Jun 30, 2012

Simulating Cloth in 3Ds MAX

Hello and welcome to another 3Ds MAX Tutorial. In this tutorial we will learn how to use the Cloth simulator (Cloth Modifier) to create a tablecloth. This tool is very nice because it can be used to create clothes for your character or every other type of cloth in a matter of seconds. This tutorial is a basic one, and it can be done even by beginners, just try to follow every step and you will end with a nice tablecloth or any other 3D cloth simulation. If you ever got stuck make sure to check the images under each step. We will not create any table model in this tutorial, we will use only a Cylinder to be our table, if you have any table model you can use it as well.

Here is a V-Ray render of my tablecloth:

So let's get started!

Step 1: Open 3Ds MAX and create a Cylinder from the Create Tab into the Perspective view having the following Parameters:

Radius: 40
Height: 3
Height segments: 2
Cap segments: 5
Sides: 64

Step 2: Go to the Create Tab > Shapes > Rectangle and drag a rectangle in the Top View bigger than our Cylinder. I used about 120 for Length and 100 for Width:

Step 3: With the Rectangle selected go to the Modify Tab (second button, just after the Create Tab) and apply a Garment Maker modifier and change it's density to 0.3. Then move the Rectangle above our Cylinder as you can see in the image below:

Step 4: Now with the Rectangle still selected apply a Cloth Modifier from the list, press on Object Properties, then on Add Objects... and add our Cylinder into the Simulation:

Step 5: Select our Cylinder inside the Simulation tab and set it as Collision Object:

Step 6: Select our Rectangle inside the Simulation tab and set it as Cloth and change it's Preset to Silk, then hit OK:

Step 7: Now you can press on Simulate and wait for the Simulation to end or hit Cancel when you are satisfied with the result:

Step 8:  When you are happy with the cloth geometry right click on the Rectangle01 and change it to an Editable Poly:

Step 9: Because we used a rectangle we will only see one side of the Cloth (just like a Plane) and that's not what we want. To fix that apply a Shell modifier from the Modify Tab and change it's Outer Amount to 0.1 :

Step 10: Great, we can now see our back side of the Cloth. But as we can see the cloth is still not smooth. To make it more smooth add a Turbosmooth modifier on top and change it's Render iterations to 2:

Step 11: We're almost done but we can see in the Viewport that we still got some geometry issues because the Cloth intersects with our Cylinder. To fix that select the Scale tool (Shortcut R) and scale the Cloth on the xOy plane just a bit:

And that's it! We're done. You have learned how to simulate Cloth in 3Ds MAX with the Cloth modifier. Try to experiment with other models, other cloth presets and values, try to bump up the Garment Maker density if you want better results and you should see how easy this tool is and really fun to use. The cloth modifier can be used with forces as well like Wind for example to create cloth which interacts with it for a waving flag animation for instance. If you want to add any force into the simulation just press on the Cloth Forces button and add a force that you already created into the simulation. Also Garment Maker can be used to create clothes for characters so it's a very powerful tool. I used Garment Maker into this tutorial because it doesn't create only quad geometry (squares) which can be bad for cloth simulation, and the triangle shapes give the cloth geometry more flexibility to bend.
Here is another render that I made of a waving flag with the Cloth modifier having a Wind force into the simulation:

Cloth can be attached to objects so it does not fly off because of the wind. This is a more "complicated" technique that can be a subject for a later tutorial. Also if you want to learn more about Cloth and Garment Maker make sure to check 3Ds MAX help menu by pressing F1 and searching into the Files. You can find tons of information there about the parameters (their description) and some tutorials which can help you understand better how to use the cloth modifier or anything else.

If you have any question about this tutorial please post it into the comment section below.

See you next time with another tutorial!

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