May 25, 2021
5 min

3D Cloth and Fabric Material Tutorial

When working with cloth and fabrics on 3D it is hard to achieve a good resolution and great look on all kind of aspects. Let us say that you have a great render when far from the cloth material but you have an awful look when you zoom in, because the details are not that good or you have some bad resolution on your textures.

This is a common problem that we normally encounter when working with fabric, adding this to the result with the actual Fresnel reflection that we are used to see on cloth. For beginners this is one of the hardest parts to get right, the high value reflection on 90 degrees and the almost non-existing reflection on 0 degrees.

As you can see, there are many studies about how to make garments and fabrics, and why are we talking about models if the post is about materials well, the difference with the new technique vs the old technique is about this model or a series of models. When using a texture for bump map or a texture from real life scans, we lose many details from the actual fibers, as you could see on the video. The solution for that is to use actual models to make the tiles and render these models as part of the final map.

Image from The creation and application of tillable artefacts to quickly create photorealistic cloth shaders for animation or VFX. by Michael Cauchi
As I wish to make tillable maps it is important that the weaves   I model can be tiled evenly in both the U and V co-ordinates. Many weaves were able to be built on a lOxlO grid (with an 11th row and column added for tile-ability)… The nurbs curves could then be converted to geometry so that the strands have consistent volume throughout which will help prevent having any seams once the image is tiled.
Michael Cauchi  Paper Autor

With this process in mind, I decided to try the system using Maya and Redshift and the results are amazing, when working on the first batch of renders I found that the actual network is the same for all render engines. There is only one connection into the material itself, making it really malleable and easy to use.

This is first result for this material in conjunction with an actual texture scan for the color itself, blending the best of both worlds. This is the first pass without procedural noise simulation for realism.

After that is time to start working on the noise patterns and more complex shading network to add that bit of realism that makes everything look more natural.

For the cloth tutorial you will find four videos explaining the process on how to create the realistic fabric material in a simple and easy to use way. Also you will be able to blend and change the type of cloth easily and with no effort, it works for any render system supported by Maya. Also you will find a pack with textures and the final scene with the cloth shaderball materials and light rig already applied.