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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Robot escape from the Port by Andres de Mingo

Andres de Mingo kindly explains us the making of some complex effects using Pulldownit and FumeFX in 3dMax for his appealing destruction shot.

This project was about destroying a brick wall with an animated robot, I had done similar things in the past using Pulldownit and not difficult but this time I needed to create a thin long crack in the stucco before making the wall to collapse and in addition this crack should follow the trajectory of an animated  laser beam coming from the hand of the robot, that was the main challenge.

laserstart

Making the laser beam crack

The laser is a simple thin cylinder in 3ds Max with the height value animated to make it grow towards the wall, besides the cylinder has a Octane material  with emission per blue color, in this way it can illuminate the scene and finally to make it shine I added glare and bloom to the cylinder as a post process with Octane render itself.

To fracture the wall in the shape of a circle I created a circle spline in 3ds Max and put it inside the stucco, then I used the path-based shatter feature of Pulldownit to create the fragments, with around 200 shards, but I wanted the center part of the wall to break later so I added a second local shatter pattern in the middle of about 70 shards.

laserend

For making the crack following the trajectory of the light beam, I used a PDI cracker object attached to the circle path, then adding some keys to make sure the cracker had the same speed of the laser and by playing the simulation I got this appealing effect done in seconds.

Only problem was the center part of the stucco was falling to the ground after it became isolated, to solve it I attached the stucco wall to the bricks behind by selecting the option “Attach Nearest” of PDI Fracture Bodies.

httingthewallhead

Hitting the wall

The brick wall is made of small cubes attached together as a single object, I discovered this is important to get it broken in the shape of bricks in dynamics, otherwise the wall breaks as a continuous surface. I used a similar setup than the stucco, this time I created two concentric circle splines in both sides of the wall of same size, and shattered the wall in around 1200 shards with path-based pattern, then adding a local shatter pattern of around 600 shards in the middle, in this way PDI created small fragments in the contour of the circles perfect to crack them. Also to get the bricks as separated objects after shattering the wall I had to check the PDI shatter option “detect mesh-groups”.

httingthewall2

After getting the fragments created I made a fracture body for the whole thing including the stucco part and set it as static in PDI fractures options, also setting Clusterize to 0 to force the wall breaking only along the circle shapes.

I didn’t use the robot itself for this part of the shot, in its place I created a flat cylinder of the same size of the circle and animate it to hit the wall, so it pushed only  the fragments in the middle and hiding this object from rendering made the trick.

I rendered everything with Octane, because it is very fast and easy to use, maybe you have more features with other renderers but they takes much longer to get the final images ready.

addingdust1

Adding dust

After the PDi simulation was baked I started adding dust with Fume FX, I generated a slight wake of dust following the laser beam by simply emitting smoke from the same cracker object I’ve used before, as this object was already attached to the circle path that was easy.

For adding smoke to the wall when collapsing, I used Particle Flow in 3ds max to attach particles to the stucco fragments but only along the borders, I set around 1500 particles for this, then I set those particles as source in Fume.

Dust is heavier than the air so it must fall eventually to the ground, I played with gravity and buoyancy values until getting the desired look for smoke.

addingdust2

For rendering dust, I used Arnold because FumeFx  doesn’t support Octane, however at first I wasnt able to render fume with Arnold neither,  finally I had to convert the smoke to openVDB format and use an aiVolume with aiStandardVolume shaders with it, after that everything was pretty automatic except I had to set some parts of the robot that were in front of the smoke as matte shadow objects to render it correctly.

Dust was rendered in a separate pass and composed later in Fusion in this way it gives you a second chance to modify color and brightness to improve the look of the smoke.

Conclusions

conclusions

It was a nice experience working with Pulldownit plugin, in this shot there were different stages for destruction, first the stucco crack, then the hole in the middle and finally the robot passing through the wall, maybe the most surprising to me was PDI can make all of this effects using the same set in one run, without having to resort to more complex setup like preparing and hiding partially destroyed models and replace them at some moment. PDi was pretty reactive allowing me to get the results in seconds, modify parameters and compute again, that was great.

Adding dust to fragments with pFlow and Fume FX was also quite easy and fast computing.

Thank you Andres for sharing your experience in our blog!

 

War Reign Cinematics by Lee Soo In

Lee Soo In, FX artist at  Penxel, has uploaded several great cinematics and breakdown for the game War Reign using extensively Pulldownit plugin for destruction effects.

Lee Soo some words about his experience with Pulldownit plugin:

I’ve been using a lot of fragments tools. Among all the advantages of the PDI plugin,
the credibility of the results is very high and during the simulations access to objects is very easy.

Since we’ve done a lot of work with PDI, we’ve been able to do it very
conveniently.

“Bake simulation” is a good feature. Because I can change the timing and
speed freely , many times It is convenient to perform detailed tasks with keyframe modifications.

below another great War Reign cinematics with some PDi destruction effects, and lots of smoke using Fume FX and Krakatoa,

Thank you for showing those great  videos  and your testimonial Lee.

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!

 

 

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.

Chang Metamorphosis by Artem Paramonov

Artem Paramonov show us this great breakdown he made for a Chang beer commercial, Pulldownit was used for shattering the bottle,  Artem kindly explain several technical details below.

 

My name is Artem Paramonov, I’m senior 3D creative. This project was done for Iris Sydney, we’ve got a brief from the client to create a stunning animation of a bottle being shattered. The most difficult part of it was of course the simulation itself, and this is where PulldownIt did what it does best – simplified everything.

The tricky part was to make shattering simulation controllable, to start in specific areas and follow up with a general explosion. We also wanted to do it in a bullet time manner to make it look a bit more dramatic. So we, basically, had 2 waves of explosion – first to break apart everything and second to blow all pieces off the screen.

compo1

It was really great being able to define how bottle will be shattered, where the big chunks will form and where we will get the small pieces. Now, slowing down the existing animation and then speeding it up could be generally quite tricky, so once I was happy with simulation results I baked everything into a keyframes and after that into a geometry cache – this gave me a flexibility to re-time it the way I wanted to. Shockwave effects were created later on in After Effects with a standard effect called CC Ripple Pulse. After rendering primary simulation I also rendered a still 2k image, to use different pieces for 2D particles and “dust”. Finally assembling everything in After Effects.

compo2b

Overall experience with Pulldownit is just so sleek – that I was even a bit overwhelmed when I got my results that fast. I could play with it for weeks – it is very enjoyable to use it. It is stable, predictable and it just Works!

Breaking Letters Demos by Esteban Cuesta

These are the  breaking letters demos Esteban Cuesta made  as a final example of his tutorials on shattering text with Pulldownit plugin, you can find this tutorial a couple of articles below. Esteban Cuesta kindly explains some details about the making steps.

 

 

I wanted to make a video as a final demostration of my breaking letters tutorials with Pulldownit 3.7, I designed demo #1 as a classic letters intro, quick and lively, the motion of each word is animated until it touch the word below, then I activate the fracture bodies so pieces of letters start to crumble and fall, I used a Wind field to stress the debris falling effect. The final destruction was as easy as animating the word “Pulldownit” so it pass through the whole text and set it is a kinematic rigid body but I switched to “Convex hull” Bounding Volume to speed up the testing, the dynamics looked good anyway so I used it for the final shot too.

Doing the first shot wasn’t difficult at all and pretty funny, this encouraged me to make a longer one. This time a decided to add a plate showing the different shatter styles of Pulldownit with letters, all styles except “Wood splinters” as I think this style doesn’t make sense for letters.

 

All sets are done in the same way, using the 3D Max text tool to generate each word and making the endings fit each other simply by adjusting text size and kerning, and then collapsing all the words in a single poly object. At this point I applied the intended shatter style and create a fracture body for all pieces. For the Radial style plate I used an animated sphere to trigger the destruction, I simply hid it when rendering the scene, for the Path style I used the great crackers objects of Pulldownit as triggers, the rest of plates uses a Wind field to trigger the destruction, animating its Strength in order to get a increasing amount of falling debris.

Rendering was done using Mental ray in 3D Max, applying a high reflectance material to the letters and a less polished glossy material with the same colour to the inner faces after breaking.

Pulldownit worked very well , I haven’t any issue aside tweaking the parameters to get the dynamic behavior I wanted, It was very intuitive and fast computing using it.