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
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
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
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.
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
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.