Discreet recently gave away clothFX, which was previously a third-party plug-in, as part of its subscription service to registered 3ds max users. Under the slightly revamped title of Cloth it adds a simple-to-use and more adaptable clothing solution to max's arsenal than the existing Cloth dynamic, which is available through Reactor.
As well as offering a very robust physics simulation with a wide variety of preset variables, Cloth also provides a means of to constructing articles of clothing from scratch using traditional tailoring techniques. This approach opens up whole new levels of possible detail and realism in terms of what your characters wear, with complex, multi-textured fabrics and constructive forces such as Seam Strength and Crease Angles affecting the way in which material moves.
This tutorial will introduce you to the three main aspects of Cloth, starting with a look at how different Cloth settings provide subtle and impressive variation between geometry when a dynamic simulation is applied. We'll then cover the use of existing modelled geometry as a piece of clothing is applied to an animated biped. Finally, we'll start tinkering with Cloth's Garment Maker tools to get a glimpse at what can be achieved when you take the tailor-made approach to 3D character dress making.
Once you've got the hang of it, Cloth is a very useful bit of kit. Its subtle and realistic movements can really bring animations to life and, when it's used for complex layered cloth, the results can almost steal the scene. So have a play, get hooked and start making your very own fashion statements - don't just hold Cloth in reserve for whenever you need a flag blowing in the wind! And if you're not a 3ds max subscriber, don't throw this tutorial away - in the past new features made available to subscribers have been incorporated into future releases of the software. The support files contains full-size screenshots, Start and Finish .max files for each section of this tutorial and rendered animations of the final effects.