Using N Cloth as secondary animation dilemma...

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  10 October 2017
Using N Cloth as secondary animation dilemma...


I thought I would ask bout this, because I've worked on this for several days and I'm stumped... I'm using Maya 2017 sp4. I have a rigged shark, and i'm trying to use a simplified mesh of the shark as an Ncloth to drive the skin of the shark as it swims and bites... e.g. you get the jiggle in the areas around the gills... So when I created the N Cloth mesh from duplicating the original in which it shares the same skin cluster, and apply via wrapdeformer, I'm getting double transforms on all the animation controls. Next, i try using the N Cloth mesh as an influence, which for some reason works on a simple animation test, but when I set it up for the animation I want, it just doesn't work. It seems to always want to go to the bind pose and the mesh jumps...
I"ve tried so many things... resetting the bind pose, deleting the bind pose... still it doesn't work. It does work when I don't animation the mesh and it's at the origin, or if it's a simple animation like moving the rig a few meters an opening and closing the mouth... Can someone please tell me how to accomplish this? I've seen it in the VFX breakdown of The Shallows in which there's a skin layer with a simplified mesh driving the skin layer of the shark. I've made myself sick trying to figure this all out... looking for tutorials all over the web, including some skinning with N Cloth, but this was using blend shapes ... thanks!
  10 October 2017 have a look at this... as far as I can understand your thread you are getting double transforms because of skin+wrap combination... i.e. skin moves it then wrap moves it again... it's difficult without seeing the rig... and who is driving who? There is something very confusing here...
  10 October 2017
Hello Benzin!

okay... the N Cloth is driving the secondary animation of the skin (outer shell) of the shark. Correct, I'm getting the transformations from the wrap and the animated main mesh. So as soon as the shark starts swimming, it's going twice the distance and the mouth is opening up twice as wide.
Another method, is to use Add Influence ... but now it seems that as soon as I do this, add influence of the N cloth, the whole main mesh jumps to the origin. That video with the wing is very good, saw this before and actually used it to animate a pterodactyl, but this won't work for the shark. It's like you have a simplified mesh that has the same animation as the main mesh, but it's an n cloth with all the jiggles going on when the shark makes sudden moves... this in turn drives the main mesh so the outer skin of the shark jiggles ... Reason i'm using a simplified mesh is to get rid of any overlapping areas... like the gills so the n cloth solves better. Any ideas? ILP uses this on their shark animations ... a skin layer , cloth layers to drive the sharks skin.
I"m probably doing something wrong here with the whole setup because neither method is working like it should for me so far...
  10 October 2017

Here is an image that shows what's going on. You can see the skin layer on the left, driving the secondary jiggles on the shark mesh on the right...
  10 October 2017
Obviously a mesh driving mesh isn't working... probably because of collision between ncloth simulation data and skin data.... i.e. a skin can drive ncloth but not the other way around ... vertex spaces etc. ... but this approach should work ... i.e. skin the model to the joints with baked animation from ncloth in 1to 1 fashion, and parent those joints to main controller ... I guess they had used blendshapes for exactly the same reasons and problems you are encountering right now... it's heavy like s..t and not for real time animation but more like a effects layer during render time...

Edit: Where is the duplicated mesh (input mesh) of the ncloth? Does it stays on the origin?

Last edited by Benzin : 10 October 2017 at 11:57 AM.
  10 October 2017
I see what you mean but i got this working doing it this way. yes you can use an N cloth creation to influence a skinned mesh, but you have to cache the cloth, transfer the cache to the input mesh then remove the cloth. Now you can use Add Influence (not wrap deformer) and it works... i just figured this out now. But i don't think that's the way ILP is doing it... or maybe some of it. Make sure you lock weights on the cloth, then paint the area you want to jiggle... then transfer. Okay but i'm using the same mesh in both cases (minus the eyes and teeth). Why not just convert skinned mesh to n cloth, lock and paint and achieve the something? Because some parts of the shark mesh, like the gills, don't solve nicely... so you apply a smoothed out version to jiggle the gill area of the main mesh... adds a bit more finesse. The trick is, is to use a simplified mesh like the one you see on the left, to drive the main mesh... not to use the same exact mesh because then what's the point of doing it this way... Any ideas? Any people that work at ILP wanna chime in and give a few hints?

Last edited by adybas88 : 10 October 2017 at 02:37 PM.
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