About thinkinetic

Interested in computer graphics and visual FX.

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.

Evermotion Challenge 2020 winners

Evermotion Challenge 2020 winners announced!, congratulations to all of them.

There are specially thrilling works this year due to the pandemic and the theme of the contest,

All works that were sent to Evermotion Challenge 2020 were outstanding not only as visualizations, but also as a sign of our times

The Evermotion team

you can review best works here,

Visit Challenge Home Page

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and best whishes from the Thinkinetic team, in this awful year
we want to thank specially to all users who have purchased or renewed their Pulldownit licenses, at Thinkinetic we continue working every day and indeed we finish 2020 with a strong set of improvements in performance and usability to Pulldownit 4.x either for 3ds Max or Maya, thats not all, we are preparing a new version of the software to be released in next months, with new features and enhancements we expect will be useful for your productions, take a look to this blog from time to time, next version of Pulldownit will be announced and featured hear.

thank you for trusting our tools in this dificult year,
stay safe and have a merry christmas and a plenty of joy New Year!

Evermotion Challenge 2020

Thinkinetic is proud sponsor of this year “My own 2020” challenge by Evermotion.

“Year 2020 is a breaktrough on a global scale. The consequences of events around us will be felt for decades to come. We invite you to make an art using 3d techniques (still image or animation) that will be your personal interpretation of this year and its local, national or global consequences. It can be small, personal image or a grand scale epic visualization – you choose..

You can summit your work until 20th December, 2020

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

https://evermotion.org/challenge/rules/2020

Patio of Lights by Pedro Ivan de Frias

Pedro Ivan de Frias   the author of this stunning shot,  kindly explains us how he did the destruction effects using Pulldownit plugin in 3d Max.

This shot was a challenging project because of the amount of different elements fracturing and by other side,  due to the close proximity of the camera to the walls, shards had to be generated less polygonal to look real  in close-up cracks and detachments .  My approach was to work it out in several stages, one for each wall being destroyed, then adding more elements in simulation when I was happy with the overall look and timing of the previous stage.

Cracking the walls

For  cracking the front and side walls I followed the same procedure, first drawing a spline over the surface going from the bottom to the rooftop, this is very easy thanks to the great freehand splines in 3ds Max, then using PDI Path Based shatter to create  shards along the spline,  at first I created 250 shards, however fragments near the camera looked still too big so  I did  a second pass adding 200 more shards with a lower width value to generate smaller fragments along the path, finally I added a PDI Uniform shatter of the whole wall to remove any too large or too narrow fragment over the surface.  I follow by creating a PDI Fracture body for each wall, setting it as static, “only break” and clusterize set to 0  in PDI fracture options.

After creating a PDI cracker object following the spline trajectory and adjusted it size to be very small, when playing the simulation the wall started to crack nicely along the spline but I had to set also local propagation in PDI fracture options to prevent fragments detaching in advance.

The simulation looked good but almost all fragments along the path got detached and falling to the ground, I preferred  the broken fragments to protrude over the surface without falling, but any of the PDI fracture options seemed to perform this behavior, I solved it by adding a thin box aligned to the wall but with a small gap between them, by setting it as a PDI static body I got the  fragments standing after detaching, I had just to hide the thin box to get a nice protruding crack over the wall.

Exploding the wall on the left

The wall on the left crumble in a different way than the others,  It explodes and crack as  a whole, not just along a defined path, to achieve the effect this time I used a 3ds max wind field to trigger the destruction. First I draw a spline crossing the wall widely from left to right and making several twist in its way to the roof; then I shattered the wall using PDI path based style in around 250 shards along the spline and adding 250 more shards, setting a smallest width value, but only in the part of the wall nearest to the camera.

I followed by creating  a PDI fracture body for the wall, and set it as only breaks and clusterize set to 0 in the PDI fracture parameters,  I also checked affected by force fields box,  I animated wind strength going from 0 to a maximum 100 units in frame 30,  then decaying again until vanishing at frame 50. When running the simulation, I’ve got an appealing destruction of the whole wall, with smaller fragments being pushed out farther than bigger ones. However, I wanted most of the wall to not move at all, for achieving this I set all large chunks as static in PDI advanced fractures getting the nice exploding effect.

Adding more elements in simulation

At this point I had all my walls being destroyed nicely but I wanted to add more elements to make the scene  more massive and impressive . I added two giant debris falling from the ceiling beyond the camera, that looked definitively good. The models were taken from a nice debris package by Everlite, I used PDI  to simulate the motion of these huge pieces as rigid bodies, simply adding a random initial spin for them and gravity did the rest. Once of the chunks collides with the pipes in the ground floor so included the pipes in simulation using local shatter and setting a PDI fracture body for them, again I set the parts I didn’t want to move as static in PDI advanced fractures. Finally, I shattered some windows of the facade, for achieving this nice effect I applied a radial shatter pattern to the windows but didn’t compute dynamics for it, simply animated visibility to make the shards appearing at the exact moment.

All these new elements were added after all walls destruction was already baked, so no way to affect or modify it,  however added fragments could still collide with baked geometry,  that’s a very nice feature of Pulldownit when you want to add more elements to  a simulation already baked.

Final Adjustments

Once all the  destruction was done, I made a preview of the simulation to check dynamics and timing, I cropped keys for some fragments on the left wall to make them stick on the surface while still seeing the cracks. I had the feeling timing was a little slow , so I did all destruction  a 20% faster using 3ds Max re-scale time feature which works great.

I replaced the PDI cut material for a more realistic Vray material and added PDI Jagginess to all fragments except those of the pipes as they are seeing far away, I strengthen  PDI Jagginess for the fragments close to the camera which looked still too flat. Definitively close-up fragments looked much realistic after adding quite a few of roughness to them and PDI does it almost automatically and very fast, that another amazing feature of this plugin.

Finally I added a camera shake effect strengthen it when the left wall explodes and making it vanishing slowly until the end.

Adding Dust

Dust was added in a second pass using Fume Fx and I used Particle Flow in 3ds Max to guide the emission of smoke, in the left wall I set the same spline I have used to crack the surface as emitter of particles,  in the other wall I emitted particles directly from the detaching fragments.

I decided to emit lot of dust from the left wall because it was kind of exploding and a soft amount of dust in the right wall to not populate the scene with too much smoke and can still see the fragments detaching and falling. I didn’t add any dust to the crack on the front wall for the same reason.

To make the particles exploding along with the fragments  I simply set a pFlow speed operator with a large value and adjusted a gravity force to make particles falling quickly.

The main issue to get  dust looking good was setting Fume Fx Spacing value very low, because the camera was very close to the smoke, indeed it was located inside the fluid container itself. Aside this I was testing with all Fume dissipation parameters until getting the dust behaviour I wanted for the scene. Regarding rendering I had to reduce light multiplier in FumeFx render tab to make the illumination of the smoke less brighten. I finally composed dust in Fusion adjusting Alpha gain and Burn parameters.

Conclusions

This scene involved quite a lot of elements being destroyed,  I must say Pulldownit  behaved fast and stable at all moment and the ability to can add more elements in simulation  in different stages was very helpful to  can focus in the destruction of one wall at  a time.

I liked specially generating cracks along paths is very easy using this plugin, and you have fine control  over the strength of the shockwaves but having more options to control the timing of the cracks propagation will be useful.

PDI Jagginess is a great feature to generate more realistic fragments adding the amount of roughness you like specially in close-up views.

Chop the Queen 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.

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

AnimatingQueen

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

shatteringQueen

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

fracturingQueen

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.

fracturingQueenClusters

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

Conclusions

final

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.

Pulldownit changes to Annual License

From July 1st , 2020 all Pulldownit licenses will turn to annual with an important reduction in cost. Thinkinetic will stop selling perpertual licenses of Pulldownit plugin for Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya after that date.

Purchasers of perpetual licenses before 1st July will have normal access to fixes and updates during its maintenance period, after license support expires they can continue using the current installed software but they won’t get further updates of the software until purchasing a new annual license.

Purchasers of annual licenses  will equally have access to fixes and updates during one year, after license expires they would have to purchase new annual licenses to continue using the software.

We think moving to annual license scheme makes it easier for everybody, as costumer you don’t have to worry about when your software maintenance expires to renew your license early and get the best discount; with annual licenses you will get always the same cost regardless whether you renew your license yearly or after 2 years or more.

Pulldownit plugin is, after 10 years of development, a mature piece of software, stable, reliable and responsive in what it does; our commitment at Thinkinetic is to continue developing  new useful features for shatter and destruction effects, and improving plugin tools and  performance to the maximum specially regarding incoming processors. In fact we are already working on exciting new features for next major release of the software.

At Thinkinetic we work everyday so our users get always the best experience when using Pulldownit plugin in their VFX projects.