LMU Belltower destruction by John Bashyam

John Bashyam and friends made this stunning shot combining Pulldownit plugin in Maya and After Effects, he kindly share some details about production below.

I thought it would be fun to create a video of a meteor hitting the clock
tower at my school. So I went out and took some reference photos, and then
began to model the tower in Maya. Once I was finished, I added some basic
textures and then went out to shoot the actual video. After this, I
positioned the virtual camera in the same place as the camera in real life
in order to get the perspective right.

Now came time for the destruction. I was thinking about using the Rayfire
tool for 3ds MAX, but I figured it would be such a hassle to import my
geometry, run it through Rayfire, bake it, and export it back out to Maya.
That is when I came upon PullDownIt, which would do all of this inside of
Maya. I decided to give it a try, and it worked like a charm.

I selected all of the geometry to be destroyed, and fractured them using
the PDI basic fractures tool (I even further fractured a few pieces so that
I would have some tiny shards). I put a ball in the scene which I was going
to replace with a meteor later through compositing and then ran the
simulation, baked it, and rendered out a .png image sequence.

Next, I went into After Effects, imported my image sequence, put it on top
of my original footage, added some more debris, smoke, the meteor, lens
flare, color correction, and all of that good stuff. Note that it only
switches over to the CG tower upon meteor impact.

Since I enjoy using Maya over any other 3d program, it is so great to have
a destruction tool that opens right inside. PullDownIt does a nice job, but
it would be cool to have some dynamic destruction features (fracture on

I am currently studying Animation at Loyola Marymount University in Los
Angeles, CA.