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How would one freeze a simulated body at frame X and use it as a static mesh?

Following a tutorial, I've been able to do a cloth animation to my model, now I'd like to have that made static, without the use of the timeline.

The thing is, I'm modelling something that's not going to be an animation, but a static object (something like a statue/figurine). So I don't need the animation, only the shape at a particular frame that I find convenient. I'd like eventually once this is done, to also modify that deformed grid.

I've tried to follow what was said here, but couldn't figure out what chipmasque was saying. I'm quite new to blender (been using it on and off, just enough to forget everything).

I'm using blender 2.63, if it is of any relevance.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

You can apply the cloth simulation modifier. That will convert the current frame into a static mesh, and all other simulation data will be deleted.

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Thank you! For a reason, the forum post suggested to Apply as Shape Key but it did not do what I wanted (I'm don't know what it should have done). Doing just Apply then cause Blender to complain that there was shape keys, which I deleted, then re-did Apply and it worked! – Alexandre Vaillancourt May 28 '14 at 19:59
When you make the Shape Key, the shape key influence was probably 0.0. If you dial that up to 1.0 then the shape key is fully in effect. – Mutant Bob May 29 '14 at 15:18

A better way to do it that saves you the trouble of having to re-enter all of your cloth settings and loosing all of your bakes is to use the "create duplicate for editing" option on the dropdown menu to the right of the object's list of shape keys. (The black downward arrow below the plus and minus buttons)

This creates a freeze frame duplicate of the object exactly as it looks on screen. Now you select both the duplicate mesh and your original (you want to do it in that order so the original is your active mesh) and use the "join as shapes" option in the same dropdown menu as before. Ta-da: new shape key.

You're free to delete the duplicate at this point, or you can keep tweaking the duplicate and adding new shape keys to the original.

Make sure you have any subdivide, solidify, decimate, or remesh options turned off when you make the duplicate, or the vertex count won't match and you won't be able to apply the shape. If you want to make any tweaks to the duplicate you can do so. Sculpt, edit, apply modifiers, turn it inside long as you don't add or subtract any vertices you can do whatever you want to the duplicate and it will still apply back perfectly with no fuss. Deleting one vertex and adding another for the same total will still mess this up because it changes the number tags on the vertices, but subdivide/multires is okay as long as you turn them back off at the end.

This same trick works for any deformer, not just cloth. Its also extremely useful for making corrective shape keys, making shape keys out of entire stacks of modifers in two steps, and giving yourself some idiot proofing while reducing lag by letting you sculpt on a clean duplicate rather than your precious master copy with thirty shape keys floating in your cache.

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You can stop the animation at the point you want the shape of the cloth to be in and then select the cloth by right clicking. Go to File and then Export. Export the selected cloth as a wave front object. When in the export dialog window, be sure to check "Selected Only" in the pane on the left side. There are some other options there as well. After all is said and done you may then Import your Wavefront Object and then save it as a Blender File. Depending on the cloth type you have setup, you can get some really cool shapes from a cloth animation that you can use as abstract objects in other Blender files.

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