • kfoong

    Is there a video showing how it looks like when its animated?

  • Kirill Trideshny

    Great tutorial! You’ve shown us your experience and tips – that’ I call the quality!

    One thing I couldn’t get:
    “The Cloth Object also uses an Armature modifier. The same places where
    the cloth is pinned it must also have a weight map for the bone(s) it is
    pinned to, otherwise it remains tied to world space.”
    I understand the meaning but I don’t get which weight map for the bone… Should it be plus to bone’s weight (on a body and a collision body) or replaced?

  • http://www.camino1961.com camino1961

    Can you share this model? I would like to study the way it was constructed. Thank you in advance. camino1961@gmail.com

  • http://www.socioteachers.com/ Asad Ali

    That’s what I was looking for. Great I like your step-wise explanation. easy to follow.