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Take an in-depth look at nCloth, the Maya toolkit for simulating high-resolution mesh cloth for 3D characters and animations. Author Aaron F. Ross explains the roles played by the various "actors" in an nCloth simulation, including the nucleus solver, nCloth objects, passive colliders, and nConstraints. The course begins with basic simulations such as flags and ropes, then progresses to building a simple garment, until finally integrating animation and special effects like falling leaves and tearing cloth. Aaron also covers performance optimization techniques such as nCloth and nucleus solver settings, proxy objects, collision layers, the Wrap deformer, and more.
Here's a really fun and very useful tool within Maya that will allow you to change attributes while the simulation is running; it's called interactive playback. To see this most dramatically, I am going to set the Wind Speed down to 0 to start with, and I'll go ahead and go up to the nDynamics menu set, to the nSolver menu, and you will see Interactive Playback. And when I activate that, it starts playing. You can see I have got no wind currently, but if I move this slider up, I am increasing the Wind Speed interactively in the viewport. So I crank that up to 200. And if I bring it back down to 0, the wind stops. Turn it back up, the wind starts again.
And I can use this to fine-tune my scenes, and in fact, any attribute can be adjusted while you're running in interactive playback mode. You do have to prepare for that, though. If you wanted to adjust attributes, you need to get the Attribute Editor open to the page that you want to use. You also need to make sure you have enough time in your timeline. I've only got 600 frames. If I was going to be doing a lot of work, and testing a lot of things, I'd need to increase this to a much larger value, in the range of thousands, so I would have enough time in the timeline to play around with those attributes.
That concludes our chapter on the basics of setting up an nCloth simulation. In the next chapter, we'll look at fine-tuning it, and directing it to produce a particular result.
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