Hum3D CAR Render Challenge 2020

Thinkinetic sponsors Seventh annual Hum3D competition for the best Car render,
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

Remember you can summit your work until December the 8th, 2020.

Chop the Queen 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.

My aim in this shot was to do an exaggerated representation of a  chess game “capture the queen” movement.  The model had to perform exactly 3 loops on scene, before breaking completely on the edge of the chessboard, these kinds of constraints happens many times in production projects.

Animating the Queen

AnimatingQueen

I animated the queen in advance, doing exactly 3 loops,  in this way  the model should maintain  the original motion while fracturing, luckily I was able to do all of this using the Pulldownit plugin in 3ds Max.

To make things easier I used a simple shape wrapping the queen model,  after simulating its motion  I had just to parent the queen to my proxy shape to make it acquire its motion.

I set also the chessboard as a static PDi body so the pieces can collide with it, as expected the tower only pushed away the queen when hitting it,  to get the piece looping in the air I played with initial velocity and initial spin of the queen model alone until getting it looping nicely 3 times, then I had simply to set the activation frame for the queen just when being reached by the tower to start its motion at exact the impact moment.

Fracturing the queen

shatteringQueen

I wanted to damage the queen locally several times before being broken completely,  for this I started applying  a rude Uniform PDI shatter of around 100 shards over the model, then I reshattered the corner area near the tower in around 200 shards using local style,  and finally I reshattered the top part of the queen in around 150 more shards in order to get smaller debris when this part hits the ground.

the ability to  to increase fracture energy above the solver computed value was very useful to strength  impacts according to artistic aims

fracturingQueen

Once the shattering was defined I created a PDI fracture body for the queen model, setting it as Static and Only Breaks to force preserving the original trajectory while fracturing it,  by playing the simulation the queen broke apart nicely in the impact with the tower, however it didn’t break completely when reaching the border of the board,  after setting Activation at frame and Clusterize value to 20 units in the PDI fracture options I got it breaking nicely outside the board.

fracturingQueenClusters

To exaggerate the strength of fracturing I created 2 small cluster of fragments in the areas I wanted to break apart and set its break energy to a value around 10 units, I set those clusters to break at a specific frame aswell. Finally I added some roughness to the fragments with the amazing edge jaggines feature of Pulldownit.

Pulldownit counts with many nice features but adding jagginess to fragments is probably my favorite one

Conclusions

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This shot was simple in its concept but very demanding regarding dynamics control,  I needed the queen model to fracture at specific moments but maintaining always the  original trajectory and motion of the object and I must say Pulldownit did it perfectly. Besides the ability to  to increase fracture energy above the solver computed value was very useful to strength  impacts according to artistic aims, and still getting a  natural motion which would have been very difficult to achieve by other means, I believe.

Pulldownit changes to Annual License

From July 1st , 2020 all Pulldownit licenses will turn to annual with an important reduction in cost. Thinkinetic will stop selling perpertual licenses of Pulldownit plugin for Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya after that date.

Purchasers of perpetual licenses before 1st July will have normal access to fixes and updates during its maintenance period, after license support expires they can continue using the current installed software but they won’t get further updates of the software until purchasing a new annual license.

Purchasers of annual licenses  will equally have access to fixes and updates during one year, after license expires they would have to purchase new annual licenses to continue using the software.

We think moving to annual license scheme makes it easier for everybody, as costumer you don’t have to worry about when your software maintenance expires to renew your license early and get the best discount; with annual licenses you will get always the same cost regardless whether you renew your license yearly or after 2 years or more.

Pulldownit plugin is, after 10 years of development, a mature piece of software, stable, reliable and responsive in what it does; our commitment at Thinkinetic is to continue developing  new useful features for shatter and destruction effects, and improving plugin tools and  performance to the maximum specially regarding incoming processors. In fact we are already working on exciting new features for next major release of the software.

At Thinkinetic we work everyday so our users get always the best experience when using Pulldownit plugin in their VFX projects.

Pulldownit 4.8 for 3ds Max released!

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This new update of the tool has its focus on improving user experience in 3ds Max, especially when working with animated objects in dynamics or when making small changes to scenes already computed.

For this we introduce a revamped method to fracture animated 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 reshatter any single fragment, so you can make small changes to the current simulation seamlessly when working on destruction projects.

Shatter it tool is overall 2x faster, that means creating hundred of shards almost instant, and Path-based shatter has been re tuned for smoother generation of shatter points specially when using 3ds Max freehand splines. Regarding jagginess on cut faces, tessellation of jaggy polygons is now more regular getting rid of several artifacts appearing on borders.

Last but not the least quite a few annoying bugs of previous version has been fixed.

License scheme for 3ds Max plugin changes to Annual with a base price of 240 euros  as launching offer.

Below listed the most relevant highlights in Pulldownit 4.8 for 3ds Max

Shatter New Features                                                                                                      

Shatter it tool 2x faster, this increase up to 8x faster for combined meshes, models made of different parts combined together are shattered now much faster. Also shatter preview is up to 3 times faster for hi-poly meshes.

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.

Path-based shatter re tuned, generation of shatter points along curves is now smoother specially when using 3ds Max freehand splines.

Improved quality of jaggy tessellation, tessellation of jaggy polygons is now more regular getting rid of several artifacts appearing on borders.

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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.

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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.

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

Accident in the Port by Andres de Mingo

 

Andres de Mingo,  author of this realistic shot, kindly explains us how he did the dynamics effects using nCloth combined with Pulldownit plugin inside Maya.

This time I proposed myself to reproduce a believable crane accident all inside Maya, the final shot involves 3 different effects,  simulating  the crane cable in motion, the tearing of the ropes attaching the pipes and the final  falling and breaking of the pallet , all along with sound efects to increase realism.

Animating the Crane Cable

animatingTheCraneCable

The motion of the crane cable is very simple, but I wanted the cable to show some tension and curvature when moving because of this I decided to use nCloth for animating it. In addition the hook has to follow the motion of the cable  but with its own independent swinging so I  created a nCloth shape for it as well, however the hook model was a little complex, including a support with nuts and bolts,  so I made a more simple shape to use it in simulation. Finally, the pallet and pipes has to follow also the animation of the cable and hook but again with its own relative motion, I included them in nCloth as a single simple shape wrapping the original objects.

In order to link the different parts together I created several Point to Surface nConstraints attaching the end vertexes of each object to the previous object in the chain. When computing, the crane transferred its motion to the nCloth cable and so on because of the links between them.

Tearing the Pallet Ropes

tearingTheRopes

For tearing the ropes I made a simple trick, I removed some small polys of the original ropes model in the areas where I wanted them to tear and move away, then I made each separated part an independent node in Maya and create nCloth shapes for them. Finally I assigned  nConstraints joining the ends of each piece of rope to make them moving together, this time I used Component to Component constraints to select carefully the attaching vertexes. I also set the pallet proxy object and the containers nearby as passive colliders in Nucleus so they can collide with the falling ropes. At this point I had only to make the constraints attaching the ropes to disable at the frame I wanted, I got it just by animating this parameter of the nCloth shapes. Everything worked nicely except the ropes were trembling  too much when around the pallet, I increased its rigidity to remove the problem but this caused the ropes not bending after tearing and colliding with other objects so I had to animate also rigidity to reduce it a lot after separating the ropes in dynamics.

Simulating the Pipes

simulatingPipes

For simulating the pipes falling I used Pulldownit, contrary to nCloth this Maya plugin acquires automatically the velocity from animated objects without the need of any additional setup, besides the pallet breaks when colliding so PDI was perfect for the  task.

At this point I had cached all nCloth simulations with Alembic, my original idea was to make the pipes child’s of the Alembic cable so they will acquire its velocity before falling, sadly it didn’t work; the reason seems to be PDI only acquire velocity from keyframed objects but Alembic nodes are made of vertexes animated. I solved the issue by creating a duplicated version of the pipes and making they follow the cable motion using a wrap deform in Maya, then I had to keyframe the original pipes group to match the motion of the wrapped version,  I had to do this only for the last swing of the cable so it wasn’t difficult. Afterwards setting all pipes as PDI rigid bodies and making them activate at frame did the work.

I did the same trick for the pallet but this time creating a PDI fracture body and setting it to activate at the desired frame. Finally animating visibility for each version of the pallet, the wrapped and the simulated one, I got the complete smooth effect.

Render and sound effects

For rendering the scene I used Arnold in Maya with just an Skydome light, as being an outdoor scene Arnold was pretty fast and the render looks very realistic, I composed the final shot in Davinci Resolve and adding sound effects there,  I must say doing it was fun and easy,  Davinci  is a great software specially its latest version.

Conclusions

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It has been an interesting experience working in this project, specially I learned how to combine different solvers , nCloth and PDI,   nCloth worked well, and the fact you can animate its parameters to get different cloth behaviour at different moments of the simulation helps a lot. PDI was  easy to use and you can get different outcomes by tweaking parameters almost instantly. It would be great a more direct connection between both solvers to need less steps when combining them in the same effect.

Space Rover 3D challenge

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Hum3D Space Rover Challenge has started!

Best way to spend time this spring is improve your skills and make new amazing art for your portfolio

to do: a space rover – vehicle that can explore a ground of planets and survive in dangerous worlds

You can summit your work until June the 3th, 2020.

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

VERTEX EVENT 2020

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Thinkinetic is proud patner of 2020 Vertex event which take place 27-28th February at Olympia Centre in London.

From games, VFX, VR, character conceptulisation, real-time creation and more, boost your skills with leading industry artists and learn from the world’s best creative studios.
This year is plenty of workshops from leading artists of the industry and several conferences with speakers from studios such as Pixar, ILM, Framestore and others.

Dont miss it if you have the chance to be in London on that date!

Visit Vertex 2020 Official Site

 

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