I've been seeing that some of our users were wondering if it's possible to use CLO and Mixamo together? The answer is yes!
If you don't know what Mixamo is--it's a rigging program developed by Adobe to quickly animate 3D character models. Don't worry if that sounds like nonsense words, because it's actually a fairly fun process and I'll explain everything below. 👇👇👇👇👇
So first, why would you want to use Mixamo?
Since CLO doesn't specialize in Avatar creation, you have to figure out a way to make your own custom Avatars. Some users use body scans, some make Avatars with DAZ3D*, and others buy body forms from companies like Alvanon. The problem is that these forms usually come with only one or two poses, and they're not very dynamic. You can't re-pose Avatars unless they have a skeleton built into them though. This can cost extra $$$ or be an intimidating process to learn (it's a hard task and requires skill!). The skeleton is generally called a rig, which is a term I use a lot.
(A rigged Avatar in CLO)
If you're only looking for a basic skeleton (arms and legs --> runnings poses, hands on hips, etc), you can use Mixamo to quickly rig your Avatar. If you're looking for more dynamic posing with body deformation and custom animation, I'd recommend looking for a 3D modeler/artist to set-up your Avatars for you (or learning to do it yourself in a program like Maya).
*An exception is DAZ--their Avatars are already rigged if you export as FBX and can be posed in CLO without any extra work. However, DAZ Avatars aren't standardized for fitting garments and may not have measurements that match specs.
If you got all that, I'll try and outline the process below in the most simple steps:
1. To get started, you should have your Avatar model saved as an OBJ.
- OBJ is a common file format for 3D models and should be available as an export option in most modeling software.
- The Avatar should be in T-pose (sometimes A-pose works if you are desparate)
- The Avatar should have its center axis aligned at the 0,0,0 location
- Export the OBJ with embedded UVs or as a ZIP folder with texture images if necessary
- Make sure you know what scale the Avatar was created in (inches, cm, etc)
- If your Avatar isn't set up this way and there's no way you can fix in a 3D modeling software, I'll explain how to troubleshoot in the comments section (1)
2. Once you have the Avatar set up, use Mixamo to quickly rig it.
- You'll have to sign up for an Adobe account to use Mixamo
- Upload the OBJ or ZIP folder to Mixamo and complete the outlined steps on the website
- Download the rigged Avatar as an FBX in the original pose or in T-pose if you didn't start with T-pose
- FBX is another common file format for 3D models, but it stores rigging information and animations so you'll want to use it from now on if you plan to pose or animate your Avatar.
3. Set up your Avatar in CLO and create custom poses.
- To start, you'll have to transfer Arrangement Points onto your new Avatar. Check out this forum post/video to learn more.
The reason you want your Avatar in T-pose is for the building process. It's much easier to place your pattern pieces around your Avatar and create your garment when it's standing in T-pose. But the best thing is that now that it's rigged, you can change the pose after you finish making your garment!
- To import your rigged Avatar into CLO, use File > Import > FBX. Make sure to use the correct scale. Use CM if your Avatar was saved from CLO. I'm not sure if the auto-scale will correctly identify the scale from Mixamo.
- Use File > Save As > Avatar to save this Avatar with Arrangement Points.
- To start posing the Avatar, hit Shift + X on your keyboard. The Avatar should go ghost grey and its skeleton will become visible.
- Click on the joints and use the Gizmos to carefully pose your Avatar. Once you get a pose you like, use File > Save As > Pose to save it and reuse it whenever you want.
4. Use the rigged Avatar to build your garments.
- Reopen the Avatar in T-pose and start building your garments.
- Once you get to a finishing point with the garment, save it in the T-pose. This will be your starting point for any future editing. Always go back to T-pose if you want to make changes to the garment, so it's good to have a version saved before you start messing with the Avatar too much.
- Turn Simulation on again and start opening the different pose files you saved to see your Avatar change pose.
5. Now for fun stuff--Use Mixamo animations in CLO ✨
- Mixamo has a huge library of animations that you can apply to any Avatar you've uploaded.
- Go back to the Mixamo site and pick an animation to try out in CLO. The Avatar you just rigged should be in the preview window for you to test out the different motions.
- Download the animation as an FBX.
- Open the animation file in CLO (File > Import > FBX). Auto-scale currently isn't reliable, so use the scale of your original OBJ. Save this file as a pose. You need a way to transition your garment from T-pose to the animation starting pose, so this is your transition.
- Open the completed garment file again. Change the Avatar's pose to the starting animation pose (with Simulation on).
- With Simulation off, open the FBX animation file from Mixamo again. This FBX will replace the Avatar in your project file. If you set it up correctly, it will appear in the same place and your garments won't start falling off or colliding.
6. Garment/Avatar settings for animation. These are suggested settings and it may take some trial and error to find the best settings for each garment:
- All layers set to 0
- Delete any construction details or layers that will not be seen in the animation
- Stretch and Bending values of all fabrics are less than 60
- Particle Distance: 8 ~ 10 (higher PD = less bounce)
- Add’l Collision –Thickness: 2 ~ 2.5
- Increase Avatar Static Friction Coefficient ~ 3 (higher friction = less bounce)
- Increase Avatar Kinetic Friction Coefficient = 1 (to keep loose pants from falling and hoods to stay on heads)
7. Recording the garment motion in Animation mode.
- Switch workspace to Animation Mode(upper right corner in Simulation Mode drop-down)
- Turn on Simulation
- In the Animation Editor, select the Record button to record animation of garments
- Once finished, select Go to Start (rewind button) and hit Play to see complete animation
- Change Frame Stepping to Real Time for smoother movements
- Adjust settings and re-record if necessary
- Save animation for use in other software by exporting as FBX (File > Export > FBX) or choose Animation file format in Export menu (Maya Cache, Point Cache, MDD Cache, OBJ Sequence)
- Save animation as video using File > Video Capture > Animation
Okay.....try it out and let me know how this goes! Yeah, you're not a certified motion graphics designer (yet), but with Mixamo, you can create some neat things that help with styling and presentations, while strengthening your overall knowledge of CLO.
Share your creations below if you've tried animating or posing a custom Avatar in CLO! 👇👇👇
(BTW we're in no way affiliated with Adobe--I just think Mixamo is easy to use.)