Fly a flag

Even if you've never used cloth, this is easy

The Blend.

Become a better low poly artist in 5 minutes each week.

By Samuel Sullins

The Blend

Today will be different.

Just a short, quick lesson. Because it’s crazy late here.

How to simulate a flag, blowing in the wind…

If you’ve never used simulation or cloth in Blender, this is an amazing place to start. Because it’s ridiculously easy.

Step 1: Model a Flag

First thing to do is model the flag.

It’s easy. Simply go to import > Images As Planes (if you don’t see it, you have to go in Settings and enable that add-on.)

Then choose your image.

It’ll show up as a plane in the viewport. Rotate it so it’s standing up, flag-like, then in the Shading dropdown at the top on the viewport, click the Textured button so you can see your image.

Now TAB into edit mode and subdivide the whole plane a few times, so it’s made up of a lot of small faces. The more you subdivide, the longer it will take to simulate, so don’t go too far.

Next we turn it into real cloth.

Step 2: Simulate the cloth

Select the flag. Open the Physics tab in the Properties Panel. Press Cloth.

Hit Play, and your flag will slowly fall off the screen. Not good. We need to pin one edge of the cloth so it stays “attached” to its imaginary flagpole.

TAB into edit mode, select one edge of the flag (the edge you want “attached” to something) then in the Mesh Data tab of the Properties Panel, create a new vertex group.

Press Assign to assign the selected vertices to that group. In the Physics tab again, scroll down to the Shape section and find where it says Pin Group. Select your new vertex group. (Probably just called “Group”.)

Now hit play, and the flag moves like cloth!

Let’s adjust the settings a little.

Scroll to the bottom of the cloth settings and open the Collision section. Enable Self collision.

Back near the top, decrease the Vertex Mass to 0.2 for a lighter cloth.

Now hit play—even more realistic.

(Mess with all those other settings if you want. They’re fun but I don’t know what most of them mean.)

Step 3: Wind

Press Shift + A and choose Force Field > Wind.

Rotate and move it until it’s pointed at your flag. The arrow on it is the direction the wind will blow.

In the Physics tab, there’ll be settings for the Wind. Turn the Strength to 8000 or more, and turn the Noise to 10.

(depending on your flag size, you may need to adjust these.)

Now hit play and watch your flag actually blow around.

That’s it. Model a flagpole, play with the settings. If you want more realism, add a Subdivision Surface modifier to smooth it out. Add a Solidify modifier to give it a tiny bit of thickness.

Can't think what to blend?

Try something yellow. A construction truck or some lemon jam (is that even a real thing?)

P.S. if you like fiction read some Voyage. They make free original fiction.

Enjoy this email? Nice. You’ll probably keep it all to yourself and never tell anybody. Fine. Be that way.

…or you could be nice to your friends, and tell them about it…

Somebody forward this to you? Just think—what if they die next week, and can’t forward you the next one.

Sign up and you’ll get it anyway—no matter who dies.

Join the conversation

or to participate.