3D Cloth and Fabric Material Tutorial

Jesus Fernandez
Mar 30, 2017 · 4 min read

Originally published at jesusfc.net on March 30, 2017.

When working with cloth and fabrics on 3D it is hard to achieve a good resolution and great look on all kind of aspects. Let us say that you have a great render when far from the cloth material but you have an awful look when you zoom in, because the details are not that good or you have some bad resolution on your textures.

Get the shaderball model here

This is a common problem that we normally encounter when working with fabric, adding this to the result with the actual Fresnel reflection that we are used to see on cloth. For beginners this is one of the hardest parts to get right, the high value reflection on 90 degrees and the almost non-existing reflection on 0 degrees.

When working with cloth and fabrics on 3D it is hard to achieve a good resolution and great look on all kind of aspects. Let us say that you have a great render when far from the cloth material but you have an awful look when you zoom in, because the details are not that good or you have some bad resolution on your textures.

As you can see, there are many studies about how to make garments and fabrics, and why are we talking about models if the post is about materials well, the difference with the new technique vs the old technique is about this model or a series of models. When using a texture for bump map or a texture from real life scans, we lose many details from the actual fibers, as you could see on the video. The solution for that is to use actual models to make the tiles and render these models as part of the final map.

As I wish to make tillable maps it is important that the weaves I model can be tiled evenly in both the U and V co-ordinates. Many weaves were able to be built on a lOxlO grid (with an 11th row and column added for tile-ability)… The nurbs curves could then be converted to geometry so that the strands have consistent volume throughout which will help prevent having any seams once the image is tiled.

Michael Cauchi — Paper Autor
Image from The creation and application of tillable artefacts to quickly create photorealistic cloth shaders for animation or VFX. by Michael Cauchi

With this process in mind, I decided to try the system using Maya and Redshift and the results are amazing, when working on the first batch of renders I found that the actual network is the same for all render engines. There is only one connection into the material itself, making it really malleable and easy to use.

This is first result for this material in conjunction with an actual texture scan for the color itself, blending the best of both worlds. This is the first pass without procedural noise simulation for realism

After that is time to start working on the noise patterns and more complex shading network to add that bit of realism that makes everything look more natural.

I made a two part tutorial with Autodesk Maya about how to make this type of materials, and work with almost any render system. You can see this tutorial and 14 more lessons on my Patreon.

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