About thinkinetic

Interested in computer graphics and visual FX.

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

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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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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

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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.

 

 

 

Pulldownit 4.5 for 3ds Max released!

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Pulldownit 4.5 for 3ds Max is finally here, this new update counts with useful inprovements for better usability and faster creation of fracture effects inside 3ds Max but specially we have improved the workflow for adding dust or emit particles from fragments when using other tools, once you have finished with geometry destruction using PDI; for this we have included an enhanced  3ds Max Alembic exporter which can combine all simulated objects as a single cached mesh for faster viewport playback and counts with other advantages over 3ds Max built-in exporter you can read bellow.

In this great tutorial Esteban Cuesta shows us several of these new features in action destroying a brickwall with a runaway car.

There are other important improvements for working in destruction effects some of them you can see in the video , animated meshes in dynamics are now updated much faster per frame and we have added a new event to switch cracks propagation mode at desired frame, so you can damage locally for some time then break geometry completely at specific frame.

Regarding usability, we have added a new tool for easier fragments selection when creating clusters,  generation of different takes for standing models getting damaged is now an easy task with the improved behavior of “Static-Only Break” fracture option, and quite a few annoying bugs of previous version has been fixed.

Pulldownit plugin is fully integrated in 3ds Max and destruction scenes can be exported to other platforms uisng Fbx or Alembic formats, adding its range of features makes PDI a valuable resource when working in either VFX or Motion Graphics projects.

Below listed the most relevant highlights in Pulldownit 4.5 for 3ds Max.

 New Features                                                                                                                  

Enhanced  3ds Max Alembic exporter, PDi Alembic exporter counts with several advantages over 3ds Max built-in exporter when working with many animated nodes or destruction scenes:

  •  Combine all selected objects as a single cached Alembic mesh
  •  Option to exclude non-animated objects in selection from being exported
  •  Option to skip Jaggy-faces from being exported to get a lighter cache file
  •  Option to auto load the cache file with original materials applied
  •  Option to  hide/delete original objects
  •  Easy replacement of cache file with original keyframed nodes if needed

Hi-poly animated meshes 2x times faster update in dynamics, animated or deforming meshes such as character`s skin are now updated very fast during simulation providing a smoother experience  when including them as kinematic objects in destruction scenes.

New “Increase Selection” option for easier clusters creation, create clusters of fragments of similar size  is much easier now using this new tool to select neighbouring fragments in the same area just with one click.

“Only Breaks” fracture option captures larger cracks and detachments, this useful feature forces the model to stand while being impacted, its behaviour has been improved so now it can generate larger cracks and detachments when they doesn’t jeopardize the overall structure, this effect is more noticeable when using it in conjunction with Clusterize level.

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Added ability to change propagation scheme at frame, user can now damage an object only locally for some time then change to continuous propagation at desired frame to create larger cracks.

Easily recompute rigid bodies with baked keys in dynamics, in order to recompute fragments with baked keys user has just to confirm it in a dialog box.

Manage PDI World Window is now modeless, allowing the user to interact in the viewport while this window is open, selecting rigid bodies to enable/disable or delete them.

New option to show/hide/select all disabled rigid bodies in scene, it is easy to lost track of  disabled rigid bodies with this handy new option you can select all at once to enable or delete them or hide from the viewport all disabled rigid bodies with just one click

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