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Apex Clothing Tutorial

polycounter lvl 10
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Scizz polycounter lvl 10
Does anyone know of any up to date Apex Clothing tutorials. I'm trying to make a simple cloth curtain flow in UE4 so I thought I'd try something physics based. However when I watched some tutorials, it seems they have either a different or outdated version of the plug in for 3ds max. I'm using the most recent one.


  • Scizz
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    Scizz polycounter lvl 10
    Nevermind I managed to figure it out. Opened up the cloth content example and open the skeletal mesh of a piece of cloth and saw where they put the bones, messed around in 3ds amx figured out what I needed to do to skin it and after messing around with the Apex plug-in i figured out where the options were to weight paint on the mesh. I think it turned out okay.

  • stucki
    Hi Scizz,
    i am new here and have send you already a personal message. Just to be sure i wanted to add my hope that you can explain me the individual steps for making this animated curtain and importing it to ue4.
    i am working on some architectural visualisations and i am in a desperate search for a way how to achieve this for now 3 days.
    Please could you explain me your workflow detailed.
    i would be a very happy man ;-)
  • Scizz
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    Scizz polycounter lvl 10
    Yeah no problem :D

    Make sure you get the Apex Clothing plug-in for 3ds Max or Maya from https://developer.nvidia.com/apex-clothing

    1. Started out with just a flat vertical plane in 3ds max with the width of the curtain being a little bigger than what I intend in the end. (That'll make more sense later)
    Green line shows how wide I want my end curtain to be for example.

    2. I turbosmoothed my plane 5 times but its up to you how many iterations you want to do, you need enough for the curtains to look natural though. UVW Unwrap the plane. Next I added a cylinder on top of the plane that represents the bar the curtain hangs from. It doesn't really matter the radius and it doesn't have to be perfectly center, just throw it up there. I'd make the width of the cylinder the size of the plane.

    3. Click auto key on the bottom right and set a keyframe at 0. I went to about 45 then scaled my cylinder down to approximately the same length as the green line above A.K.A The final width of my cloth.

    4. I followed this tutorial just for using the cloth modifier. However I only concerned myself with the top cylinder, I didn't make a second one.
    http://youtu.be/hsfIgdgqXAI?t=14m30s 14:30.
    The idea is to create a semi already folded cloth before applying the Apex Cloth modifier. I figured since I already have the polys for the physx I might as well add wrinkles. You don't want it to wrinkle too much. I ran into issues with the cloth being too folded and intersecting with itself when I had too many folds. Once you have the look you want, right click the curtain and convert to editable poly. (I also added the unwrap modifier again because I felt more organized that way, but I'm pretty sure the unwrap information from before stays the same so it's up to you if you want to do that)

    5. In the create tab go to systems and make a bone. I placed it here because this is the area they placed the bones for the cloth content examples in UE4.
    Next apply the skin modifier, click add next to bones and add the bone you placed on the curtain. Now its time to apply the Apex Clothing modifier.

    6. After adding the modifier the paint tab is what you want to look at first.
    d83f5f8af6.png If you expand the Apex Clothing modifier there are 2 viewing options, simulations weights and vertex. I personally used vertex I felt I could be more accurate. Click the green paint brush and start weight painting. The higher the brush value, the more the curtain will move/flow with 0 being static. From bottom to top I used 40-0. But It's up to you how much or how little you want it to move. This is basically how I did mine.

    7. You can test the cloth simulation by click either the green play button, or the grey play button, there is also an option to adjust the wind in the simulation tab of the modifier. Don't forge tto mess with teh physical material tab of the modifier to get the cloth to flow how you want. (I opened up the Cloth UE4 content example and copied the setting they used for silk, I'm pretty happy with it)

    8. After you're satisfied now just export your cloth as an fbx file, and export again but this time as PhysX and Apex file (.apx or .apb) When exporting as an apex file I just used the default settings. After you export watch this tutorial http://youtu.be/oRaStTw0-l0?t=3m52s 3:52 and you should be good to go. :D

    I ran into a few issues, one of them being when tried to make my curtain collide with object around it, it got all wonky and I was getting frustrated so it just doesn't collide with anything, but I placed it well enough so you don't see it going through the wall. Also, my basic material for the curtain: 40e291f0e2.png Blend Mode: Translucent | Shading Model: Subsurface | Translucency Lighting: TLM Volumetric Directional.

    My first time doing a write up like this so if I didn't explain something properly please let me know. :D
  • stucki
    Wow !
    thanks very much for this pretty detailed workflow description.
    I will go to sleep now but right next thing tomorrow will be the new curtain test for a recent project.
    Cant wait to play with it.
    i will let you know how it goes.

    you are very noble, sir !
  • stucki
    after some minor problems ... Ue4.4 seems to be slightly different i really managed to get my animated curtains to move !!!!

    its really very impressive to me.
    only thing i cant get to work till now is your material. my curtains dont get transparent at all and they dont cast shadows anymore with your settings.

    but once again thank you very much.
    now i am able to make animated curtains in ue4 ;-)
  • RareFever
    Hey. What a great guide! Thanks for that. =)
    I just cant understand one thing.
    After I create APEX clothe in 3ds max 2014, I export fbx file and import to my UE4 project.
    And somehow, a material is missing. O_o
    The following image show on the left the existence of an option to add material, on the right nothing, LODO No Materials.

    I found a fix. I just re-open the mesh on Maya and export as fbx file again. And it works.
    But why ? Could you (both, or any who is reading this) share your settings of fbx export from 3ds max ?

    I really appreciate any help!
  • RareFever
  • RareFever
    nvm. I already solved. just added a material (any) to the mesh in 3ds max.
  • Elithenia
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    Elithenia polycounter
    Does anyone know if there will be a Maya version of PhysX, APEX?
    Or has anyone have had any luck getting it to work in Maya as I need to use it for my project and I am new to 3DsMax?
  • littleclaude
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    littleclaude ngon master
    Hi Elithenia, i have posted the quesiton on the Unreal forums and there are some good tutorials on there. From looking around it looks like a case of having to go into 3DSMax and eporting from there.

    I have posted on the Nvidia Apex forum to see if anyone might have an ETA on a fix for Maya 2015.
  • JohnnyRaptor
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    JohnnyRaptor polycounter lvl 13
    nvidia physx has been on maya for years. Before you can access it you need to register as developer with nvidia. After that you get access to the files and you just need to download the correct toolset from their website,


    a few lines down is the maya dcc toolset

    and you can register here

    if i remember right, it takes a few days for them to activate your account.
  • AlexJWhite
    If I may be so bold as to jump in:

    In my personal experience the APEX plug in for Maya is completely unusable and I say that a Maya user. I - within the past couple of days - had to do cloth simulation for a project I'm working on and it actually will save you a lot of hassle to, if you're a Maya user, do the bulk of you work in Maya, then when it comes to simulation time export your geometry and the rig as an FBX, import it into 3DS Max and then convert it to cloth from there.

    If you'd like I can maybe make a tutorial video for you of the way I went about it. It may not be the most streamline way for going about the problem, but it certainly works.

    PS: If you've never used Max before, it's not a problem, I managed to get round learning navigation through to a complete cloth simulation in a couple of days.
  • CharacterCarl
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    CharacterCarl greentooth
    Thanks for all the detailed info Scizz!
    AlexJWhite wrote: »
    In my personal experience the APEX plug in for Maya is completely unusable and I say that a Maya user.

    Aside from occasional crashes and incorrectly mirrored capsule colliders I haven't had any problems with APEX inside Maya 2015 so far.
    Just to be sure: Are you using the latest version? Because last time I checked the Nvidia developer download page the (newest) 2015 version was, in fact, not displayed topmost but hidden a few rows under that which was slightly confusing.
    Anyway, it's mostly working on my end.

  • AlexJWhite
    Aside from occasional crashes and incorrectly mirrored capsule colliders I haven't had any problems with APEX inside Maya 2015 so far.
    Just to be sure: Are you using the latest version? Because last time I checked the Nvidia developer download page the (newest) 2015 version was, in fact, not displayed topmost but hidden a few rows under that which was slightly confusing.
    Anyway, it's mostly working on my end.

    I definitely have the latest version - the errors I was suffering was the moment I tried to select create clothing Maya would crash instantaneously and another person on my course suffered the exact same issue. I'm honestly not sure why it happened, but shifting the work to Max for simulation worked fine.
  • littleclaude
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    littleclaude ngon master
    I look forward to your tutorial Alex
  • RareFever
    Hi. in PhysX Plugin, in 3ds max. How can I define , or turn mesh in to an obstacle for the clothe, in order to clothe don't go through everything like a ghost.?
  • cvansas
    Hi Scizz,
    Thanks a lot for the clear tutorial! When I try to achieve the same result here my skeleton fails to import correctly and points to the origin (0,0,0). Have you experienced the same? Or do you know what could be the cause?:

  • MythN7
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    MythN7 null

    Hello, can anyone tell me if I am missing something, there is an option for APEX sdk but when i run it, it does not install, and does not know where to put files.
    I have installed the PhysX Clothing and as you can see its installed, but There is no APEX entry in the menu, or in the modifer list, this is the only method being used in the offical examples from what i can tell, so is my install wrong? or did they change the UI?
  • Vorte
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    Vorte polycounter lvl 6
    Having the same issue as MythN7.

    Super frustrating. . . I think I've read every web page in the whole internet that talks about it but. . . surprise. . couldn't make it work..

    Please if someone knows. . Help!

    thank you before hand
  • Mark Dygert
    Yea the Apex Maya plug-in is super broken. We had it working in Maya 2015 with an older version of the plug-in but installing Maya 2015 and the plug-in doesn't work. Something changed in one of them that fresh installs don't work. 

    I can't wait until Unreal 4.16 goes live, they integrated the apex tools into Unreal and reworked the simulation equations.

  • AndysvisioN
    Can please someone how you managed to install PhysX Clothing in first place??? I have 3Ds Max 2015, i downloaded the installer and it only extracts some folders on my desktop .. Please HEEEEEEELP
  • Scizz
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    Scizz polycounter lvl 10
    I believe this is kind of out dated now. Unfortunately. :''( Like Mark said, in 4.16 they have integrated apex tools.
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