Clothesline Tool (Houdini)
To simplify the process of populating scenes that require a large number of clotheslines, I used Houdini to create a tool for Unreal Engine that allows artists to quickly generate different clothesline configurations based on a two-point input spline. Artists are given additional control over wire slack, radius, and divisions, the creation of the pulleys, and the clothing items distributed on the line.
For ease of iteration, the tool is split into different node networks for input processing, wire generation, clothing simulation, pulley generation, and output processing.
During the input processing phase, the input spline is converted into points which are then sorted by world position. These points can be used to determine pulley placement.
Based on the pulley placement points, a closed spline is created. Additional points are added to the spline and transformed to simulate the desired slack of the line. The spline is then resampled, and a PolyWire is created.
The resampled spline is also used for distributing clothing along the line. Input clothing meshes are copied to scattered points on the lower part of the spline, and added to a Vellum simulation with procedural constraints. This allows the clothing to dynamically adapt to the positioning of the clothesline.
A simple pulley mesh is generated based on user specifications, and distributed to the previously calculated pulley points.
Finally, the different node networks are are merged to create the final mesh.