Complex Character Cloth Simulation/Animation Help

Hello everyone,

This is going to be a long post, and I do apologise.

I am rather new to the forums, that is, I only have one other post, :smiley: but I have definitely browsed quite a lot for information because the unreal community is awesome. I am sort of stepping into unfamiliar territory here, as in my day to day work I just do environment art, but I’ve always done characters on the side. So, I’ve decided to give my own little side project a try.

My characters have relatively complex cloth in their design, that is, because on the bottom half, there is a couple layers of overlap. I saw this video a friend linked to me, which basically is exactly the same as what I am trying to do. Right away for obvious reasons, I had to find a way to try and get this result, or at the very least, find out if this result is even possible in unreal without an exceptional knowledge of programming and other things beyond blueprints, rigging, and art.

So my questions are…

Firstly, if this can be achieved? If so, what would be the best way to go about it?

For starters I know Apex can simulate cloth in real time, and they have optimised it with 4.11. But as there isn’t a whole lot of specifics other then how to set it up initially, I don’t know whether apex can support multi-layered cloth like this video. Can it? I know an Apex cloth mesh can collide with itself as long as it is the same material ID with the same Apex file, but, can it collide with another separate one?

I also know, or at least, I am pretty sure, the result in the video was achieved with a bone-per-vertex (or bone per cluster of vertices) sort of solution. Is this a possibility in unreal? can I use PHAT to do this? Using multiple rigid body bones moving together dynamically. Would that be a way to get this type of result? Or is there another way to do it with this sort of bone-per-vertex solution they used?

I have been playing with animDynamics since the release of 4.11 hoping this was a possibility. I have very limited knowledge on this as there are very few, if any, posts, about how it all works aside from their live stream youtube video. I have rigged a proxy of a character with ART, using some bone chains for the cloth, and it works well enough, but the issue is collision, it does not collide, or slide off the surface of the character. The character has physics volumes on all relevant bones (legs), but animDynamics nodes don’t seem to interact with those, unless there’s a setting I’m missing. And using the limit planes can produce some very strange, and undesired results. I also have had little luck using the linear and angular limit settings, although as I said, my knowledge is sort of limited, so I may actually just be doing that wrong. Also with this being bone driven, the characters movement wouldn’t drive the solve on the bones like a normal simulation would.

The last option that I know of, is running a simulation using nCloth in maya, and baking the vertex information down to bones or driving the mesh with a wrap deformer using a simulated proxy mesh. Which I haven’t tried yet, and I’m sure produces pretty reasonable results but, I don’t know how well that would translate to a very movement heavy character, such as seen in the video I linked at the top of my post, blending between cloth states on a per animation basis might not work?.

I really apologise for the huge post, I wanted to make sure I’ve looked at every angle and ask everyone what they think would be the best way to achieve the result I’m after. I’m not sure which direction to move in here. :frowning: