Well. Curtains. It takes a whole lot longer for me to explain to you how to create curtains with 3ds Max Cloth modifier than it does for you to actually do it. Once you understand the basics and do a few curtains yourself, you’ll see that it’s really rather easy. I’m going to show you how to create a curtain panel that is gathered as if on a curtain rod, and that puddles on the floor.
The scene we will use consists of three simple primatives – a plane (curtain), a cylinder (rod), and a box (room). The plane will be the cloth object and the rod and room will be collision objects. I made the plane for the curtain 60″ wide and 96″ long and gave it 30 Width segments and 48 Length segments. You can make the mesh more dense if you like. The cylinder has a .75″ radius and is 72″ long. The box is 12′ in all directions and the Length and Width segments are set to 1.
I made some modifications to the plane and box primatives. If you want more realism
for your curtain object, you may want hems or some type of trim. In figure 1, I’ve converted the plane into an editable poly and selected the rows of polys on each side as shown. Then I used the Quickslice tool (with the Ortho snapping tool enabled) and sliced each row approximately in half. Then I selected the top, bottom and two side rows and set them to Material ID 2. By doing this, it will make your job of selecting those perimeter polys much easier should you need to.
If you are doing a simulation involving wind, you may want to create a simple opening in your box or take out one side completely, depending on the situation you will be simulating for. If you are doing a simulation for a closed window, all you need is a floor and one wall. In my case, I will be using the Wind Space Warp for my Cloth Force and I want it to come in through
a window. I converted the Box to an editable poly and, in Polygon mode, selected the side where I wanted my window to be. Then I used the Inset tool set to a fairly high and amount to approximate my opening, and further tweaked the size in Vertex mode. Hide or delete the inner polygon.
In order to create gathers and puddles in our curtain, we will animate the curtain rod. Turn on AutoKey and set the Max Animation slider to 100 (figure 2). Then select the curtain rod and set the length to 30″ and move it down 10 or 12 inches (or however much you want the curtains to puddle). If you don’t want puddling, leave the rod at the current height. Turn off Auto
Key and set the Animation slider back to 0. Our object is for the curtain object to be attached to the rod and to follow it along wherever it goes in the animation – in this case it will gather and puddle.
Now we want to set our curtain so that it will stick to the curtain rod during the simulation. With the curtain selected, go into the Group sub-object of the Cloth modifier. You will see all the vertices of the curtain object, and you want to select the ones at the top that you want to cling to the rod. Click Make Group and name it if you want. Then you want to click Sticky Surf and select the curtain rod object. Now when you animate the rod, the curtain will follow it.
To simulate using the Wind Space Warp, click Space Warps in the Creation panel and click Wind. Go to a viewport where your window is in elevation facing you, then click and drag the Wind object in the viewport. For now, just leave the default settings. Select the curtain again and in the Cloth rollout, click Cloth Forces. You will see the Wind object in the left pane – move it over into the right pane and close the dialog. See figure 4.
We are ready to simulate our curtain now. With the curtain still selected, click Simulate and let it go to the end of the animation (figure 6). I like to do a Simulate Local until I like how it looks (figure 7). I let my curtain settle back down for the render at the top of the article. You can also go into
the Faces level of the Cloth modifier and activate Live Drag! to tweak the look further (figure 8 ). Once you have the curtain simulated to your liking, you can create a mesh copy of it with the Snapshot command from the Tools menu. Add a Turbosmooth modifier to give a nice appearance, and a Shell modifier if needed. If you want to control texture tiling via a UV Mapping modifier, insert it between the curtain editable poly and the Cloth modifier.
Have fun making curtains!