I tried clearing the cache, but it wouldn’t delete. Would have preferred to keep just the cloth settings, not the bake - as I already applied the cloth modifier. Then I removed cloth physics entirely, still large file size (like 700+MB). Then I even did “Apply Transformation” and still no difference. I’m not so experienced with physics sims. What’s going on?
After freeing the bake, have you tried saving your blend file then reopening it and saving again.
Yes, I clicked the button to free the bake. Whether it actually did what it was was supposed to I don’t know. But judging from the large file I would guess no. The first thing I did after baking was apply the cloth Modifier, because I wanted to keep a specific bake frame. I applied it as a vertex group so I could still select the mesh in its original shape. Maybe that caused the bake data to become unlinked but it remained inside the .blend somewhere? Just a guess.
The strangest thing is that it would not delete the cache. I’m pretty sure that’s not normal. I’ll try to replicate the problem in a new file.
If I bake a simple cloth sim and save by blend file its 7MB. If I open it and free the cache and then save the blend it’s still 7MB. If I then open that blend file and save again the file size reduces to 124KB. I assume it’s the same effect as when deleting materials, they don’t get removed when you save your file, only when you reopen your blend file ?
I think you’re right about how it doesn’t remove unlinked data until you reopen the file. And deleting the cache seems to be the key. That would explain why not being able to delete the cache means getting stuck with a large file size. Although one would think that disabling cloth physics entirely would include deletion of the cache, but that appears not to have happened. I haven’t been able to replicate the glitch in a new file so far, but still experimenting.
Update: I tried deleting the particle system attached to my cloth and the file size shrank back down to normal.
Here I was thinking the cloth sim was the culprit because it uses mesh baking, when instead it appears to have been the fuzz of the cloth.
It’s a surprise since I thought particle systems are just a collection of parameters that get interpreted when rendered, but there must be some structure to them that gets stored and at no small cost.