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I am working on some clothing that will be using cloth sim. For this reason, it's best to keep it as a flat mesh without any thickness for the simulation. I then add a solidify modifier after the cloth sim to give it thickness, and a subsurf and/or bevel to prevent sharp edges.

The downside of using a mesh with no thickness is that it can't have much surface detail. And since cloth meshes do better with consistent vertex spacing, I don't want to knife detail into the mesh either. My options for getting more detail are to have a separate detailed mesh that is then attached to the cloth sim mesh with Surface Deform modifier, or to bake my detail to textures.

I know I can bake a solid mesh to a flat one, and I'll get the normals of the solid mesh on one side of the flat one. But can I bake to a mesh with a live solidify modifier and have it work properly? As far as I know, each side of the solidified mesh has the same UVs. So you get the same texture on each side. But what about the generated rim? How does this all work?

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You can bake front and back textures separately and use separate materials and the material offset feature of the solidify modifier. For normals you may need to invert normals on the mesh before baking the inside texture, I'm not sure.

You can also do the same with the rim, although getting this right is tricky and may require experimentation. I have used a UV squares texture to demonstrate:

enter image description here

The texture will be stretched across the rim, and use values averaged around the edge of the UVs, so this will only work with narrow rims. If your UV map doesn't have much of a margin, you may need scale the UVs down a little to get details from an existing map due to this. I would also not recommend using normal maps here as they are unlikely to be mapped correctly. See the following example using the coloured crosses in the UV squares texture:

enter image description here

Blend:

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  • $\begingroup$ This sounds like the sort of solution I'm looking for. Can you elaborate a bit more on the rim texture and why you would need to scale the UVs? $\endgroup$ – Drudge Mar 13 at 7:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Drudge added some more details on the rim behaviour $\endgroup$ – Sazerac Mar 13 at 7:57
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Use your single faced mesh BUT on the end of the sleeves, or neck or any cloth "thickness" just model just a few faces giving the appearance of thickness "U" shaped on the edge like this (see pictures) that way you will get the sense of thickness without the need to apply a modifier or more subdivision surface unnecessarily. enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here That way you will still have cloth simulation with a very light weight mesh. Make the cloth collide with very simple capsule polygon parented directly to the bone (no bone weights), hidden from render (wireframe view only). This way you´ll get a nice cloth simulation without the need of solidify. Play with stiffness. Make some vertex groups to "friction" the cloth more on some points.

Hope this is what you´re looking for. Cheers.

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