Your online Softimage Educational Resource

The blog has been online for more than 4 years and there’s still not a single post even remotely related to the delicious brew called coffee… Perhaps it will someday, but in the meantime you can read the articles about Softimage. Most of the material are tutorials and Q&As I’ve written for 3D World Magazine sometime between today and 2003. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate sending me an email.

Thanks to Letterbox Animation Studios for hosting all the scene files.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Animating a cable using Softimage cloth

The project files used in this tutorial can be found at:

Softimage Cloth
Start by open the scene cabel.scn from this issues CD. Select the Cable_Cloth object and press [T] to set the selection filter to points and select the two vertices at the right end of the object. From the Edit menu choose Create Cluster with Center. Press [4] to switch to the Simulate Toolbar. Select the Cable_Cloth object and from the Create > Cloth menu choose From Selection. Different types of cables obviously has different characteristics. Use the values in the above screenshot as a starting point and experiment on your own.

Local Cloth Cluster
Now, select the two vertices again and from the Create > Cloth menu choose Local Cloth Cluster. Make sure you check the Nail checkbox in the Cloth PPG. Select the object again and from the Get > Force menu choose Gravity. Select the Cable_Cloth again and from the Modify > Environment menu choose Set Obstacle. When prompted, pick the Floor object. Right click to end the picking session. In the Floor_obstacle PPG increase the friction to 0.8 or so to stop the cable from sliding all over the place. Set the Push length to 0.1 to compensate for the cable’s thickness.

Extract from edge
Select all the edge along one side of the cloth object. Press [1] to switch back to the Model toolbar and from the Create > Curve menu choose Extract from Edges. This creates a separate curve object from the selected edges and because it’s a live operator the cloth simulation will automatically be propagated as well. Name the curve Cable_Path. From the Primitive > Curve get a Circle and set the Radius to 0.05. From the Create > Poly.Mesh menu choose Extrusion Along Curve and pick the Cable_Path curve when prompted. Animate the Null object and your cable will follow perfectly.


N said...

Glad to see the blog is still alive :-)
Great tutorial BTW

Ola Madsen said...

Still alive and kicking... :)


Anonymous said...

how do i get an authorization to download the file?

Ola Madsen said...

Hi Sasquatch70

Send me an email and I’ll forward the file...


ultrasandwich said...


I have been following all the steps but the cable wont follow the null, and if I use the final file and I modify the animation I get the same result... do I have to re-run the simulation every time I make a change from any menu?

I am trying to simulate a telephone cable for an animation... Do you know if it would be possible with this method to have one extreme of the cable nailed to the handset and the other one to the telephone booth?

I am no expert in xsi, sorry :)
Any help would be very appreciated

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