Getting Started in the Cloth Room
• Morphography • Tutorials • Getting Started in the Cloth Room •

• Introduction

As the title says, this is the very barest introduction to the cloth room imaginable. It won't tell you about many things, in fact it won't tell you about most things. Its intention is to get you into the cloth room, get you started, and hopefully get you experimenting for yourself once you've overcome the first hurdles.

It's intended as a companion tutorial to the QuickDress User Guide, but you can use it with ready-made clothing props if you want to.

• Here's One We Made Earlier

You can download a copy of the summer dress mesh if you want to try this tutorial without going through the QuickDress modelling pages. It's non-subdivided, and has a simple planar map, although you can fix those things if you want to make it a bit better.

summerdress.zip

You can also use the ready-made clothing props that come with Poser 5 or 6, or things that you've bought or downloaded.

• Figure Preparation

You'll need a figure, of course. Bring Vicki into Poser, turn off the Inverse Kinematics (IK) on her legs, and zero her. To do that, make sure some part of her body is selected (it doesn't matter which one), then open the Joint Parameters window (from the Window menu) and click on the "ZeroFigure" button.

• Add the Clothing

Import your finished dress mesh that you made (or downloaded); uncheck all the boxes in the import dialog, and it should pop into place over the zeroed figure. If you're using a dress from some other source, add it from the library; remember that dynamic dresses are props, not figures, so you need to go to the right library.

• Posing

Now we're going to set up an animation. That's how the cloth room works - by simulating the interaction of the body with the "cloth". To do that, the figure has to start off within the simulated clothing, and since the clothing was modelled over a zeroed figure, that's where we start. There mustn't be any "poke through" to begin with; so it may be best to use an un-morphed figure for the first steps.

Next, pop up the animation palette. This will come as a surprise if you never do animations. :) Go to the end frame, which in the default case will be frame 30. This can be changed, but we're keeping it simple here.

Now apply your pose to Vicki. This can be a preset one from the library, or one you prepared earlier and saved in a pose dot. Whatever you use, make sure it's a single frame pose, not an animated one (pose dots always store single frames).

At this point, it will look horrendous, because Vicki will snap to the new pose, while the dress stays in mid-air. She will almost certainly leap out of her clothes and cause huge embarrassment. :) It looks all wrong, but it isn't; go back to the first frame and confirm that everything is back as it was.

• Into the Cloth Room

Click on the CLOTH tab to enter the cloth room. The only button that looks functional right now is New Simulation, so go on, press it!



You can give your simulation a meaningful name if you like (it isn't compulsory, though). Leave everything else at the default settings for now. Note that the simulation range is set at 1 to 30, the same as Poser's default animation length; however, if you change the number of frames in the animation palette, the simulation range doesn't get updated and you will need to do it here as well.

Click on OK to accept these settings, of course.



Now the Clothify button will light up. I know you can't wait, so press that too.



...and select what you want to clothify - in this case, the dress.



Now, we need to tell the simulation what the dress will be draping against, and that's the time to press the Collide Against button.



The current collision object should be listed as None, so press the Add/Remove button...



...and you'll get a hierarchy window. Your task is to choose just enough of Vicki to give a proper simulation; if you add body parts unnecessarily, it will slow down the computation.

I've chosen Hip, Abdomen, Chest, Right Collar, Right Shoulder, and (out of sight of the screen shot) Left Collar, Left Shoulder, and both Buttocks and Thighs.

If your figure is going to be lying on the ground, or sitting on a chair, you will want to add the appropriate prop to the list as well.



Leave everything at the default settings, and click on "Calculate Simulation". If you're feeling thirsty, this is a good time to make a cup of your favourite brew, because it may take a while. It depends on the power of your computer.



...and there you have it. As you can see, I chose the stock "Legs Crossed" pose from the V3 library, and the dress has behaved itself very nicely, in exactly the sort of way that conforming clothes don't.

You can render the last frame as a still image, you don't need to make an animation unless you want to - but I won't cover that here.


• Further Study

The cloth room is obviously a complex place to be, as you can tell by the number of parameters that have been ignored, skipped over or left at the default setting during the making of this tutorial - that's most of them, in fact.

What are the settings for different types of cloth?

This question isn't as easy as it sounds. If it was, then maybe Poser would have a collection of preset buttons you could click for instant cloth simulation. In reality, the dial settings for a particular sort of cloth depend on the structure of the mesh you're using, in particular the polygon density; the simulation treats the vertices as parts of a particle system, and the effect they have on each other depends on how far apart they are.

All I'm saying is that there aren't any hard and fast numbers, you just have to experiment. Having said that, here are some links which may help you out:

How can I speed up the simulation?

These things all have a bearing on how fast the cloth room does its job:

Help! It stopped working!

The usual cause of a "frozen" simulation is intersection. If your clothing passes through the figure at any place, or if it passes through itself (e.g. at modelled folds and creases), Poser tends to choke. This can also happen if the figure bends in on itself while posing; if one clothed body part passes too close to another, then the cloth will attempt to pass through itself, with unfortunate results.

Before you click on "cancel", though, do give it a few minutes to check that it isn't just going at a snail's pace. Complex meshes can simulate exceedingly slowly. :(

Having insufficient memory in your computer can also hang things up. Vast amounts of RAM are definitely an advantage in these computationally intensive functions, I'm sorry to say.

Can I simulate more than one piece of clothing?

Certainly, if your computer can stand the strain. You'll need to set up individual simulations for each piece, and also consider whether the two pieces of clothing will need to collide against each other at any point. This could prove to be a strain on your computer resources. Feeling processor envy yet?

Can I use existing conforming clothing in the cloth room?

Yes, quite often; but bear in mind the "no intersection" rule mentioned above. The original Poser 4 clothing, for example, has closed off neck and sleeves, which means it will intersect with the figure's body; that won't work unless you re-model if first. Some clothing is modelled in such a way that it intersects with itself, and that won't work either. You just have to try it and see.

Here's how. Import the clothing's mesh directly from the Geometries folder. In the import dialogue, uncheck all the options except "weld identical vertices". Then proceed as above.


Something else you can try is to clothify only a part of a conforming clothing item. This has the advantage of concentrating the simulation only where it's needed, so speeding up the process.

For this to work, the body part to be clothified should have no conforming function, otherwise the two processes will fight each other. A good example is the skirt portion of a dress, where posing is achieved wholly through morphs and/or "body handles", such as the Morphing Fantasy dresses from DAZ, which are made in versions to fit all of their female figures from Victoria 3 onwards. In this case, when you are choosing the item to clothify, pick the hip part of the dress and carry on as before.

Help! The clothing fell off!

Sometimes, the cloth simulation is too realistic... This usually applies to open-topped things like skirts and tube tops that have nothing to hold them up. In that case, you need to edit the constrained group to add vertices which will stay in the same relationship to the figure. For a skirt, that would be the waistband; and so on. Full details are getting outside the scope of this tutorial, unfortunately. One thing that may confuse you if you're familiar with the grouping tool: the cloth room's group editor selects vertices, not polygons.

Can I use morphed characters?

Yes, you can. The easiest route is when the morphs make the character bigger. Set their morphs to zero at frame one of the simulation, and set them to full at the last frame. The figure will "grow" during the simulation and stretch the clothing.

This approach can even be used to make clothing for a different character fit. If you adjust scaling so that the clothing "sort of" fits at frame one, you can arrange for it to "shrink" onto the figure. Serge Marck has some more detailed tutorials, which are worth reading. (As before, this link is via the Wayback Machine and may be slow to respond.)

• Morphography • Tutorials • Getting Started in the Cloth Room •