I’ve been exploring and fighting this problem for a few weeks with no result and I’m really out of ideas.

I have to create a character (to import to Xcode). It is a standing in place ghost with its 'cloth' just waving in a loop (I used wind force). The only element I need to export is a waving cloth. I have prepared the simulation, baked it, exported as .mdd, imported the .mdd to obtain Shape Keys, removed irrelevant elements (incl. cloth modifier) and… I am not able to turn it into animation…

At first I presumed it’s an export problem (I posted Exporting cloth simulation to Collada results in static cloth instead of a waving one ), but then I realized that it’s not - the object is static and there is no animation.

I have proper Shape Keys but no idea how to push them run as animation. I have tried different methods to link Shape Keys to actions - still I’m not sure whether it is the core problem. I have added armature then run a script to create drivers between Shape Keys and Armature (as in https://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?325838-How-to-convert-a-cloth-simulation-animation-to-keyframes and here https://blenderartists.org/forum/archive/index.php/t-261576.html and How to convert cloth simulation into mesh animation? ). I manually added an action to the Cloth, but I don’t know whether it was needed. I don’t even know if there has been established any relation between Shape Keys and any action. I have applied Object transform (scale, rotation..) - no result… This How to export a scene with Shape Keys Animation? also doesn't work for me... This one Create ghost character from a certain point in cloth simulation is also not a solution - at the end there is again cloth modified added. I see there are few threads that might be related to mine but they remain unsolved.

Here the pain blend can be downloaded https://files.fm/u/sm2gkvv5

I export Collada and .blend to Unity for testing - there is an animation (I see frames running) but the cloth is static - not deforming.

I guess the solution must be very simple (I am a newbie) or there is a bug… Maybe anyone can help and tell me what is missing? There must be a way to export characters with animated cloth to game engines!…

I’m using Blender 2.79.

trying to get shape keys animated


2 Answers 2


Maybe Unity is importing the .fbx from the .blend in wrong ways (Unity imports .blend files as .fbx under the hood). I downloaded your .blend file, exported manually to .fbx and I can see the cloth waving in Unity3D.

I'm using Blender 2.79 and Unity3D 2017.3.0f2.

Try as follows:

  1. In Object mode select both mesh and armature

Select both mesh and armature in object mode

  1. Select File -> Export -> FBX
  2. Disable Add Leaf Bones

enter image description here

  1. Import the .fbx file into Unity

Animations in action

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This could have been a simple comment but I still can't comment other posts (reputation <50) and I wanted to help the OP. Still I tried to make the answer as complete as possible. $\endgroup$
    – Cacti
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 10:09
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Cacti! Wow! Thank you for having a look into my issue. It seems that somehow the animation gets exported to .fbx (and it is visible in Unity). Still, exported Collada file doesn't include mesh animation - it should be visible in MacOS Preview and the ghost keeps standing still. $\endgroup$
    – Magdalena
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 22:02
  • $\begingroup$ Cacti, I marked your answer as useful, but it seems it will be visible after I achieve 15 points... Best of luck in your projects! $\endgroup$
    – Magdalena
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 22:07

After so long research I am coming to conclusion that using a cloth sim (and expecting it to run in .dae or alembic .abc) was a mistake that took me to a "dead end"... Fbx - yes, other formats - I don't know. I guess I have to re-design the character or perhaps use different 3D software.

I hope this information will help others to save time.


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