Ask animators about the difficulties of simulating cloth in 3D and their tales of woe will fill up a whole book. For a while, 3D cloth simulators raised some hope in providing a fast solution to the problem, but most of them failed to deliver the real goods. Creating simple tasks such as simulation of a cloth falling on a rigid object was simple, but if you were to animate a character’s clothes, you’d hit a real dead-end. I’m happy to report that Digimation’s Stitch Lite, a plug-in and a cloth simulator for 3ds max is one of the few solutions that really delivers.
I installed Stitch Lite on a P3 Compaq Evo N800w mobile workstation and found out that Stitch Lite can use any mesh or patch max object and transform it into a cloth object. You can set the thickness, repulsion, density, shear, air resistance and friction of your cloth object and the Stitch Lite’s object properties! This means that you can simulate any kind of existing cloth material. I tried a few cloth simulations and Stitch Lite calculated, performed and displayed them brilliantly on my mobile workstation. Stitch Lite not only detects the collisions of cloth with rigid objects, but also simulates cloth-to-cloth collisions.
Good News: The Simulate Local feature of Stitch Lite creates the rest position of objects and prevents you from going through the annoying process of figuring out the rest position over time. For example, if you have a curtain hanging from a rod, most of the other simulators calculate the rest position of your curtain by animating it over a certain number of frames, but Stitch Lite’s Simulate Local simulates the rest position at frame zero. The plug-in offers wider dialogue boxes and its Garment Maker feature works with a 0.01 minimum density.
Wish List: It would be great if Digimation would offer Stitch Lite in a less expensive download format. Professionals that intend to use this program for sophisticated simulations need a boxed Stitch Lite that includes a comprehensive user manual and a tutorial book and CD.
The Bottom Line: Stitch Lite is an easy to use and powerful cloth simulator.
Web address: www.digimation.com
Final Score: *****
Animation Magazine’s Seal of Excellence
Ease of Use *****
Power of Tools *****
Quality and Depth *****