Posted on Nov. 11, 2020, 4:20 p.m. by Discko • Last updated on Nov. 12, 2020, 5:29 p.m.
To start, enable simplify for fast viewport performance.
I have tried to make the baking process as easy as possible, and also have stable physics that can handle most scenarios you throw at it!
My goal here is to introduce more people to physics in Blender, if you are already acquainted with it, this guide can still show you the workflow for this model.
This example file with animation is included on the download page for the model.
Please note that the model used in the walk cycle is an old version! And will not be updated, so please just use it for reference!
This D.va model is based off of Mets Ultimate D.va rig.
However, this base model has been slowly upgraded and fiddled with over a year of me using it. As such, it has some upgraded materials, weight paints, SSS - new eyelashes, eyes, eyebrows, basic teeth (WIP) and one of my particle hair styles.
In addition, a few fancy driven shape keys to preserve elbows, knees, ankles, and wrists during deformation. D.va's arms no longer look like pool noodles when bent, amazing.
Driven shape keys by the ever lovely Crute.
The hairstyle and eyebrows have a couple different looks. You can change to them by selecting the hair mesh, and looking at the properties section. There are 6 looks.
There is also a second parameter to change the Eevee hair to a faster setting, which can help reduce noise a lot in some scenarios, needing less Eevee samples to render much quicker, for those that need that.
!!! Create your animation ensuring that frame 1 of the animation is D.va in her default pose, and she gradually transitions into her first animation pose at frame 50. !!!
This is to allow the physics to settle, and smoothly move along with D.va as she transitions into her animation pose.
Animate with D.va using Simplify, keeping it turned on and most likely also having the hair, and outfit disabled in viewports to improve playback performance.
There are two skirt meshes, one low poly and one hi-poly for physics.
The skirts can be manually deformed with a nice little rig also made by Crute.
You can either create nice manual animation, or if you would like to use physics - then you must first use the rig to ensure that the skirt is clear of any obstacles, and have room to settle into position. I recommend working with the low poly skirt, and just switching to the hi-poly version when ready for baking.
I like boobies. By default D.va's boobs are a bit bigger here to add some more bouncy jiggle to her movements, amplified by her loose top. To make it more simple for other users, I have simply just scaled these two ring bones by 25%, and created a shape key for the shirt.
To put her boobs back to normal size, reset the scale on the boobs - and disable the shape key on the shirt. The physics will still behave on the boobs no matter the size, so if you would like to do a custom size, you will have to make your own fitting shape key for the top. Make sure it fits around the boob collision meshes!
Inside the collection called "ColGroups" you will find three more collections.
One for boobs, one for the shirt and skirt - and a third for the hair dynamics.
By default, nothing collides with the boobs, the clothes collide with a cut-down version of the body mesh, and the hair collides with the body, and shirt - so that the pigtails may sit on top correctly.
To add more objects, hold CTRL and drag them into the necessary groups. Ensure that these objects have collision enabled, and collision distance is lowered somewhat.
Baking is calculating the motion of physics, and saving it so that it does not need to be constantly recalculated.
Now that your animation or image is ready, we bake the physics in this order:
and under "Cache", set your simulation start and end frame. Always have your simulation start before your animation, to allow for objects to settle into place before applying motion.
If for instance you have made an image at frame 1, you may also bake physics into the minus frames, so that your physics can still settle for the image.
Once you have chosen your frame range, just hit bake! Then do the same for the other boob mesh in the collection.
The baking time for each boob should be fast.
The baking time for the shirt should be slower.
Select a frame range and bake!
The baking time for the skirt will be the slowest.
Now we will settle the hair into place. First, ensure that simplify is enabled - with child particles at 0, or very very low.
Select the ParticleHair mesh, inside the "Hair" collection, and you can now switch to Particle Edit mode in the viewport.
Select Hair_Pigtails under the Particle Properties tab.
One of the pigtails will be selected. To switch to the other one if you want, press CTRL+I in the viewport. The hairs are clumped together in a simple shape for easy grooming - but will still look fluffy in render! Try to put the pigtails into position where they are not colliding with any collision mesh, and they have room to settle, like the skirt.
And that should be it. Now, enable Hair Dynamics by ticking the check box, and under Cache, just input a frame range and bake.
The pigtails should settle and move along with your animation nicely.
The baking time for the pigtails should be very fast.
There are other hair systems as well with physics enabled. Hair_Crown, Hair_Crown2, Hair_Fringe, and Hair_Key. Go through these systems and enable hair dynamics, enter a frame range and bake as well if you would like.
The example file of D.va walking already has all the physics enabled and set up. If you would like a quick look, and a quick test at baking your own results there first - it might make it easier for you to understand and apply them to your own animations or images.
This rig and the walk cycle animation can be downloaded here!
I hope the rig works well for you, if you have any queries on this or how the guide can be improved, please say hello on Discord.
And check me out on Twitter :)