Join Joel Bradley for an in-depth discussion in this video Mesh subdivision: Comparing the favorites, part of Cloth Simulation: 3ds Max.
One of the essential requirements for a piece of geometry that is going to be simulated as a moving piece of cloth is that is has enough mass density or resolution so as to be able to produce the type of motion required from it. In this video, we're going to explore some of the mesh subdivision methods available when working with cloth in 3ds Max. Along with taking a look at how the different options can affect the draping of cloth inside a simple simulation. We are using an editable poly object to seen on the left here to help demonstrate how we can make use of straight forward mesh subdivision on a cloth object.
And this is the process of taking a single four sided polygon. A quad in 3D modeling terms. And subdividing it into four smaller quads. This process, which of course results in a quadrupling of the meshes total poly count each time, can be repeated as often as needed with a denser and so, obviously, more flexible cloth mesh being the end result. To show how this works, let's come over to the Modifier tab in the Command panel and set the iterations option on the MeshSmooth modifier we see here to a value of six.
This gives us a total polygon or quadcount for this particular mesh of 4,096. Next, we need to enable the already applied cloth modifier by clicking on its light bulb icon, and then we can select the modifier itself from the stack so that we are able to open up its object's properties dialog. From here, we need to select the geometry in the objects and simulation list. And just make certain that it is set to simulate as a piece of cloth. Finally, we can apply the cotton preset to it and then click OK to exit the dialogue.
Next, we want to work with our editable spline. So, let's select that in the scene, and then, from the drop down list, apply a garment make modifier to it. In this instance, in order to try and match the rough mesh density of our editable poly object. I'm going to come into the main parameters rollout for the modifier and set the density option to 0.7. Rather than going ahead and applying a separate cloth modify to this spline object, which would in fact place it in a separate cloth simulation.
What I want to do here is simply reselect our editable poly object. Right click on the cloth modifier already in the stack and then choose the Copy command from the menu list that pops up. All we need to do then is reselect our spline object, right click on the garment maker modifier in its stack and this time, choose the pace instant command from the options presented to us. This approach now places both objects inside the same cloth simulation, as they both share the same instance version of the cloth modifier.
To show that this is the case, let's click on the Objects Properties button, and as you can see in the objects and simulation list, our garment maker spline is already present. All we need to do now is set this to be active as a cloth object, and then again, apply the cotton presets to it, and click OK. As we already have our torus knot and table collision objects set up inside the simulation, we can now go ahead and test out how each of these subdivision methods will behave by clicking on the Simulate button in the command panel controls.
Once done, if I just hit the Ctrl+D keys to deselect everything in the view port, you can clearly see the variation in cloth behavior. That these two very different mesh sub division methods have produced. From the quads, we see a distinct and obvious folds that to my eye, make the material look like a heavy cotton. The folds being smooth and distinct. Whilst over on the Garment Maker mesh, the folding is perhaps a little less clean, making the cloth look more rigid.
The difference we see here comes as a result in the way in which the topology of each mesh runs. As quads have continuous and very easy to follow edge leaps, the cloth modifier obviously finds folding this mesh type quite easy. Whereas, the much more chaotic Delaney triangulation taking place in the Garment Maker mesh clearly creates more resistance to folding. Now, before we run ahead here and decide, seeing as we prefer the look we are getting from the quad mesh, that this is how we will simulate all of our cloth objects in 3ds Max.
There are a couple of balancing factors that we really do need to take into account. Firstly, any kind of heavily subdivided quad mesh will typically take much longer to simulate than will a heavily subdivided garment maker one. And secondly, motion from a garment maker mesh, as well as simulating more quickly, will also tend to look much more believable in an animated sequence. Not that the choice of subdivision method is as straightforward, however simple, as quad subdivision versus Garment Maker.
As in most things in 3ds Max, we actually have quite a number of mesh subdivision methods available to us. Each of which, again, will produce a slightly different behavior in the cloth motion, and final settling position. In our next video, then, we will take a further look at yet another three of the various mesh subdivision options available to us.
This course was created and produced by Joel Bradley. We are honored to host this content in our library.
- Comparing mesh subdivisions
- Adding the Cloth modifier
- Adjusting options like panels, seams, and faces
- Setting up and controlling cloth behaviors
- Working with constraints like Preserve, Surface, and Sticky Cloth
- Applying forces to cloth
- Controlling cloth quality