Unity user explores Unreal Engine 4: part 10

Jun 09, 2020 at 10:00 am by nemirc

Unity user explores Unreal Engine 4

As I explore Unreal Engine 4 while porting my horror game from Unity to that engine, it is time to get into another subject that is a big part of my interests: cloth simulation.

Cloth simulation in Unreal Engine 4 can be done in 2 different ways. The first way is to use an external application to create an APEX Cloth object that is then imported into UE4, and the second way is to actually configure the cloth inside UE4. The first method requires you to modify the original APEX Cloth file every time you need to make a change, even if it’s a small change; the second method allows you to modify the cloth directly inside the engine editor.

You create a cloth object within the editor, you open the Mesh editing window (double-click on your static mesh or skeletal mesh in the Content Browser) and then, all you have to do is activate the Section Selection tool and then right-click and select “Create Clothing Data from Selection.”

Cloth simulation requires you to paint weights on your model. As you can guess, the weight value defines how much the clothing moves (0 means the cloth remains static, and then the mesh becomes more dynamic as the value increases).

The mesh will display some attributes that control how the cloth will behave. These can be very confusing, so I think it’s better to just download the ContentExamples project, and explore the Cloth map to see how they configure the cloth.

When you are adding cloth simulation to your characters, you need to add a Physics Asset to your Skeletal Mesh. That Physics Asset is the same one you use for hair dynamics (it’s used for a lot of things in Unreal Engine, actually). You have to do this because cloth doesn’t offer per-polygon collision like in 3D applications like Maya or 3D Studio Max. Making these Physics Assets can be time-consuming when creating a certain kind of outfit. For example, Amelia is wearing a short dress and I have to create colliders that follow the shape of her legs, hips and buttocks to make the dress look good.

You can preview the behavior of the cloth directly in the Mesh editing window if you select a preview animation from the drop-down button on the menu. The following video shows the finished cloth simulation.

This is the extremely complicated setup I did for the legs.
And this video shows Amelia, in game, with cloth simulation and dynamic hair.

Working with cloth simulation in Unreal Engine 4 isn’t that different to Unity. The workflow is more or less the same, although I like how UE4 features actual painting tools (the gradient paint is my favorite).

Get Unreal Engine: https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/get-now

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