Soft Sheets 3 - The Isadora Collection
- how to make them dance (and some neat little tricks for even more fun)


Hello and thank you for purchasing the Soft Sheets 3!

With this product you've bought a highly creative set, and source of endless fun:
A set of dynamic items inspired by the clothes of modern dancers.

This little tutorial will guide you through the use of this product and gives you some tips on how to alter settings and tweak them to your needs.

If you are new to dynamics in Poser, we highly recommend you look into the Poser Help and check out the tutorials Smith Micro offers on it's site. You will find a tutorial called "Cloth Parameters and Their Effects" there that will explain all the settings you can use with dynamic cloth. There will be some situations when your dynamic Sheet looks brittle, has sharp edges or even breaks - no tutorial is able to cover every scene your imagination is able to create. Being able to alter the cloth parameters will help you to get a smooth result without altering the scene too much.

Before we start with the tutorial it is necessary to mention dynamic cloth and DAZ Studio!
Unfortunatly the Soft Sheets-products do not work in DAZ Studio, regardless of the version you own. DAZ Studio uses a completely different system for dynamic clothes. While in Poser all you have to do is load an object-file, clothify it and choose the objects it collides with, this method does not work in DS. Dynamic clothes for DS require a third party software that is (at the moment) not available for developers.
In other words: If you want to purchase dynamic items for DAZ Studio you are, at the moment, bound to what DAZ offers in it's store!

...and now it's time to

Set up your scene

It's as easy as this:

  1) Load your figure.
As V4 is the most used figure at the moment, all items will fit her by default.
But with little effort, you will be able to fit everything to other figures as well.
I will explain this later.
Uncheck Inverse Kinematics, but otherwise leave your figure as it was loaded from the runtime.

  2) If you want to use conforming clothes, it's time to load and conform them now

  3) Add hair, jewelry, scenery items and what else you may desire for your scene.

  4) Decide on a clothing item.
   If you want to use the veil, it is important to add the cap first! The cap is a static (non dynamic prop) and the veil is parented to it.
As all clothes are smart propped to V4, they will automatically follow any rotation and translation if you move her.


step 1-5


step 6-10


The veil, for instance, contains a constrained group that makes it cling to the cap which creates the illusion that it's attached to it.
The toga comes in two versions: Constrained and Not Constrained. Now what does this mean?
A constrained group is a part within the cloth that will cling to every surface as soon as it collides with it. The constrained toga will cling to the shoulder during the simulation, the toga without a constrained group will move free. Depending on your pose they MAY slip down over the shoulder and even slip down to the floor.



  toga-constrained
Toga with constrained group
  toga-notconstrained
Toga without constrained group

In very few situations even the constrained parts of the Sheets may not cling to the shoulder.
If this happens, you should look closely where the cloth slips away, then simply edit your constrained group by adding some more polygons in the right place to it and simulate again.

The Sheet of your choice may be invisible (especially parts of the cape when you look at V4 from the front) - but that's just a preview issue!
It will appear in the render and you will be able to see it while it moves during the simulation process.


    Important:
Make sure that your figure is selected when you load your Sheet and it's not a conforming clothing or a hair figure!!

   5) If desired: Add a windforce. Make sure that the windforce does not stick in a wall or other environment.
If the windforce sticks in V4 when you add the pose - this may create an interesting effect as V4 moves through the simulation and so alters the influence of the forcefield.
    Important:
The windforce (named "Forcefield" in the properties dialog) is visible when you load it. This makes sense as you may want to move it around, turn and nudge it and so on. Don't forget to uncheck "Visible", "Visible in raytracing" and "Cast Shadows" before you hit the render button!

   6) All the way down in your Poser Window you'll see the Animation Controls. Go to frame 20!

   7) If you want to use morphs on V4 you can add them now - the morphs will "grow" from 0 to the desired value from frame 1 to 20 and the sheet will react on it.
If you use conforming clothes: Don't forget to check if there are morphs/fixes you need to set.

   8) Add your pose on frame 20 as well.


   And what are these last 10 frames after frame 20 for I hear you ask?
The last 10 frames will give the cloth time to relax. While V4 has already stopped her movement, the cloth will continue to follow the gravity - or the windforce! The result is a smoothly flowing or draping Sheet that looks very realistic and soft.


   9) If you dressed your V4 you should make adjustments to the clothes now so that you do not find any pokethroughs when everything is done.
If you want to use conforming clothes underneath the dynamic ones, you may encounter pokethroughs in the first frame.
In the best case this looks ugly - but in almost every case your dynamic cloth will look crappy and broken.
If this happens you can do the following:

1.
Go to frame one and add the conforming clothes and the dynamic item of your choice.
In the example below it's the toga.

2.
Move your camera around to see where the conforming clothes poke through the dynamic clothes.

3.
On frame 1 alter the size of your dynamic cloth until no part of the conforming one pokes through it.
In most cases is it enough to alter the x- and z- scale.

4.
If desired you can now run your calculation as described below.

5.
The more elegant solution:
Go to frame 20 where you added your pose and set back all scaling values you altered on frame one back to 100%.
This way the dynamic cloth will shrink around the conforming one and behaves like a real clothing item with a little amount of elasticity. Please note that this method doesn't work with every kind of clothing. If you still encounter pokethroughs after running the calculation you should leave the "oversized" dynamic cloth as is. The result is what you see in the animation below.
And so, instead of getting this result:







we get this:




   10 a) If the hand touches the body or something else, you willhave to do a bit of thinking work:
Does it happen that the dynamic item of your choice slips through the hand and the touched surface?
If so, you should make sure that there is a small amount of space between hand and touched surface.
This way the Sheet will flow smoothly down between hand and surface without crushing too much.

   10 b) Some poses will need the hand poses to be tweaked a bit more.
If you ran your calculation and see that a hand (almost) grabs the dynamic cloth, you should add a believable finger-posing somewhere between frame 20 or 30.
You can pose the hand(s) manually or choose something nice from your hand library.
If you create your own hand-poses you should save them to the hand-library for future use.

   11)
If you followed the tutorial until here, you are done with setting up the scene...


So far your dynamic item looks pretty simple if not to say: boring! Nothing even close to what you saw in the promotional images and in this tutorial. When adding your pose and morphs it looked even worse!
And so it's time to visit the


The Cloth Room


   1) Select the "New Simulation" button by clicking on it.

   2) By default your beginning frame is 1 and the last frame is 30.
All our promotional images are made with these 30 frames so you may want to leave the settings as they are.
Once you have some experience with dynamic cloth you can play with more frames and with changing the pose during the simulation.
But for now 30 frames should do the trick!

   3) Check the box "Cloth Self Collision".

   4) Drape frames... you may want to use them or not - this depends on your pose and what you want to create.
If the Pose is rather static and if you do not use a windforce you can add as many drapeframes as you desire.

You can see some renders showing the effect of draping under "To drape or not to drape"

   5) You can now press the "Clothify" buton. A dialog will appear where you are able to select the Sheet you loaded.
Find it in the list of items (where for instance the hair or other props will be as well) and click "Clothify".

   6) Now the "Collide against" button is active. Click on it and you'll see everything that's in your scene.
If you are unsure what bodyparts of V4 will be touched during the simulation you should choose the whole V4.
You may want to uncheck the hair you've used, as having it in your simulation can be very time consuming.
However you MAY find that you will have to check it as well when you ran the simulation and find that the hair pokes through the cloth.
If the cloth will touch the ground or a background prop you will have to check it as well.
Same goes for every piece of clothing you have in your scene and props (like chairs) as well.
Do not add the windforce here - this "prop" works differently

   7) When you are done with the collision dialog, you have to set the collision depth and offset for every item that's in your list (V4 and, depending on your scene, ground, clothes, props).
Collision depth and offset tell the cloth how close to the surfaces you've just chosen it shall get.
As all Sheets are rather thin and "lightweight" you should decide on something between 0.6 and 0.5 for your first try.
You will find some checkboxes where you can uncheck the collision with V4's head, feet and hands.
Maybe you already know that some of these bodyparts will not be touched by the sheet - then you can uncheck them.
If you added hair and/or hair decorations to the list of collision items you should choose something around 0.8 as collision depth and collision friction.
This takes care of thin strands of hair and other tiny parts that may poke through if you use a lower value
Now you set at least a hook into the "Start draping from Zero Pose" box, and you're done with this part.

   8) After you finished the Collide dialog, you can see the parameters for the Sheets.
You can leave these settings alone so far, and run your simulation by hitting the "calculate simulation" button - but:
You may want to save your work before you do this, so that in case that something happens (Poser crashes, your computer refuses to work, power blackout, your cat wants to sleep on the keyboard...) you can simply load your scene and hit the calculate button.

   9) Get yourself a drink or fix some coffee, lean back and watch the magic happen...
(and hide your keyboard from the cat and other nosy roommates).

   10) As soon as the calculation is done you should save again.
The results of the calculataion will be saved together with your scene so you will not have to go through the whole process if you want to reload the scene later.

   11) Now choose the best render settings your computer is able to handle and render a small version of your image.

   12) In the material room you can pick several alternative materials and textures and of course you can add every material set you have to the surfaces.
The Sheets contain as few distortions as possible and will render beautifully with any kind of material shader.
But of course you'll have to keep in mind that the more you "stress" the mesh of a dynamic item, the more distortion you will get.
In other words: If you wrap the cloth around the figure, add a massive windforce or such, it may look better to use a simple material like the included "Sparkle" materials.
Don't forget to check displacement (if your material uses it) and add at least twice the value of your material in the "displacement bounds" settings.
If you use one of the patterned materials that you get with the Soft Sheets this would be at least(!) 0.016.

   13) If you are satisfied with your scene you should now run your large final render, decide on more drapes and scenes while the render engine does it's work, and then admire what you have created.

As you may have seen from this tutorial you now have a highly creative and inspiring set of items in runtime.
The Soft Sheets 3 are the perfect clothing solution for all your scenes that require lots of movement.
They are perfect to be used together with conforming clothes and their soft and airy look will breath life and realism into your scenes.




But you can do more!



Tweaking and experimenting - here's where the fun starts!!
The same scene - another pose!!



So you've created the perfect scene.
Light, textures, the character you've chosen:
Everything looks lovely together and you begin to think of a little series.
You're lucky, you do not have to start from zero again!



   1) Load the scene you've created before and save it under a new name (just to be sure not to overwrite the perfect one you've done before).

   2) Delete all frames except the first 20 ones by typing a "20" in the right "counter" of the animation window.
By default there should be a 30. Poser will ask you if you are sure, just prompt this by clicking the "OK" button.
Now you've got rid of the "relaxing frames".

   4) Go to frame 20 and alter your scene to your desire: Pose, postion and so on.

   5) Type a number for the last frames into the right counter. By default this will be a 30.

   6) Calculate your scene and render the second issue of your series!



The cloth parameters
As said above, the internet holds many tutorials and overviews regarding the cloth parameters, you should even be able to find sample images that show the effect of higher and lower values.
On the Soft Sheets we have used values that simulate the behaviour of light silk, chiffon and linen.
Below you find these settings and an alternative that creates the look of light soft wool and heavy silk.
Do not hesitate to experiment with these values and create new, exiting looks.
You can even save a sheet with a new name to the props library and it will load with your new settings!



       
Chiffon Crepe de chine Heavy silk




       
Light silk Light wool Linen




Cracks, edges, distortions and other nasty things
Such things can happen - don't panic, your cloth is not destroyed. You can always alter things and recreate the simulation.
First you should check out your render settings. Sometimes a hole or crack is nothing but an artifact caused by your render- and/or material settings.
If this is not the case you can do the following:
Use more frames - using more frames for the same pose helps the cloth to relax and stretch while it follows the pose.
Alter the pose - sometimes the pose is too extreme or your figure is rotated too much so that the cloth cracks when following the movement.
Alter the parameters - play around with the cloth parameters and see what you get.
Some postwork - While heavily postworking dynamic cloth is counterproductive cleaning out some sharp edges or a little pokethrough can be a better solution than deciding for another pose.

If you find the texture you've applied is being heavily distorted you can do two things:
-decide for another scene where the cloth is not stretched and twisted in such a massive way.
-decide for a material without a pattern... what is definitely the better way to go, as you will like the dynamic result better than you would like any pattern on your cloth.


    What's this collision friction checkbox?
This checkbox tells the cloth engine to ignore the Static and Dynamic friction settings specified by the dial, and instead use the settings from the Cloth Collision Objects dialog.
The checkbox that you see below the cloth parameters is checked by default.
Feel free to experiment with it, simulate and render a small scene with the default settings, unckeck it and calculate again, render and see what works best - with this specific scene.

As you may see from this example: There is not THE way to go when you work with dynamic cloth - and that's what makes it so fun!!


    Working with two and more dynamic cloths at once

...well, not literally at once - but of course you can use more than one item in a scene. You just have to take care that they do not intersect on the first frame. Now how does this work?
Let's take the Toga, the long Shawl and the Cape as an example:
Start by setting up your scene as you've learned above.
You should always load and calculate the item that fits your figure more tightly, so add the Toga first.

Set up pose, camera and so on like you've learned and run the calculation.

After you finished your simulation, create a new one (Sim_2).
Now load one of the Long Shawls, clothify it and add the Toga to the objects it has to collide with (beside your figure, clothes and so on).
Run your calculation.
After you finished the second simulation create a new one (Sim_3).
Now load the Cape, clothify it and add the Toga and the shawl the objects it has to collide with (beside your figure... you know!).
Run your calculation and admire your work!
All parts of this set are created to work together so there should be few - if any - tweaks necessary when combining them - except a combination of Shirtdress and Toga and Veil and Cape.
If you have an idea with these combinations you may have to tweak them as you already learned in the section about conforming clothes and poke throughs.


Step by Step
  • Step 1: The Toga represents the dynamic object that has the slightest distance to the character. So we add and calculate it first.
  • Step 2: The Shawl has a higher distance to the character but not as high as the cape and it appears (except the neck-part) in front of the body. So we load and calculate it after the Toga but before we add the Cape.
  • Step 3: The major part of the Cape loads far away from the character, only the arms fit pretty tight. As the Toga and the Shawl do not touch the arms (when loaded!) the Cape is the item that has the largest distance to the character. So we load and calculate it as the third item.

When you decide which item to load first and what item will follow, it is only important how the dynamic object fits when you load it! Poser will take care of any kind of deforming/widening/distortion during the calculation if you took care about the collision settings.




Step 1: The Toga
 
Step 2: The Shawl
 
Step 3: The Cape



  • You can add more dynamic items to your simulation. Just keep in mind:
  • Create a new simulation for each item
  • Don't let them intersect on frame one
  • The item that is the closest to the character has to be calculated first
  • The item that comes next MAY collide with the first item, the third item may collide with the second and first and so on.



Keeping the scene, changing the cloth
So you have a pose, light, textures, a cool windforce, everything - but with the Shirtdress instead of the Toga it would look even better?
No problem! Just delete the Shirtdress, add the Toga, clothify it and run your simulation. All collision settings will be kept. You just have to make sure that you do not miss a thing if the new cloth is longer/wider/tighter than the previous one.


Blowing in the wind
We pepared 10 different windforces/forcefields for you to get started with this cool Poser-toy. Be sure to explore the settings! You can move them around, rotate and nudge them and you can alter the settings.


You want more?
Alter the windforce settings during the simulation and/or rotate your figure (using the Body-rotation to not destroy the hip pose) during the simulation. This MAY cause cracks in your cloth but often will create fantastic effects. The more frames you use for such extreme experiments the smoother results you will get. So if the cloth wraps around your figure in a nice way but cracks you can try your luck with 40, 50 or 60 frames to give the cloth time to stretch and relax.

The animation below was done by altering the Z-rotation of the windforce on every fifth frame for 10 degrees up, back to default, down, back to default, up and so on. The figure goes from zero to a static (unrealistic) pose. But if you combine the windforce movement with even small movements of the figure you are able to create stunning animations with this special "How was this done?!?!"-effect.






You want to use the cap with hair? Well, you may need a "two render" solution and some postwork...
Most Poser hairprops and figures will poke through the cap, but there is a workaround. Set up the scene you desire like you are used to, add the cap and the veil and calculate your simulation. Save the scene and render the result.
Now add the hair of your choice, go to the last frame and render the scene again. if you have an idea of where the shadows in the scene are altered you can do an area render of just the altered part of the scene.
You can access the area renderer (Poser 6 and higher only) via the little camera icon with the frame on top of the preview window.




Load both renders into your favorite graphics application. It is up to you if put the hairless render above the hair-and-hat render or vice versa. Try both ways and decide what works best for you and the specific scene. In the example above I used the "hairless" render as the upper layer. I set it to half transparent and erased all parts where I wanted to have hair.

When you postwork renders following this method, you will have to look carefully at the shadows, these may have to be corrected as well!

When you are done set the hair-and-hat layer back to full opacity and you are done! All you have to do now is save a flattened image from your work.



    To drape or not to drape...
When setting up a cloth simulation you have the choice to add drapeframes. The drape-simulation will calculate the number of frames you enter in the field before the rest of the simulation will run.
If you use draping or not, is totally up to you.
A basic rule:
If your pose is rather static, does not rotate much, and if you do not use a windforce, you should give draping a try to achieve a softer, more natural look.






The number of frames you use is left up to you as well - you may want to start with something between 10 and 25 drape frames. If you are unsure you can test the effect by clicking the "Calculate Drape" button beside the field where you enter the number of drapeframes. This will run a simulation of just the drape so that you are able to get an idea of the effect.
This "preview calculation" will not be saved with the scene! If you want to keep the result of your drape calculation you have to run the complete calculation as you are used to (by hitting the "Calculate Simulation" button) and then save your scene.


The scene below contains very little movement and rotation and no windforce. This way only few forces affect the dynamic Cape. Some additional drapeframes are able to add the illusion of gravity and movement anyway.




25 drape frames No draping



    Can I use the veil without the cap?
Yes - or no, not really... but you can fake it!!
Poser hair, with it's fine strands, is hard to keep from poking through dynamic cloth.
Of course you can load the veil and alter it's parent to the hair, position it and try your luck.
Given that you use the right hair and the perfect collision settings you may succeed.
I highly encourage you to give it a try if you are willing to experiment a bit.
But if you want immediate success try this:


The veil is smartpropped to the cap and the cap is smartpropped to the figure's head.
This means:
The cap will move with the head and the veil will move with the cap - and it will change it's size when the size of the cap is changed.
And this fact is something we will use for our little trick:

1. Set up your scene, load all clothes and the hair you want to use.
2. Add the cap and then add the veil.
3. Now tweak the size and position of the cap until it covers (almost) all the hair.
    If you can't see the hair well enough in preview, alter it's display style to cartoon or a likewise style (it will still render textured!).
4. You will see that the veil moves and changes size together with the cap.
5. Set up your simulation and add the hair (and, if any, it's decorations) to the collision list - but don't add the cap!
    Choose 0.8 for the hair/hairprops collision offset and collision depth.
6. Run the cloth simulation.
7. Set the cap to invisible, turn off "cast shadows".
8. Now you may want to alter the position of the veil a bit until it seems to rest on the hair without any pokethroughs.
9. Do your render!

For better understanding: This is what you get...





    V4 is nice but I like Miki so much as well - and the Freak will look cool with a silken toga...
No problem.
Just load the figure, load the dynamic cloth of your choice and scale and move it until it doesn't intersect with the figure and ground, and then it can be simulated as you are used to.
It does not have to be tweaked to a close fit.
Just keep your eye on the proportions, the rest will be done with your cloth simulation.



    Sitting figures

      If you want your figure to sit down on a prop (a chair, a box) set up your scene and simulation as usual. But you should move the prop you want to use as a seat away from the figure on frame one, and have it in place on frame 20. During the simulation the prop will "slide" under your figure and either push the cloth away, or squeeze it between figure and seat.