About thinkinetic

Interested in computer graphics and visual FX.

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

3dmodel

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.

 

 

 

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Three D Guns Challenge Winners Announced

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Hum 3D “Three D Guns” challenge has ended, as sponsor of the competition Thinkinetic is proud to gift a Pulldownit Pro license to the winners, congratulations to all of them.

Take a look to best works and interviews with winners in the official announcement:

Hum3D Three D Guns Challenge 2019 winners

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.

onlyBreak_clusterizePlates3dmaxv2

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

Try Pulldownit Pro in the cloud

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StratusCore is a platform that gives you instant access to a full suite of
products tailored to the VFX artist experience such as on-demand rendering
and digital content creation tools, many of which are available to trial.
Among other great tools they bring us the opportunity to try Pulldownit Pro for free on a StratusCore’s Virtual Workstation.

Pulldownit is a software published by Thinkinetic intended to simulate fast and easy realistic shatter and destruction effects in a 3D environment.

Try Pulldownit Pro in the cloud

Pulldownit for 3ds Max or Maya comes pre-installed, so all you need to do is create a free StratusCore account, then connect to a workstation and play.

Trial requires an active Autodesk subscription for Maya 2018 or 3DS Max
2019

 

VERTEX EVENT 2019

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Thinkinetic is proud patner of 2019 Vertex event which take place 8th March at Olympia Centre in London.

From games, VFX, VR, character conceptulisation, real-time creation and more,
boost your skills with leading industry artists and learn from the world’s best creative studios.

This year  conferences counts with speakers from leading studios such as Creative Assembly, DNEG, ILM,Jellyfish, Oculus, Rare, and more..

Dont miss it if you have the chance to be in London on that date!

Visit Vertex Event Official Site

Pulldownit for Maya 2019

Pulldownit plugin is already available for Maya 2019,  you can download it from the users area if you have licensed the plugin or download demo version from the web site in case not. You can review latest features and demos of Pulldownit 4.5 here:

Pulldownit 4.5 for Maya new features

There was a great expectation about Maya 2019 because it was taken much longer than usual to be released, many users’ thoughts were about some big new feature was coming, but finally Autodesk has focused this release in usability of the tool and performance by presenting an impressive long list of bugs fixes and a few but important improvements when using the software in production.

The major enhancement in Maya 2019 is the new cached playback feature, by using it you can speed up the playback of complex scenes or get a sustained frame rate  directly in the viewport removing the need to playblast the scene to review  issues, in addition you can modify keys freely and the cache auto updates quickly taking in account the changes so you get indeed a faster workflow specially for animation. Cached Playback is intended to be used with keyframed characters or some types of cached animations so all the dynamics solvers inside Maya: Nucleus, MASH, XGEN etc.. doesn’t support it. The same happens with Pulldownit, you cannot activate cached playback while computing dynamics however after baking keys and delete all PDI bodies you can enable it to speed up the playback in viewport, in our tests with scenes including around 1000 fragments this new Maya cache double the viewport FPS running at near 70 FPS, and if you export the destruction to Alembic the playback is even faster reaching a speed to around 90 FPS in average. Here a quick tutorial about using  Maya 2019 cached playback with Pulldownit simulations:

 

There are other improvements regarding animation keys, two new filters has been added, Butterworth and Key Reducer, the first one is intended to clean noise in animation capture data and the second is useful to remove needless keys in the animation.

Besides the integration of Arnold Render in Maya is becoming deeper with each update, in version 2019 you can use Arnold render inside one Maya viewport or render regions directly in the viewport 2.0

Autodesk also claims complex scenes now load faster and interactions with viewport 2.0 are quicker, in our experience that’s true so far, so even if some people is disappointed for the lack of brand new features in other fields we think Autodesk has done it right making Maya faster and more reliable in this release, users should notice it in his everyday work.