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Published by: aflockofpixels on May 27, 2012
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Rigging Clothes for Animation inThe Place Where Lost Things Go
Technical Document
Ethan Shilling A Flock of Pixels
25 / 05 / 2012
The monks clothes proved to be an interesting challenge for this project. From the very beginningI knew that I didn’t want to rely solely on a cloth simulation to take care of the monks clothes.This is because that would bring its own set of problems to deal with, like slow calculation times,interpenetration errors and requiring the endless tweaking of sliders.Therefore, I wanted to, at the very least, make sure that the rig will allow the animator to posethe clothes for animation, while not getting too bogged down by the way real cloth would behave.This would provide a simple way to create interesting shapes and silhouettes with just a fewcontrols in the most important places like the sleeves and the skirt area.The following images show the nal controls around the mesh.The way in which the controls function had to be built up in layers. First it was necessary to bindthe clothes to the body so that as you pose the character, the clothes move with it. This was donein three different ways. The rst two versions were bound to the same skeleton as the body,one version of which had some extra joints placed at the skirt area so that it could be controlledindependently to the legs. (The other was bound straight to the leg joints)The third was bound directly to the skin of the body with what’s called a wrap deformer. Thebody geometry essentially acts as a volume with a fall off so that the vertices that make up thegeometry of the clothes are affected by the nearest vertices of the body. This technique workedreally well except for the skirt and the ends of the sleeves.
In order to bring all the best skin binds of the three versions together, they were all mixed into afourth version with the Blendshapes deformer. This way I could paint the areas to be affected byone version or another, to create one perfect skin bind.Since there were two versions of the skeleton bind, the rig was made so that you can chosebetween the clothes being affected by the leg joints, or the independent skirt joints, by using a ‘set driven key’ on the two Blendshapes.The next step was to add the functionality of the additional controls dotted around the mesh sothat they stick to the clothes, but also allow for the re-shaping of the clothes. This is where thingsget really confusing so I shall break this down with a separate example without the clothes.

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