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Under Construction
GDC 2024: The new 5.4 clothing pipeline with MetaHumans and Marvelous Designer



Epic today revealed (at their MetaHumans and Marvelous Designer session) 4 massive breakthroughs that will arrive on April 20 2024 with the full release of 5.4 (they are NOT in the preview 1):

  1. You will be able to transfer garments directly from Marvelous Designer to Unreal via USD format, and they will SIMULATE IN REALTIME. (You just need to add a few settings but basically it’s automatic.) They will also KEEP the fabric simulation setup you chose in Marvelous. !?!?!?!?!
  2. There is a new ‘kinematic collider‘ in Unreal 5.4 that solves the huge issues we currently have with clothing penetratic skin etc
  3. You will now be able to COPY SKIN WEIGHTS INSIDE UNREAL! using the ‘transfer skin weights’ node in the Cloth Panel Editor
  4. The new simulation improvements include accurate self-collision simulation


I found the presentation about Marvelous Designer simulation features in UE5.4 amazing but a little difficult to follow just because it was so dense and full of wonderful detail. 🙂 So I wrote out what Epic’s Jared Monsen said then I tried to separate it into parts and steps (below) – to make it easier to follow. I’m sure, closer to UE5.4’s release on April 24, we will get proper documentation! But for now, this might help some folks like me who are keen to understand but found it all too a little overwhelming.

You can find the start of this part of the video stream here. Follow along by reading my ‘split into parts and steps‘ transcript below….


(This presentation is (C)2024 EPIC GAMES and the text is presented here only for educational purposes and to help the community, including hard of hearing and EAASL folks!)



It really is awesome to be able to take clothing assets from high end packages like Clo and Marvelous Designer, where clothing panels and parameters translate directly into the Engine.

With such an easy integrated workflow, it’s clear to see it’s a “win win” for everybody here.

And this new process, which will be in Beta in 5.4, allows you to easily see the real-time representation of your “sim” set up quickly.

Once in the Engine, you have the option to use those results in Unreal or send them on to be used in UEFN.



    • At Epic, we use Marvelous Designer to create the costume for Rue, our captain on “Talisman”.
    • Here you can see we used one of our stock MetaHuman bodies from “MetaHuman Creator” to construct the costume.
    • You can begin your creation process by constructing your clothing in Marvelous Designer like we did.
    • When working in Marvelous Designer, your fabric selections and simulation settings matter. If you choose to transfer those simulation properties during the USD process, we take into account those attributes and they will affect the simulation behavior in Unreal.
    • Once you’re finished in Marvelous Designer, USD export is an easy way to get your clothing assets out of Marvelous Designer and straight into the Unreal Engine.
    • Once you’ve imported your clothing assets into Unreal, we can now start setting up the “cloth panel graph”.
    • You can choose a workflow that ranges anywhere from fully automated to a completely hand-tweaked This flexibility allows you to get something up simulating faster, as well as having the option to customize the areas that you feel are necessary.
    • At any point in time the “cloth asset” can then be used in Unreal, or it can be migrated to be used in your UEFN
    • In order to get your cloth onto your character, you simply add a “Chaos ClothComponent to your character’s Blueprint and choose the corresponding “Cloth Asset” you want to use.




AUTOGENERATED GRAPH: A new feature we’ve added is an auto generated graph that’s built when you first create a “cloth asset node”. This graph helps you get going fast and saves you time getting started. This includes the USD import node, some core nodes for setting up the simulation, value transfers from Marvelous Designer (if selected), a physics asset node, and parameters set to good initial values.


USD IMPORT HAS TWO MESHES: The USD import brings in both a simulation mesh and a render mesh for you to immediately use. And just to be clear by what I mean by that:

  • the simulation mesh or “sim mesh” is a lower resolution mesh that’s actually simulated but not rendered.
  • The render mesh is a high resolution mesh that you actually see. The render mesh is driven by the “sim mesh”, and provides a higher detailed model -without having to pay the computation price of a higher resolution symmetry.


AUTO-SKINNING AND AUTO-LOADING: We’ve also added some really great nodes for you to use in your graph, like auto skinning and auto loading to speed up the creation process. And this feature streamlines the cloth setup, allowing you to arrive at a working simulation much faster and more easily.


FLEXIBLE PIPELINE: One of the best features of the clothing pipeline though is not only do we provide automated path for many aspects of the pipe, but we also allow you to customize basically every part of that pipeline to suit your needs.

For Talisman, we decided we wanted to have the best of both worlds. In this project, we felt there were assets that we wanted our ours to customize to fit our needs.

For example, we created our own customized higher resolution render mesh for the captain’s costume. The clothing graph allows us to swap out the render mesh for our own version in a really easy way.   We also decided to use some of our artist-tuned skin weighting for LOD 0. And we used a remesh node to auto generate lower resolution “sim meshes” for the lower LOD’s.  In addition, we dialed in the simulation solver settings as well as other nodes to meet the needs of our project.


KINEMATIC COLLIDER: And another customization, customization we use is a really cool new feature which uses a “Kinematic Collider”.

This is a deformable collider mesh that moves with the skinned asset.  This allows more accurate collisions at a relatively inexpensive price.

The Kinematic Collider is really easy to set up in the graph and solves a lot of problems that come from just using Capsules.

The ability for us to customize the graph in areas that we wanted to, but also take advantage of the automated processes where we could, saved us time while also giving us creative freedom and control over the end results.

With these features you can decide what pipeline best works for your needs – anything from again the fully automated to the totally customizable.



Let’s take a closer look at the clothing panel editor.

The clothing panel editor was released in UE5.3 and introduced a new way of authoring cloth.

The clothing panel editor is where all your clothing graph work is done.

There are 4 main sections to the editor:

  • In the top left is the PANEL VIEWER, where you can see 2D and 3D representations of your asset, make selections and paint weight maps. There have been a lot of tool improvements made here for easier painting and selection, and we’ll continue to refine tools and processes there.
  • In the middle of the editor is the SIMULATION VIEWER. Here you can view the actual simulation behavior, play animations, use different meshes to view your cloth on and see the visual debug tools.
  • On the far right is the panel for simulation details, preview scene settings, and the simulation visualization tools. The Preview Settings tab allows you to set skeletal meshes and animations to view your clothing with. And the details panel has all the usual settings that pertain to the clothing asset. The visualization panel has a lot of great features like seeing only the simulation meshes, displaying collisions, viewing weight maps, and simulations to statistics, just to name a few.
  • Last but not least is the data flow graph – and this is where you set up your graph and access the nodes to create different cloth features. It has a very familiar field similar to setting up and wiring nodes like blueprints.

Once you’re done setting up the graph in the panel editor, you’re now ready to use your cloth asset and UE or export to UEFN.

But before we do that, let’s take a look at some nodes that might be of particular interest to you.





The new Transfer Skin Weights node is a new tool that we’ve added to the Unreal toolbox for you to use.  This node allows you to take an imported static mesh or asset that came from the USD import and copy weights from a user defined skeleton mesh to the chosen mesh.

Since the cloth solver needs weights in order to work correctly, this is a great solution that skips the need for you to rig and await your clothing mesh in an external DCC.

In most cases, all you’ll need is a rigged body – most likely your character or simplified version of it – and then your static mesh as inputs.

The output of this node will give you a skinned version of the static mesh, now ready to use for your clothing asset.


Two more things to note about the ‘Transfer Skin Weights’ node:

  • INPAINT WEIGHT ALGORITHM: The algorithm we use in this node is different from what you might find in some DC packages. The node provides an option for you to use the “Closest Point On Surface” method if you wish, but the “Inpaint Weight” method is something that’s quite different. This algorithm allows us to significantly better handle loose clothing – as well as armpits and other tight areas on the mesh. And this method is a “robust, non data-driven mesh algorithm”; which essentially means it’s it will work on any given mesh.
  • You could also use the skin transfer node even if you don’t want to simulate your clothing. You can simply use this node in the graph without any simulation nodes and the end result will be the rigged version moving with your character. (And we use this technique for LOD 2 on our “Talisman” project.)



The “remesh” node allows for auto generation of lower resolution meshes, based on a target percentage.

You can choose to remesh both the “render mesh” and “simulation mesh” – or just one, or the other.

For creating LODs in “Talisman” and we took a hybrid approach:

  • We hand-created our “render mesh” LODs, but we used the “remesh nodes” to auto reduce the “simulation meshes”.
  • We decided to keep the same “render mesh” for both LOD 0 and LOD 1, as we felt the lower resolution wrapped better to the “simulation mesh”.
  • And here you can see the numbers that we targeted for both the simulation and render mesh. Depending on your project needs and complexity, these numbers will be different for you.



Now that you have the cloth asset all set up, getting your cloth asset into UEFN is really straightforward.

At any point in time in your process you can use the “migrate tool” to to migrate your cloth into UEFN.

When migrating your cloth, the only essential assets you need to migrate are:

  • the “clothing asset” itself,
  • and the physics asset, if you’ve chosen to use one.

Materials and textures are also available for you to migrate, but you may or may not need them depending on your project needs, and if this is the first time you’ve migrated the asset into your project.

The “clothing asset” bundles up almost everything you need into one asset, which makes the process really simple when exporting to UEFN.



Rue’s jacket is 100% simulated using self-collision and a “kinematic Collider”.

Real time simulation is not an easy task, and it’s always a ‘give and take’ relationship when it comes to performance and quality.

Our goal is to make real time simulation more widely usable and performance friendly.



You can expect one to one performance and behavior between Unreal and UEFN.  Which is really cool.

  • For Talisman, our goal was 30 frames a second on a high end machine, going for a high end quality simulation in a close up scenario.
  • Our lower LOD simulation frame rates come in anywhere from about 50 to 60 frames a second, after tuning the graph for those specific LODs. (Total simulated vertices, self collisions and solver iterations being the biggest factors for performance.)



Our clothing tool gives you a new option as a developer. Whatever your budget is, real time simulated clothing is now a much more realistic option for you to use in your project.

Our engineers and artists have been on the ground level using the system and we’re really excited to continue to push and develop it on all fronts.

  • You now have the ability to import your clothing creations from high end software packages like Clo and Marvelous Designer.
  • The USD import process is what allows you to to bring those clothing assets and to be translated into software packages into Unreal.
  • You can utilize both automated and custom setups in your “cloth asset graph”.
  • You can use a cloth asset in Unreal or easily migrate it into UEFN.
  • And when this comes out in UEFN as early access it will be released with documentation to help you get the best results from your assets and both Unreal and Marvelous Designer.

The Clo and Marvelous Designer functionality will also be releasing at the same time UE5.4 does. So at 5.4 launch everything is unlocked and ready for you to use.


We’d like to thank Clo for their work and their collaboration as we worked on implementing the USD format, and collaborating with the clothing and fashion industry and a leading company like Clo is really a wonderful opportunity.

We’re really excited to see what the community creates and leverages when creating their own experiences.


(This presentation is (C)2024 EPIC GAMES and the text is presented here only for educational purposes and to help the community, including hard of hearing and EAASL folks!)


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