Stretching & tearing cloth in Blender


At work this week, I came across a problem I wasn’t sure how to solve. I would never call myself a Blender expert, especially in the area of simulations, and even more especially when dealing with cloth or soft bodies, so it didn’t surprise me that I couldn’t figure this out. Thankfully, the magical hive-mind of Twitter came to the rescue. More specifically, a Blender user from Bulgaria named Syziph.

Imagine having a thin sheet of rubber, or maybe stretchy cloth, that you begin pulling from each end until it rips in half. That’s what I wanted to do.

Here’s my original Twitter post with Syziph’s great solution.

Some people mentioned the Fracture Modifier branch and the ClothFX add-on both of which I’ve used before and love, but I just don’t have enough working knowledge of either of them to create this exact effect quickly. Others mentioned the Molecular add-on, which is awesome, but I’ve never used it at all.

Syziph came up with a great idea using no add-ons at all, but instead using one of the new modifiers in Blender 2.79, the Surface Deform Modifier. I wanted to share the solution, in detail, with everyone. This is great stuff, and really shows the generosity of the Blender community!

In another generous gesture, the day after Syziph showed me his solution, Martin Felke, aka Scorpion81, the developer of the Fracture Modifier Branch, shared the demo file of the same effect being done with the Fracture Modifier. Pretty awesome! Grab that demo project HERE.

And who knows, maybe this technique is adaptable to other 3D programs, as well? Anyone want to give it a try and report back?

If you want to try the other options I mentioned above, you can download the Fracture Modifier branch of Blender HERE, the Molecular add-on HERE, and the website for the ClothFX add-on is HERE, but it doesn’t look like it’s for sale anymore. Wonder why? It’s a great tool! UPDATE – ClothFX is available on gumroad RIGHT HERE!

See how to set this effect up in the video below, download the tutorial video HERE, and download Syziph’s original .blend file HERE.


  1. Hey Sean!
    Can you please help me throwing a towl on a bed? I’ve tried several methods but none of them were succesful 🙁
    I can’t animate the “pinn”-value in the cloth simulation. I can’t get rid of the hooks. I can’t animate the towel itself…
    Can you lead me to the solution or do you even have one?
    Any help is really appreciated.

    Please be kind; English is not my mother language.

    1. In the tutorial above, you can see how we animate the Vertex Weight Mix modifier. I think that may be what you’re looking for. Create a couple vertex groups, one with the pin group you want to use, and one that has NO vertices selected. I know it seems weird to create a vertex group that contains nothing, but when you use the Vertex Weight Mix modifier to animate from the pin group to the empty group, you’re basically just animating off the pinning.

      Make sense? 🙂

  2. Thank you for sharing this Sean! I saw you speak at the Blender con great job and very cool insight on how blender is used in the industry; I recently switched over to blender from maya, just love how powerful Blender is!

  3. Not a lot of Cloth FX tutorials out there. Especially for Version 4. I am into transformations and want the body to rip the cloth but i never get the result. I currently have a foot that gets longer and the sock is supposed to get teared from it at a certain point. But the tears don’t stick together and open up as soon as the simulation starts. How can i get the cloth to stick together?

    1. Not sure, actually, I haven’t experimented with that kind of thing. You could try checking in with the developer, he may have some ideas.

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