Ancient Bridge earthquake by Andres de Mingo

Andres de Mingo,  author of this striking shot, kindly explains us how he did the dynamics effects using Pulldownit plugin inside 3ds Max.

I love those ancient bridges in Center Europe, with its old stones and statues plenty of history, I thought it would be dramatic seeing it being affected by a earthquake and tried to depict it in this little VFX project.

Cracking the bridge

The platform of the bridge is actually a large thin box textured with a combination of paving stones  and a grass shaders, I drawed a long 3ds max spline over the box and then used Shatter it tool to generate around 1000 shards around it, I added a second set of shards but this time making shatter width smaller and changing the Shatter Seed value to get a different pattern, finally I added an Uniform Shatter pattern of around 200 fragments to get rid of  too large shards appearing at both sides of the spline.

I created a PDI Fracture Body for the platform and a PDI Cracker along the spline, to speed up testing I set Local Propagation for the fractures, also to prevent fragments flying away too much I set a low value for the Cracker multiplier.

Making paving stones exploding

After I was happy with the main crack, I started adding more destruction on the bridge, for blasting  group of cobbles I reshattered the platform in different areas near the spline, this time using PDI Local Shatter, 200 shards per exploding area was enough,  following by creating clusters for each area, PDI Increase Selection tool is great for this, setting the cluster Hardness  to 0 and adding  a low break energy to get the exploding effect. Then I had just to set the break frame per cluster at the correct time to get the explosions happening one after another.

Crumbling the Statues

There are 5 statues on each bridge border, that’s makes a total of  10 models to shatter and destroy, this can be quite a lot of work, but I managed to speed up things by using some clever Pulldownit features.  I started by drawing a spline over the statue surface and creating a cracker for it,  then shattering the model with PDI path based style in around 300 shards, and adding an Uniform shatter pass of around 50 shards to get rid of large fragments on the model,  finally I added also a couple of small  PDI Local shatter shards in some borders of the statue.  By creating a fracture body and setting it to static and only break I got the statue crumbling nicely without breaking it completely.

But for the statues in the background I did it much simpler, I  made the model adquiring the shattering of the version in close up view, using PDI Adquire shatter style, then creating some cluster to make the statue starting crumbling at the desired frame , that’s did the trick perfectly.

Conclusions

This shot involved several models to be damaged and cracked, thanks to the easy of use and clever features of Pulldownit  I was able to have all destruction effects done and adjusted in a short time. I like specially  PDI Jagginess , this feature add detail to inner faces so cracks looks rough and more realistic when rendering the scene without having to create complex shader for them.

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