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Wrap it Up! Cloth Tutorial

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

In this tutorial we'll explore two little-used features of the Cloth Room- constrained and choreographed groups- to wrap a bath towel around our model. Although this tutorial was built using Poser 6, it will work for Poser 5 or 7 as well, since the Cloth Room interface didn't change particularly from 5 to 6 to 7. In this tutorial we'll explore two little-used features of the Cloth Room- constrained and choreographed groups- to wrap a bath towel around our model. Although this tutorial was built using Poser 6, it will work for Poser 5 or 7 as well, since the Cloth Room interface and functionality didn't change particularly from 5 to 6 to 7.

First, let's get our figure into the scene. I've used a nude Jessi figure, but really any Poser figure will do. Leave the figure in the 'zero pose' for now; we'll be moving her arms around shortly but for now the 'zero pose' will be fine- specifically we need her arms to be straight out, not down at her sides. Now, go to the Props directory, open the Primitives folder and bring the High-Resolution Square into the scene- this will be our bath towel. Scale it as follows- xScale 75%, yScale 100%, zScale 50%, which makes it look like a large bath sheet. Right now it's lying flat on the floor- we can bring it up and position it so that it's ready to wrap- set the xRotate to 80, then set yTrans to about 3.5, xTrans to -1.85 and zTran to 0.5 or so (enough to get the towel clear of the figure's body.) The scene should resemble this-

Now, before we go to the Cloth Room, let's add a little time to our scene; we're doing some complex operations and Poser might need a few more frames to properly calculate everything. In the timeline palette, click in the field that says "30" and enter "60" (so the current frame is now frame 1 of 60.) Now, click the Cloth tab to go to the Cloth Room. With the square prop selected, we'll click the New Simulation button, and name our simulation "BathSheet" or something similar. In the Simulation Settings, we'll set the simulation to run for the full 60 frames, and add some features to it as follows- check the "Object vertex against cloth polygon" and "Cloth self-collision" checkboxes. This will slow down the calculations a bit, but not enough to have a significant impact. You can experiment with the number of drape frames- the default is zero, which works fine, but having two or three drape frames in there can produce a nice result as well.

Now we can clothify the hi-res square prop. With that prop selected, click the Clothify... button. Now we can click the Collide Against... button and set the cloth to collide with the torso of our figure- the hips, abdomen, chest, perhaps the left and right collar (many figures are built with the left and right collar including parts of the chest and even potentially of the arms) and the left and right thigh or buttock. We'll leave the head, hands and feet out of it as the towel will just be wrapped around the torso (if you want to mummify the figure, you can include the head and limbs as well, and make the towel object bigger...) and click OK to set up the collisions.

So far, so good. We've got our cloth almost ready to go. If we were to calculate the simulation now, though, the towel would slide off the figure and fall to the floor in a heap. Since the point is to wrap the towel around the figure and make it stay, we'll need to use the constrained and choreographed cloth groups mentioned earlier. First, let's set up the constrained group. Constrained cloth groups are groups of vertices in the cloth object that will "stick" to items that they collide with- when a constrained group touches an item that it has been set to collide with, it stays attached to that item and follows it throughout the scene. Typically one only needs one or two vertices in the cloth item to be constrained- one vertex sticking to a figure will "pin" that part of the cloth to the figure, where adding more vertices to the group will cause them to stop draping when the first one contacts the figure underneath, giving a stiff look- as if there's a piece of plastic inside the cloth. To create a constrained group, click the Constrained Group button, then click and drag with the Grouping Tool to select a couple of vertices on the cloth item to be constrained. Take a look at the following screenshot to see a good constrained group for this project-

Having created a constrained group that will stick one corner of the towel to our figure, let's now create a choreographed group that will allow us to wrap the towel around her. Choreographed groups are groups of vertices that won't stick to the figure, but can be animated using Poser's standard keyframe process. We'll create a choreographed group of vertices in the upper left corner of the towel as shown-

and then animate it to wrap around our figure; the rest of the towel will follow- but the constrained group will hold the end of the towel in place, so it'll wrap properly.

To set up the choreographed group, we'll first create it by clicking the Choreographed Group button and using the Grouping Tool to select a few vertices, then bring up the Parameter Dials palette (you can also switch back to one of the other tools, or not) and animate the whole square prop- when we run the cloth simulation it'll behave much differently, but for now we'll animate it by moving a few frames down the timeline (click in the Frame 001 field and enter 10, so we move to frame 10 of 60) and changing its position and orientation using the Translate and Rotate dials on the parameters palette. Repeat this process (go 5-10 frames further down the timeline, translate/rotate the object) step by step until the corner of the prop containing the choreographed vertex group is where you want it as shown-

That may look wrong- as if you're moving the entire prop, as indeed you are at this stage. However, when the cloth calculations are applied, the towel will be seen to magically wrap itself around the figure- as we'll see in this next step.

Having set up the constrained group and animated the choreographed group, the next thing to do is to return to frame #1 and actually calculate our cloth simulation. This is the easy part- simply click the Calculate Simulation button. In my scene I actually ran the simulation 10 frames beyond the end of my choreographed animation, to allow the towel some time to settle; some simulations won't need this and it does add to the calculation time but in this case it helped. The results should look something like this-

Now, once we get a cloth simulation that looks good, we can modify other elements of the scene; for example, we can move the arms of our figure so that they appear to be doing something other than simply standing there staring off into space. This can be done before or after we calculate the simulation; if the figure's body moves, we'll want to recalculate the simulation so that the towel moves with the figure. We can also add elements like hair, props, etc. Remember to add items and position them in frame #1, or they'll be moving around in the scene during the cloth simulation. Once the scene is set up just right, we can go to frame #60 and render it- and there it is,