My ongoing struggle with cloth tools.

In my particular case two features are very important to have or at least to mention them here. These are the features or lack there of, that are breaking my camel’s back at the moment.

1 - Cloth collisions with other shapes than just capsules. (I would be happy to have a disc shape for collision).

2 - Cloth thickness (also known as latch to nearest feature in Previous Nvidia cloth plugin).

The clothing tool:

1 - Was hoping the current implementation of the new clothing tool will have us at least be able to use other methods of collisions than capsules or spheres, anything flatter and round in corners like a disc will do, think of a cylindrical collision with a flat top. This type of collision will have far better advantage than implementing a box collision. Usually one or two such collisions will be enough for a character setup.

Example. While capsules generally do fulfill most of the needs for a character body setup, they will fall short on character equipment collisions. Imagine having a shield over a cape, you can imagine what kind of a bizarre setup you will need in order to have the shield collide with the cape properly. Since no flat surfaces exists on a capsule or sphere, you will need to probably have many little capsules put together in order to create some sort of a flat surface collision which at that stage is bound to be buggy and further unpredictable.

2 - Latch to nearest still missing: This means that any clothing (which are 80% of clothing out there) that have visible thickness will not be done properly. Take a simple trench coat for instance. Because UE will force the simulation of both sides of the cloth creating inter cloth penetrations and deflating the thickness which also result in harsh edge artifacts.

Nvidia solved this by having the option of ‘Latch to nearest’ with it’s plugin which was the ‘old method’.

So why not use Nvidia cloth plugin then for the thickness?

Nvidia plugin:

In short we can go back doing just that, but since some of us are using Max, we run into yet another problem which in this case completely breaks a software’s installation and workflow.

In other words once you install Nvidia plugin, 3ds max MassFX gets replaced by the plugin entirely, breaking any other plugin or custom script we are using that uses MassFX dynamics to also break entirely, this will prompt us to reinstall max to fix the problem.

The workaround solution is to have a different version of max installed and export cloth information from there which is a huge hassle with complex rigs and characters, this may not be Epic’s problem but more Nvidia’s, but I wanted to mention it just to let that be known.

But the collision issue still remains unsolved for both methods.


Edit: Adding a sample below of what happens to thick cloth without latch to nearest:

The big problem with not being able to use collision shapes other than spheres or capsules is the inability to make cloth collide with the floor. It’s all very well having a robe that collides with the capsules making up a character’s torso and legs but then it just falls through the floor and looks terrible. I just want to use a box collider but can’t.

I’m also waiting for improvement on the new Cloth System. Cloth should be able to interact with every collider in the scene.

Plus when there’s more than X collision objects (16 or 18) then collision wont work. I tried to make a simple cape but sooner or later it always flushed through the character and then came out the other side of the spine or the knee.
I eventually gave up on clothing. It dosn’t work wother than for simple thing like flags or tapestry

Since this thread got a few new replies, here’s an update from my side:

1 - Cloth thickness: In the original thread I mentioned latch to nearest is missing from the cloth tool.

Now there is another method hidden deep in the docs that no one seems to talk about which I missed entirely and if it wasn’t for paragon files I wouldn’t have probably discovered, so now you can wrap high res mesh onto low res sim mesh and that’s how you can work it.

**2 - But here’s a new big problem in cloth sim to be solved. You can’t use cloth with a morphing surface!! In other words if you have pants which have the lower parts simulated and you want to dynamically morph the upper area to fit a fat belly there is no way the sim will consider the change! **

Besides all this, the cloth tool needs some serious work in order to make it handle more complex movement and geometry, think of loose long sleeve cloth simmed on an elbow area with fast movements of the arm in fighting motion,

I do agree it needs improvements. For the example in the pants case, I would suggest to break it in two pieces being the top piece big enough to accomodate the whole morph area, the other piece is the one which will be used with the cloth sim.

Pants example was a relatively simple one, in our case it was something very specific but vital for the character which has connecting cloth patterns as one mesh and a breakup would mean an enormous workaround that may not even solve the problem. We rigged it at the end and used custom bones setup to behave like cloth.

It was an insanely complex rig to work around these shortcomings.

I would suggest to contact someone at Epic, grab his e-mail, sent a link to a private video showing the issues you got, make sure the video has audio explaining and showing the issues aswel. Thou I don’t have anyone specific to point at this time, I would suggest to look at the stream where the tool was presented, pick the persons name and ask @Kalvothe or @Amanda.Bott if it is possible to forward that link to the person in charge or if there is any other way such request can be forwarded instead of Answer Hub.