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Dynamic Cloth and the Walk Designer

For use with Poser 7 as well as Posers 5 or 6

Combining dynamic cloth and the Walk Designer can give you some really cool results, but setting it all up is a little tricky. If you run the cloth calculations before applying the Walk Designer walk, the figure will walk out from under the cloth, although the cloth will mold to the shape of the figure that was there when you did the calculations, and if you recalculate with the walk starting in frame #1, the cloth may not line up right as it drapes, as the figure isn't starting in the zero pose. Here's what you can do to ensure that the cloth works with the walk.Combining dynamic cloth and the Walk Designer can give you some really cool results, but setting it all up is a little tricky. If you run the cloth calculations before applying the Walk Designer walk, the figure will walk out from under the cloth, although the cloth will mold to the shape of the figure that was there when you did the calculations, and if you recalculate with the walk starting in frame #1, the cloth may not line up right as it drapes, as the figure isn't starting in the zero pose. Here's what you can do to ensure that the cloth works with the walk.

Start with a new document, with one figure in the zero pose. For this tutorial, let's use the Judy figure. Make sure that the animation controls are visible (they're in the "drawer" at the bottom of the screen.)

Select the figure, and from the second menu at the bottom of the preview window (the menu that has all the body parts and props in it) select "Body".

Now, click the button on the lower right with the little plus symbol on it, to create a new keyframe for the figure; then, click the button right next to it with the little key on it to open up the keyframe palette. You'll see a graph with grey and green squares; each light green square represents a frame for which data has been stored for a particular item in the scene. Dark green squares represent frames in which things are happening, that fall in between these light green keyframes, and grey squares are frames for which there's no data because nothing has changed from the last frame.

You'll want to click on the little triangle to the left of the Figure 1 listing, to collapse it (so that all of Figure 1's parts are concealed); then click the green keyframe for Figure 1 in frame #1 and select Copy from the Edit menu (ctrl-C). Now all the frame #1 keyframe data for that figure is in the Clipboard.

OK, now you can close the keyframe palette and, from the Figure menu, create a new walk path. Now, open the Walk Designer and set up your walk, then apply it.

You'll notice that the figure in frame #1 is now starting out in a different pose than the zero pose- they're taking that first step. This is normal but may cause problems with dynamic clothing that you might want to apply. To get the figure back into zero pose, open the keyframe palette again, click on the Figure 1/Frame #1 square, and select Paste (Ctrl-V) from the Edit menu to paste in the keyframe data that's been sitting in the Clipboard since step 4. Now Figure 1 is back in the zero pose, and dynamic cloth items can be applied properly.

However, we should still create a smooth transition from the zero pose to the walking pose- from the Animation menu, select Retime Animation; the starting frames are 1-2, the ending frames are 1-5.

Now, on to the Cloth Room.

For this tutorial, we'll clothify the hi-res square prop (available from the Props library under Primitives) after positioning it to make a sort of skirt for our Judy figure. Go to frame #1 and select the hi-res square prop, then click the Apply Library Preset button to bring the square into the scene. Open the Properties palette and use the Parameter dials to raise the square to just above waist height on the Judy figure. She should be in the zero pose in frame #1, so with the square in place she'll look something like this-

Now, this process will apply to other dynamic cloth props as well- first, click the New Simulation button and create a cloth simulation called "skirt"; use the default settings for now (but be sure that the simulation runs for the total number of frames in the scene.)

Now, click the Clothify Object button and select the hi-res square prop (it will be called ClothPlane_1) Again, use the default settings for the cloth object. Now, click the Collide Against... button and, from the dialog, select the Judy figure (she may be called Figure 1 unless she's been renamed.) Now, in the hierarchy dialog, select the parts of the Judy figure with which the skirt will collide- the hips, buttocks, thighs and shins as shown.

Now that the simulation is aware of the objects that will be colliding, we can go ahead and start calculating the cloth dynamics as the Judy figure goes through her walk. This may be a time-consuming process unless it's done on a very very fast machine.

Once the calculation is done, we can render out the sequence as an animation; we may want to add hair to the Judy figure, or perhaps apply a texture map to the skirt, but for the purposes of the tutorial we're done.