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Sculpting along mesh

This is quite off-topic but I do not know where else to ask, so here goes:

Can you sculpt along mesh in blender? I have seen some amazing garments with different shapes like jacket open/closed or pants normal/pulled down. I just have gotten into simply cloth pro and I wonder does blender enable this kind of editing.

To elaborate, I give you an example: Let's say I port a character mesh to blender and I make a simple shirt. I finish the edit, move to sculpt mode, and add basic and new shapes. I want the other shape of the shirt with rolled-up sleeves so I try simply cloth pro's cloth sculpt tool and the sleeve just crumbles up to itself. It leaves no hole for the arm so I wondered if I could sculpt it along the arm so it would end up somehow acceptable.

If anyone knows any way to achieve this, please share your knowledge with us. It would be greatly appreciated!
Perhaps @Blacky or @Vandred could have some arcane knowledge to figure this out.


  • edited March 2022
    I think @Blacky can help you better Clothing is also a difficult topic for me, what I do at least is, as soon as I change something on the body in FVNE, it (e.g. shirt) usually has to be adjusted again in blender.

    A small tip maybe I'm not so good at it, but there are Skyrim or Fallout modders who can do it better, you just have to push one or the other pair of pants into place. ;)

  • Hi @Static_snowflake , sorry for being late on this one. So basically: Yes! you can do a lot of stuff with shape keys and I can show you folks all of that, but of course this takes time to work out a proper tutorial. I have a bit of spare time this week so I think I'll hook you all up on this one since the long answer for your question might take a few more sentences and a lot of pictures ;)

     I'll work something out!

  • It would be greatly appreciated! I'm a bit tired of making two similar pieces of clothing while I could be done much more easily.
  • nah, that's not how it is fun to work with, I'm on it ;)
  • -Shape Key Tutorial-

    Alright, all set up. Let's do this!

    I'll try to give you all a few examples how and what can be done with the shape keys to do some really cool stuff:

    1. Roll up your sleeves

    As requested let's start with this one.

    At first, select your cloth that you want to work on in object mode, then go to the little green thingy on the right, go to shape keys and hit the plus two times to get a "Basis" and a "Key 1":

    I like to use proportional editing (O key) for pretty much everything I do but you can of course use sculpt mode instead as well, the only thing you need to do is turn up the Value to 1 or you can't do a thing inside your Shape Key:

    Just be careful with the simply cloth pro sculpt effects, they can wreak havoc on your mesh quite easily as you already noticed.

    The only one I use is the drag tool, but, again, this (most of the time) causes you more trouble than helping you out.

    To fix that mess the drag tool creates you can use the smooth tool but we come to that in a second.

    I show you how I prefere to do the cloth editing:

    In order to pull some sleeves up I selected this edge with "ALT and LMB-click". Now with "G-X" Key and some movement you'll already get over here:

    I renamed the Shape-Key and now you might want to do some adjustment to the arm here and there but that's already it.

    With every G and movement you automatically get those ruffles if you use proportional editing. Just mouse-Wheel around a bit to get the desired results. You can of course go up even more or add in some more ruffles like so:

    Alt+LMB one edge and do some scaling on it till you get some ruffles.

    Same goes for the other side. Ufortunately there is no proper way that I know to mirror a shape key so you would have to do it manually...But hey, I myself wouldn't be able to roll up my shirt in real life symmetrically anyway, so why should my alter ego be able to do so? :P

    once you've finished with deforming the shape key go back to object mode and export it to the App. In the binding section there will be an aditional shape showing up that you can now individually bind to your character.

    2. Dragging stuff

    Just to give you an idea what can be done you can of course move around your entire clothing and bind it to different regions of your character.

    The simplest example would be my dear Cassidy wearing her glasses in three different ways: nose, head and holding them in one hand:

    This can be done by adding a new shape key, then go to edit mode, hit A to select all your mesh and then G move it around to the place you want it to be.

    Inside FVNE you have to build some exclusion masks to make it work and it can be a bit of a hassle to make it perform well but just experiment around a bit. I recomend checking this out inside the app directly.

    Now, the next level for dragging is a bit more naughty.

    You can reposition regions of your clothes or the entire thing by selecting one vertex or a larger edge and move it around with G like so.

    You might want to do some bind poses to make it work properly.

    3. Size matters

    Ever noticed what happens when Fox and Co. pull out their blasters?

    You can enlarge your cloth inside a shape key. In this example I moved the entire thing by selecting all vertices with A, moved it with G and scaled it with S once it's in the right spot:

    Of course this also works the other way around. Ophelia's hunter skirt can shrink down to make it fit if you remove the other skirt layer.

    I left her sword in place so you can see the size diference a bit better.

    Inside blender it's just S scale it down a bit, nothing spectacular here...

    4. Revamp shapes

    -Open/close jackets

    This one is a pretty simple way to create two entirely different styles of how your character wears a jacket.

    Once your piece is done we go to edit mode and wireframe mode, place your camera in front of the character and cut through one half of the jacket by box selecting one half of it:

    Press H key to hide that half away.

    Now we can drag this side around the way we want it to be. As you can see, this really doesn't look so good, right? Yeah, that's where the sculpt mode kicks in:

    Make sure you bring up the slider here to 1.0 or else you can't do a thing ;)

    Do just a few short klicks and watch your impact radius or you'll destroy the shape to much. Changing the radius works with F key and mouse movement.

    Once you're done bring back the hidden half with "ALT and H" and do the same thing on the other side.

    -up or down pulls

    So, if you'd like to check out Valencia, Lucy or Hoshi you can see a lot of cloth wandering up or down the entire body. This takes some time and effort to make it look right, so now we have reached the point where you might have to undo things and start over a few steps to get good results.

    Generally to speak:

    - Select and hide away anything you don't want to deform

    - if you move pants down or tops up the body you want to get rid of the round shapes. That can be achieved within a heartbeat by using the smooth sculpt tool. Now that the mesh is flat you can bring it in position.

    There is no general 'how to' since this is very individual, but basically it works the same way as the above mentioned things. Grab the cloth, drag it around and smooth it out.

    5. What else can we do? Brooks expressions

    To get different expressions on a custom head you can also use shape keys. I made two expressions using this method to give brook some more "mimics".

    Here it's about bringing the head in different shapes via shape key's. Basically we now enter the sector of facial expression and I guess I don't want to go in detail inside this post, it's just that you heard of how it works and to encourage your fantasy a bit more.

    With that said I hope this one helps you out, if there are problems, just ask. Criticism is welcome,

    Cheers everybody!
  • edited March 2022
    Okay, thats a lot that I did not know. The whole proportional editing and hiding certain parts is completely new to me and opens up considerably more possibilities.

    With jackets, shirts and other symmetrical garments, I may be possible to leave the mirror modifier on while editing shape keys. That just might work but I'm not sure.

    The sizing is pretty clever so the clothing will fit properly, I have done this mostly with pixel offset but your method is better. When it comes to objects, such as classes, gun and sword, I would still go with parts. Of course it is easier to have a gun holstered in blender but then you cannot move or interac with it in VNE. Prehaps a good compromise would be static version like sheated sword as garment and movable sword as a part.

    Thanks @Blacky, this is a big help for anyone who is working with garments!
    Some many possibilities, now I just have to find me some time to work with these new ideas.
  • @Static_snowflake Thanks a lot, glad that I can help you out!

    About the glasses, gun and sword part of yours: It depends on what you want to do. I'd like to have the options that the shape keys give me to do all that stuff. Of course you can do the same thing with a part by moving it in pose mode but since the part is bound to a parent this technique won't work that good. Take Cassidy as an example:

    I could move the glasses from her nose to her head and it would work exactly the same but once I put it in her hand it of course won't move along the hand since the head is the parent. This will most likely matter once animations start and that's why I made all those weapons and accessories as garments even if it is a bit more complicated to get it done.

    Doing those parts double and hide one version away is a good attempt but I doubt that the triangle limit for that kind of maneuver would suffice. Also you would have to do twice the texturing and so on...nah, that's not my taste, but it would work. It always depends on what YOU want to do ;)

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