I like to try and improve my Blender skills by recreating images in 3D. So I would like to make an image just like this one. Or close enough.

enter image description here

I thought about just laying them all on a table, but then, I thought I would try to make the cloth effect. But I'm not sure how would I make the cloth act like this. I've made cloth fall and lay flat, but this look would be new to me. And then after I get the cloth, I'm not sure how I would get the balls and cube set on top and weigh down the cloth without passing through it. The Blender physics system is still very new to me, so I'm not sure if I could just make a soft jelly like cube on the bottom and make the cloth, balls and cube drop and setting on it to give it a squishy look. Or if I should just make a hard box with holes dipped in for the balls to rest into and just and somehow get the cloth to make this effect. But here was a quick scene I put together to show my first idea.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Try setting the cube and the balls to collider in Physics Properties $\endgroup$
    – CoolCoder
    Jul 20, 2021 at 3:42

1 Answer 1


One approach, as you described, is to run a cloth simulation with some obstacles placed in the box to create wrinkles and improve the result manually.

Final render

final render

Simulation setup

Start with the box, and place some obstacles with Collision enabled for them. Separate the box walls from the bottom of the box. So you can give only the bottom part a collision. The walls are ignored for the simulation (no collision) because the cloth slipped and folded, overlapping too much with the walls involved.

Side note: The box was created from the default cube (2 meters). So everything is large. The simulation worked quite well at this scale. But for the lighting, you might want to scale it down to real-world size. (I haven't done this yet in the screenshots.)

simulation setup

Scale the fabric up a little to have more geometry to work with. The plane here has 10 subdivisions and a Subsurface Division modifier for non-destructive testing. Level 3 setting for the modifier and the Leather preset for the Cloth settings did the trick.

Keyframe the location of the glass balls and move them down when the fabric has settled (so after 50 frames). The glass balls have also Collision with default values enabled.

In the end, the cube was simply placed in the center, with no simulation, no collision.

Simulation result

simulation result

Apply the Subdivision Surface modifier. Then the Cloth modifier As Shapekey if you like or just apply it. After you have done this you can make manual corrections in the Sculpt mode with the Smooth, Grab, Elastic Deform, and Cloth brushes. The Cloth brush has different modes such as Grab, Pinch, Drag, ... that you can select in the tool settings.

Raise the cloth mesh and remove any obvious intersections to get the desired "nest effect". Add a Solidify modifier to the blanket to give it some thickness.

Final mesh

final mesh


About the scale: the box is 2x2 meters and cloth simulation was run on this scale. If you have a smaller scale like 20x20 cm, you need to decrease the values for the collision Collision > Softbody & Cloth > Thickness Outer for the obstacles, and Cloth Settings > Collisions > Object Collisions > Distance for the blanket. There can still be a "float" effect. But if you use too small values the blanket scrunches itself up. It also looks less stiff but more relaxed on this scale. This can be adjusted with the Stiffness settings. Self Collision was not used.

The material for the blanket is an adjusted jeans PBR texture with a very high Sheen value (25):

shader setup for blanket (In case anyone is wondering, I wasn't aware that the Normal map is in DirectX format and should be converted to use it correctly.)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Wow, you made it perfectly. Your tutorial is beyond perfect. I was able to follow along the whole time. I will have to some things up like the shapekey or those brushes you mentioned. I've never used them before. Also, I never would have thought about designing the bottom plate the way you did. That makes more sense for creating those wrinkles. So if I'm understanding I need to first let the animation play out and let the cloth settle then allow the balls to drop into place and let the cloth settle a little more or just run the sim and let everything drop at once. $\endgroup$ Jul 22, 2021 at 22:16
  • $\begingroup$ Also, another question. You mentioned the simulation worked well at the scale you had. Do these type of simulations always work well at big scale. My Rubik cube is scaled up to 6m. Should I scale everything down and run the sim in the 2m box, or scale the box up to match the scale I already have for everything else? Also, once it's done, should I have to scale it down to make the rendering perform smoother. $\endgroup$ Jul 22, 2021 at 22:44
  • $\begingroup$ Hey, you're welcome. I am glad that it worked. Yes, the balls stay in the air for a bit and the cloth falls down and settles. The balls follow slowly with some delay. Around frame 50 the cloth was down and balls were on their way. At frame 60 the balls were nested, and I stopped the sim at frame 67. $\endgroup$
    – Blunder
    Jul 24, 2021 at 16:15
  • $\begingroup$ There are several things that depend on, are related to, or are affected by the size of an object. Like the Subsurface Scattering value, the bevel offset value (if it's not percentage), hair particle sizes, the strength of lights, and so on. If you have your scene arranged around the 6m cube, I would try the simulation at that scale. You may need to adjust the settings of the cloth sim. If all else fails, you can always scale it down. $\endgroup$
    – Blunder
    Jul 24, 2021 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ I recently finished another animation and posted it for others to see, and they were asking why my physics looked weird, well after talking with them, I found out my objects were so large and that may have messed with my physics. My cubes were around 2000m in size. Someone suggested next time I use a 6ft man as reference when scaling things down. But now my cubes are right and set to 56mm. So should I still leave it around the size you did or scale everything down to the right size of the rubik cubes. $\endgroup$ Jul 25, 2021 at 4:49

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