Pulldownit for Maya 2020

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Maya 2020 was released early in December, this latest version has got a positive response by the community regarding its new features, performance and overall stability.

We wanted to make something special for this great Maya release and decided to include several enhancements we were working on, the result is new update of the Maya plugin, Pulldownit 4.8, with a boost in performance of all shatter related tools and the final numbers are pretty impressive:

  • Shatter it 2x faster
  • Shatter “Undo last” 4x faster
  • Shatter preview mode 3x faster with hi-poly meshes
  • Apply Jagginess 5x faster
  • Modify Jagginess 3x faster
  • Soften jaggy edges 10x faster
  • Improved quality of jaggy tessellation

So shatter or reshatter a model  is double faster, undoing last shards is almost instant, applying a detailed jaggy level 4 to the shattered model can be done in seconds, and adjusting the look of jaggy faces is a fully interactive task.

We have took our time to make sure these features are not only fast computing but stable and reliable as they were before the optimizations. Moreover tessellation of inner faces is now more regular getting rid of several artifacts on jaggy borders.

Licensed users can access already Pulldownit 4.8 from its account and there is a demo version for Maya 2020 in the Thinkinetic web site.

Below some nice viewport demos showing the new interactive capabilties of PDI Jagginess in Maya 2020 by Esteban Cuesta.

 

Besides we have fixed several other performance and usability issues you can check in the Pulldownit version logs page:

Read the full list of fixes in the Pulldownit web site version logs

 

 

Car Render Challenge 2019 Winners

Hum3D “Car Render” challenge 2019 has ended, as sponsor of the competition Thinkinetic is proud to gift a Pulldownit Pro license to the winners, congratulations to all of them.

Take a look to best works and interviews with winners in the official announcement:

Visit Challenge Home Page

carrender2019

 

 

Icebreaker Avalanche by Andres de Mingo

Andres de Mingo   the author of this nice shot,  kindly explains us how he did the destruction effects using Pulldownit plugin in 3d Max.

It has been a stimulating experience working in this project, using Pulldownit in 3ds Max was easy and fun,  PDI get along very well with Particle Flow to add more debris.

Shattering the ice floor

iceCrack_top

The ice is shattered in several stages, first I drew  a large spline crossing the ice in the middle and use Path-based shatter creating around 400 small shards,  then I applied a Uniform shatter on the whole ground to make all fragments rounded, 80 shards was enough for this. Finally I needed the area around the boat to have more fragments as they will break off in dynamics for this I put a thin box over the ground covering the area I wanted to reshatter and use it as a Shatterit Volume Shape with around 250 additional shards.

iceCrack_front

For the area behind the boat I simply deleted the shards in the middle manually,  for the rest I created a fracture body with Hardness 20 and Clusterize 0, I wanted the ice to break only in the boat area so I set it as Only break and Local Propagation also I set the hull of the boat as a kinematic body to can collide with the ice. When playing the scene the boat was colliding with the ice but several fragments interpenetrated the hull because they weren’t pushed away with enough strength. To fix the problem I created a Pdi Cracker object following the path just in front of the boat and running at its same pace, then I tweaked the Cracker impulse direction until getting the fragments pushed up and colliding with the hull afterwards nicely.

Making the cliffs avalanche

cliffsClusters

I wanted the cliffs behind the boat to start crumbling at some moment, for this I shattered three nearby peaks in around 125 shards each one using Local shatter, then I created a single fracture far all of them and set it as Static-Only Break and reduce it hardness to 10 units to make it overall very brittle. In order to trigger the destruction I created a cluster from the farthest peak adding some break energy and setting it  to start breaking at frame 90, after the boat has started to shatter the ice in front, I made the same with the second peak but this time making it starting to break  one second later and so on, in this way I got the feeling of the shockwave propagating across the cliff. That worked pretty well but some big fragments of the basis start to break off as well in a weird way, to fix the issue I set all fragments of the basis as static to prevent them moving at all.

Adding  more debris

pFlowDebri

I used Particle Flow in 3ds Max to add more debris to the cliffs destruction, that wasn’t difficult. I set a Position Object operator to use the PDI fragments as source for particles then I set a Spawn operator to emit more particles per frame. Finally I set a Shape Instance with a PDI fragment as source to instantiate the particles as geometry. Only trouble was some particles accelerated too much , I remove those weird particles by adding a Speed Test branching to a delete pFlow operators.

Adding  a falling snow effect

FumeFxViewport

The Cliff destruction already looked good but  I needed to add falling snow, I reused the same pFlow particles I have created before to emit smoke with FumeFx.  I didn’t want a dense avalanche of snow because this would hide the falling rocks behind, I just needed a soft covering of snow around the detached fragments.

Preventing the smoke to raise was the main trouble, I set a low temperature value, negative buoyancy (-5) and high dissipation values, finally I got a better look by setting Velocity Difusion to 50 units. The result I got isn’t perfect at all but I hope it gets the feeling of  snow around.

Finally I composed the snow pass in Fusion, adding some blur and adjusting the levels with the alpha gain.

final

Conclusions

It has been a stimulating experience working in this project, using Pulldownit in 3ds Max was easy and fun,  PDI get along very well with Particle Flow to add more debris, generating snow  was the most difficult part, Fume is great for smoke generation but honestly getting a falling snow behavior isn’t easy, next time I would like to try a more specific tool to simulate sand -like effects in addition to Fume.

 

Pulldownit 4.7 for Maya released!

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NOTE: there is a newer version of Pulldownit with important updates in performance, check it here:

Pulldownit for Maya 2020

This new update of the tool has its focus on improving user experience in Maya, especially when working with animated objects in dynamics or when making small changes to scenes already baked.

For this we introduce a revamped method for animated breakable objects, this new method gets smoother transitions when the object start to fracture. Also Secondary Cracks policy is now applied per fragment, getting main block or animated parts to remain unbroken while smaller fragments split again automatically.

Now is very easy to recompute or reshatter any single fragment, so you can make small changes to baked scenes seamlessly, adding to this the baking of keys is now a background process, modifying simulations is much faster when working on destruction projects.

Several of this new features you can see explained in this nice tutorial by Esteban Cuesta,

And there are other important enhancements like shatter of combined models up to 8 times faster, and a new PDI Cache monitor to watch the state of the cached simulation or clear it if needed, last but not the least quite a few annoying bugs of previous version has been fixed.

Below listed the most relevant highlights in Pulldownit 4.7 for Maya

Shatter New Features                                                                                                      

Shatter of combined meshes up to 8x faster, models made of different parts combined together are shattered now much faster, the speed up depends on the tessellation of the original meshes, being up to 8 times faster for hi-poly models.

cominedModelsSamples

New ability to reshatter single fragments of baked fracture bodies to any extend, reshatter baked fragments is now an easy action and can be repeated to any extend, besides new shards created will acquire motion of the original fragment in dynamics.

Dynamics New Features                                                                                             

Revamped transition animation-dynamics method for Fracture bodies, animated objects which breaks are now computed more accurately, getting smoother transitions and fine control over how and when the object start to fracture.

New Per Fragment Secondary Cracks policy, secondary cracks are now applied per fragment instead of for the whole object, differentiating in this way the bulk of the object from detached and animated parts and modulating the effect accordingly.

secondarycracksSample

Allow to recompute fragments with baked keys in dynamics, user can recompute motion for already baked rigid bodies or fragments just by setting its activation time.

Speed up baking of simulation keys, baking of simulation keys is now done in a background process, this makes baking of keys much faster, especially noticeable when there are hundreds to thousands of fragments on scene.

UI Enhancements                                                                                                         

New Clear PDI Cache UI button, user can now watch the state of the PDI Cache and remove current cached simulation if needed to start computing from scratch without modifying any parameter.

Selected Shatter group is now highlighted before confirming “Undo All Shatter”, this new behaviour gives instant feedback of which fragments are selected before undoing them.

Read the full list of fixes in the Pulldownit web site version logs

                                                                                                           

Hum3D CAR Render Challenge 2019

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Time for the Annual Car Render challenge by Hum3D ,

you have to create a car 3d model, put it into 3D environment and make a beautiful render. There are no limits for your creative ideas..

You can summit your work until December the 4th, 2019.

Pulldownit Pro license is one of the valuable prizes and there are plenty of them! those interested can check rules and prizes here:

Visit Challenge Home Page

Pulldownit Pro in the Cloud

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Try free or rent Pulldownit plugin by the hour on StratusCore’s cloud VirtualWorkstation, a powerful, GPU-accelerated computer that comes pre-loaded withthe full version of Pulldownit. Simply create a free StratusCore account,then connect to a workstation and play.

 Pulldownit is a software published by Thinkinetic intended to simulate fast and easy realistic shatter and destruction effects in a 3D environment.

StratusCore is a platform that gives you instant access digital contentcreation tools and software in the cloud that are available for free trialor for rent by the hour. Learn more at stratuscore.com

Go to Stratus Core Site

*Use of software requires an active Autodesk subscription for Maya 2018 or3ds Max 2019

Ancient Hall destruction by Esteban Cuesta

 

Esteban Cuesta  the author of this powerful shot,  kindly explains us how he made it in 3ds Max using Pulldownit for destruction.

I did this shot inspired by the destruction of Red Keep cellars in final Seven Kingdoms season, seeing all those big ceiling’s fragments falling to the ground surrounding the lovers more and more until finally got them buried and dead.

That was a dramatic end which impressed me and decided to try a similar destruction effect using PDI in 3ds Max.

Fixing the Model for shattering

3dmodel

Im not a modeller at all so I searched the web to find some kind of indoor model of an ancient building I could use, finally I found this nice model of the Gloucester Cathedral by ddFantast, maybe familiar to you because several scenes of Harry Potter movies where actually filmed inside this corridor. The model looked perfect for my project with all those impressive arcs and its rich decorated ceiling.

The model was very complete, with shaders and lights already set, however it happens many times models for visualization have issues when it comes to shatter them,  in my case all the  moldings in the ceiling and arcs where made as independent objects and came with many open edges and defects like that not noticeable because got hidden in the overlapping area with the arcs  but  preventing from shattering them correctly.

I managed to fix the moldings of the ceil by applying cap holes modifier to them but sadly it didn’t work for the arcs, applying cap holes I got several visible artifacts on them, luckily I found a way by baking all the moldings as a normal map, PDI support this feature and the arcs  looked nice and still detailed with the normal maps in place of geometric moldings.

Fracturing the Model

Cathedral-element

The Cathedral model is built in a smart way, actually it is made of a single element like a chamber duplicated several times and concatenated so  you get the whole corridor.

I wanted to create the destruction in 2 stages, the first one shattering the windows and small fragments of ceilling detaching and falling, second stage is big chunks falling and breaking heavily when hiiting the ground. The corridor was very long so my idea was I could destroy a single element in this way then apply the resulting fragments and its motion to the rest of the chambers but offsetting the animation in time , so I finally got  a chain destruction effect.

destructionElementPasses

I destroyed the single element in 2 different passes, first was by using a Path Based shatter combined with an Uniform shatter of the ceiling, the first pass made of small fragments falling was driven by a PDI Cracker and for the second pass I created a big hidden sphere which impact the ceiling from the top making the big fragments detaching at the moment  I wanted. For shattering the windows I used a PDI Local shatter and triggered the outbreak with an animated PBomb of 3d s Max. I set every other object of the chamber as a PDI static body and bake the whole simulation as animation keys with Pulldownit.

Putting all together

concatenatedPasses

At this point I had the single chamber fully destroyed, to duplicate the effect in the rest of the corridor I used the PDI Acquire shatter option, this is  a nice feature which allows to apply the same shatter effect and animation keys to another instance of the same object. I did it several times until getting five consecutive chambers destroyed, to offset the animation in time I selected all animation keys for each chamber and shift them using the slider in 3ds Max. Finally to break regularity of the concatenated chambers, I simply remove all animation keys for some fragments preventing them to fall,  but selecting  the blocked fragments diferent in each one of the consecutive chamber.

It was a pleasant experience working with Pulldownit and 3ds max in this shot,  I could navigate the viewports with ease despite the amount of geometry involved  and the plugin behaved very stable for shattering and dynamics

Additional effects and Render

I added a few hundreds of very small debris emitting them from the  fragments of the first destruction pass,  for this I used Particle Flow with Position Object and Shape Instance operands, and I put an HD picture of a forest as an environment map for Vray, aside this I didn’t add any other effect to the scene,  I rendered the shot with VRay Next,  It took around 7 min per frame in a RTX 2070 card.

last

There are several  additional effects you can add in compo to a shot like this: depth of field , motion blur, etc..depending on what you want to strength of the scene, but I just added a camera shake  with Fusion, strengthen shaking when big fragments collide with the ground to increase the feeling of weight.