6 answers · asked · Lesson: Different Blocking Approaches · Course: Sculpting the Wrangler Game Character

How separte clothes for Animatoion?

Hello, Ken. 

I´m creating my own character for a short film I don´t know which it´s the best approach to later Rig and animate the character.

Is it correct to separate the clothes and keep the original basic mesh behind the clothes?

I want to model 2 types of clothes for the film as you can see in the image:

And another question:

Is it recommendable to make the retropology of the character with the workflow you are using for latter Rig it and animated?

Thank you so much for your brilliant courses and suppoert.


  • Go with the dress up technique,. You can always transfer the vertex groups from the weight painted body or use it as a collider and do cloth simulation if you have the processing time/power. Deleting any non-visible mesh is mostly for optimizing for game engines.

    Yes retopo is important for any deformable mesh. robots that move along joints and hinges not so much but any organic character that moves by muscles you need to make sure that the quads flow evenly much like how skin does.

  • crew

    Along with bitbuilder's advice, I'd recommend watching this course: Intro to Character Modeling

    It's an oldie but a goldie. Concepts are very applicable now.

    Is it recommendable to make the retropology of the character with the workflow you are using for latter Rig it and animated?

    Yes, retopology is a crucial aspect of making characters's animation-friendly. Raw sculptures are way too inefficient to be used for animation. Jonathan Williamson uses retopology techinques when modeling his character in the above course.

  • Thank you for your support to both.

    I was watching this last 2-3 days some of the videos of "Intro to Character Modeling" and if I´m right the workflow is:

    0) Skin modify to make the body

    1) Separate the clothes and delete the body parts that are behind the clothes.

    2) Sculpting and polishing

    3) Retropoly the Face and hands

    4) Rigging

    Is that correct?

    - Is it recommendable to retropology the clothes then?

    I´m learning Blender since June so all this stuff it´s new for me. I haven´t understood "dress up technique". Sorry :)

    I spent like 90 minutes a day in this short film and I have 2 years Plan to make it (I started on September 2020 and I have already the Concept Art done) and finish it September 2022

    I stared this January with modeling and I till June 2020 I have one character more to model, one home (inside too) and one different house (only outside) and one scenario with this this houses and threes as the world using the idea of the Stylist Forest course I have completed.

    And after that from September 2021-September 2022 > Animation + Lighting + Postproduction

    I need to have an efficient workflow and I like the way Kent you model, color and make the process the most funny and artistically as possible. 

    - Do you have any recommendation you can give me with this info?

    And the last question if its possible to ask you. 

    - For blender 2.9 do you know some add on or way to make MoCap for the animation part?

    Thank you so so much and sorry for the long writting

    I´m not writting so much more, I swear :)

  • crew

    One thing you will learn about Blender / 3D is how relative every task of the workflow becomes. There's rarely one complete answer for a 3D question.

     Is it recommendable to retropology the clothes then?

    Retopology is merely a method of achieving clean, even topology according to the template of another shape. Some people prefer to model clothes from scratch with even topology in which case retopology is unnecessary. If you're sculpting your clothes first, like in the course, then yes, you will need to retopologize clothing for the sake of animation / simulation.

    Separate the clothes and delete the body parts that are behind the clothes.

    This is what's taught in the course, which is ideal for a non-moving character. When it comes to animating clothes you will probably want to keep the underlying body model. You can rig clothing to a character so it moves exactly with the body, which is easiest for clothing but not realistic at all. Or you can simulate the cloth behavior which is far more realistic and far more difficult, for which you will need the underlying body model for collisions.

    Do you have any recommendation you can give me with this info?

    Making an animated short film with a team of professionals is difficult. So you can imagine that for a beginner it's very difficult. I think my best advice to you is to harness your expectations.

    A lot of new 3D artists start off with lofty dreams of making a game or an animated short. I started with this exact goal myself! After a year of working on it I learned a lot about 3D and a lot more about how much I did not know about 3D / film production. The project overwhelmed me and I gave up. In fact I gave up on 3D for a few years. It was a harsh reality to realize.

    Hear me: I'm NOT saying this to rain on your parade. Lofty 3D dreams are crucial to an artist's 3D journey! It's what makes this kind of work so much fun and fulfilling. Dreams / goals like this still drive me after 15 years. BUT unmet expectations can kill those dreams quickly. I've seen too many beginner start out with a big 3D goal, not achieve that goal, then quit 3D all together.

    I don't want that for you. So my advice is to temper your goals for 2021-2022:

    • Limit your scope to creating 2 high-quality characters and 1 high quality environment over the next two years. That may sound like a little but keep in mind you will have to create a few poor characters and poor environment assets first to learn about the process before you can apply it in a high quality way.

    • Limit your scope by lowering the quality bar in your mind. It's very possible to create an animated short in two years as a beginner. But the quality will not be high. Maybe that's OK with you! Maybe you can create a low-quality short and the reward is the experience more than the quality of the final product.

    Once again PLEASE do not read this as discouragement. Quite the opposite. I can say these things from deep personal experience because I've nurtured a short film dream for many years. I've experienced the mountain tops of starting multiple short films only to have them all fade away into the valley of failed attempts.

    So if you're truly driven by the passion to create a short film, your best chance for success is to take it slower than faster. You have to learn to walk before you can run.

    PS: One more recommendation: Watch the Piero course if you haven't yet. Not for the sake of following along but more for a detailed perspective through a production pipeline as a 3D animating working alone. It will give you a lot of insight in to the huge process and hopefully be inspiring.

  • Thank you so so much for your advices,

    Reading and feeling what you are telling me I think the best advice is to reduce my expectations and try to enjoy the learning process, because this short film is that for me and later if the story can help other people to reflect, better :)

    I´m going to keep my plan, because I prefer to do a lower quality film and learn and EXPERIMENT all the Pre-Pro-Post process and after that go for a new one with all this experiences.

    Thanks again and hope to share with you the film :)