About thinkinetic

Interested in computer graphics and visual FX.

car crash in the garage by Andres de Mingo

Andres de Mingo  the author of this powerful shot,  kindly explains us how he did the destruction effects using Pulldownit plugin in 3d Max.

 

Impact with the stacked boxes

Mi idea was to break all the boxes violently when impacting with the car but leaving the pallet below it sliding fast forward as  a whole,   I believe pulling it forward the camera  makes the sequence more impressive for the viewer. For setting the scene with PDi first thing was to define the shape of the fragments the boxes will break in,  no doubt, PDI wood shatter style was the natural choice,  however applying it to the box as  a whole the fragments on the top and bottom parts shattered  in round fragments , the reason was the wood pattern was aligned with the sides planks, to solve the issue I detached top and bottom parts as different objects so I could apply the wood pattern aligned with them correctly. I shattered each box in around 150 shards doing it in this way.

I set the pallet as a dynamic object and the car as a kinematic one but with convex hull shape to speed up collisions. I created a fracture body for each box, setting activation as first hit, hardness 100 units and clusterize 0. Besides the floor and ceil and several pillars was set as static objects so fragments doesn’t pass through them. I hadn’t to do any further change and PDi computed dynamics blazing fast for the  near 800 objects involved  at once.

Collision with the pillars

Shattering the pillars required   a little more care, I wanted them to stand but generating small fragments on the impact area with the car,  I wanted also small debris falling apart in the corners of the pillars with the ceil.  For the first one, which breaks in the background I simply combined two local shatter patters, one for the impact area and another one for shattering the top part of the object. For the other column which breaks  rather close to the camera I used  the new vertex color shatter which allowed me to make the areas of breaking more irregular and also generate easily random cracks over its surface when the car hits it.

I created a fracture body for each column, setting this time activation as breaks upon impact as I wanted the main part of the pillars  to stand,  as before the car was set as a kinematic object and the floor and ceil as static ones.  However in my  first attempt some big fragments broke off when impacting the car and I wanted them to stand, using PDI advanced fractures to set all big fragments as static objects fixed the issue, finally I did several test with different hardness values until achieving the desired  look for destruction.

Damaging the car

The car itself should deform when colliding with the pillars and its bodywork get damaged with scratches and dust because of the impact, to deform the car I used a morpth modifier in 3D max, setting 3 states for the mesh with different levels of deformation.  The bodywork material is animated , by one side its glossiness cuts down progressively because of the dust adhered to it and for adding the scratches I used a composite material and animated  the opacity of each component shaders to  show the scratches after collision.

Hitting the ground

When the car finally fall head down , there appears several fragments rolling over the ground, they are supposed to be debris from the ground and also small parts of the car itself. In place of shattering the ground and separating parts of the car I did a little trick, I created a thin box object over the ground textured like it and placed just where the car fall, a kind of step, I  shattered it in 200 fragments using uniform style, after that I changed the texture of some shards to be the same of the wind screen.  Then by setting a fracture body for this thin step when the car hitted it, the fragments rolled over the ground as I wanted.  I had just to hide this fake object until the car fall head down to get the effect done.

Adding smoke and dust

Smoke was generated using Particle Flow in 3d Max and applying a smoke material for the particles, as not being a volumetric smoke like the one generated by a fluids plugin its behavior is limited and even poor in foreground. So I set its gain very low in Fusion to hide the defects as much as possible but still being able to see the smoke in the scenery.

Dust was added by rendering a very blurred pass of the fragments in motion and adjusting its levels in Fusion, in this way you get a pretty dusty look of the fragments.

thank you Andres, very nice work!

 

 

VideoGame SuperStar Challenge by Hum3D

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Thinkinetic is proud sponsor of VideoGame SuperStar challenge by Hum3D.

Fan-art contest for the best 3D character from a video game. You can choose any remarkable hero you consider the most impressive.

You can summit your work until May 30, 2017.

Pulldownit Pro license is one of the valuable prizes and there are plenty of them, those interested can check rules and prizes here, go to challenge site

Introducing Vertex Colors Shatter

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We are glad to introduce Vertex Color Shatter, this new feature allows users to shatter a 3d model based on a black & white vertex color map, as you can see in the demo videos below it is a very interactive tool and you get lot of control when generating small fragments over the surface of an object. Vertex Color Shatter is available in Pulldownit 3.8.6 for 3d Max and Maya, for users of Pro version only.

Video Tutorial: Vertex Color Shatter in 3D Max

Video Tutorial: Vertex Color Shatter in MAYA

As far as we are concern this feature is completely new in the VFX field, if you find it useful let us known your experience with vertex color shatter, we have done our best and we are willing to continue improving it according to users feedback.

This time we have prefered to make it available as an extension of current version 3.8 but as any update it counts with other enhancements and some annoying bugs fixed , you can read below the brief improvements list.

Version 3.8.6 Enhancements:

  • Shatter Support for Vertex Colors.
  • New Vertex Colors Shatter Style.
  • Modify Jaggy Strength is now a fast operation.
  • All Basic Fracture params are now saved after deleting a fracture body, in this way you can reshatter an object and all your fracture params are restored after creating the fracture body again.
  • New “Set All Values to Default” Basic Fractures Option: Useful new option when you want to reset all values to solver defaults without having to delete the Fracture body.

You can read list of bugs fixed in the Pulldownit versions log pages.

 

Pulldownit 20% OFF

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Merry Christmas and best wishes for next Year from the Thinkinetic team.

To celebrate the end of the year Thinkinetic is offering a 20% discount for all Pulldownit Pro licenses, either single or floating ones.

To get your discount applied just visit the Thinkinetic shop and input the code xmas2016 in the product box.

This special offer is valid until January 15th 2017, dont miss it!

 

Tips & Tricks: Using Hidden Objects As Barriers

When planning to destroy large buildings or structures you usually want some parts to stand, however other objects may eventually collide with them, that’s why those parts should be set as static bodies in dynamics, sadly if these static parts have complex shapes,  that will increase significantly the computation time despite they doesn’t move. For example in the image bellow we want to destroy only the main tower on the right but when falling it will surely collide with the rest of the castle so we must set the whole thing in dynamics.

castilloinit

A way to speed up the simulation in cases like this is using simple objects as barriers, so flying fragments cannot pass through them. The idea is those barriers separate the real geometry from the fragments, you can use simple shapes as boxes or cylinders to enclose the area where fragments can move, taking care they approximate the shape behind in case the real geometry is very close to the barrier. In our example we can surround all standing parts with simple boxes and some cylinders,

castillobarriers

Modifying  the barriers shape if necessary to approximate correctly the geometry behind, the important thing is keeping always the low poly count. It doesn’t mind if the barriers interpenetrate each other as they are static objects.

At this point you have just to set the barriers as static bodies , you can even hide them from the viewport and PDi will take them in account for collisions anyway. After the barriers are hidden the result can be better than using the real geometry as you are avoiding its complexity and for sure you will save important computation time. See the image at the bottom once the barriers are hidden for our example.

castillobarriersdynamics

castillodynamics

 

Evermotion Challenge 2016: The Secret Garden

challenge2016mediumThinkinetic is proud sponsor of this year “The Secret Garden” challenge by Evermotion.

Welcome to Evermotion Challenge 2016 – the annual arch-viz contest! This year we invite you to make a visualization with greenery. We will reward great ideas and creativity among technical quality of the image. “The Secret Garden” means something different for everyone, so we count on various approaches to this theme.

You can summit your work until 17th of January, 2017

Pulldownit Pro license is one of the valuable prizes and there are plenty of them, those interested can check rules and prizes here:

http://www.evermotion.org/challenge/index/2016

 

Dragon Flight towards the Castle by Andres de Mingo

Andres de Mingo give some insights into the making of  this nice video, specially he explain how  the castle was destroyed using Pulldownit plugin in 3d Max.

Modeling the Environment

For modeling the terrain I started with a high tessellated plane, in order to create hills and valleys I used the soft selection tool to raise different areas, finally applying a noise modifier to get a rough look on the surface. The Lake is done with another large plane with an animated displacement, and of course a water-like blend material for rendering it translucent.  I populated the terrain with some trees,  I used a little MCG scheme to place the trees in groups and changing ramdomly its size and  number of branches so they didn’t look the same, MCG is a great tool for scattering objects ramdomly over a terrain.

Modeling the Dragon

Strictly speaking I modeled a Wyvern, this is a kind of Dragon without arms,  it was modeled in several stages. First I did was  a raw low poly version of it using just edit poly and turbo smooth in 3D Max, once I was happy with the result, unwrapped it and sent it to ZBrush for modeling the HiRes shape, I did it in two separate layers, one for the dragon body and another for the independent parts:  claws, horns, teeth and thorns. I added also surface details to the body like wrinkles and scales, finally I applied a projection mapping to texture the model. I reduced the poly count of the model by passing some of the detail to a displacement map and send it back to 3d Max where I added a SSS shader to get a translucent look on the wings,  finally I  built a basic rig with bones so I could animate it later.

Animating the Dragon

First I had to drive the overall trajectory of the dragon towards the castle, for this I used a dummy and linking the Dragon skeleton as child of it, then I did the dummy to approach the castle in a smooth way, from side to side, like the flight of a seagull. In order to refine the motion, I edited the dummy trajectory in Motion>Trajectories>Sub-Object>Keys, in this way I was able to handle it as a spline, displacing the keys in a smooth way. For beating the wings and leaning its body I did a classic “Pose to pose” animation while it was approaching the castle, finally to get a cloth-like feeling of the wings I added a Flex modifier in the rear part of them.

Impact with the Stone

The stones thrown from the catapult are modeled as simple spheres with turbosmooth and a noise modifier to add roughness.  The stones were animated so two of them almost collide with the dragon body, and the last one impact its head.

Making the third stone breaking when colliding with the dragon was very easy using Pulldownit, Esteban Cuesta shows it in this great video tutorial,

When playing the simulation the stone got broken perfectly when colliding with  the dragon, finally I just added some jagginess to the fragments to improve the look of the flying fragments.

Destroying the Castle

The castle model was purchased on Internet, it looked very nice but when shattering the tower with Pulldownit, I got strange artifacts on the arcs, checking the model I found that it had several open edges, adding a cap holes modifier fixed the issues but made it completely solid and I wanted the tower to be holed inside, so I had to edit the mesh and adding a cylindrical wall on the inside, then applying a cap holes I got the holed solid shape  that I wanted. I created a fracture body for the tower and set the dragon as kinematic with animated mesh to collide with it, in place of including the rest of the castle as static in dynamics I made some boxes and cylinders around it to act as barriers in dynamics to save computation time.

I destroyed also the roof of the tower below and the front porch, I did it in second step after baking keys for the fragments of the tower, I hadn’t any trouble to shatter those parts. For the few fragments falling into the pit in front of the Castle, I added a simple ripple effect to create some waves on the water  when the fragments touched the water plane.

This project was pretty complex for just one person, lots of modeling and animating the dragon took time aswell, but I enjoyed doing it, and Pulldownit plugin made the destruction work easy and funny.