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.


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.


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.

Quake at St.Lawrence Church By Luis Tejeda

Luis Tejeda has posted a new video showing a cinematic action shot where a church tower collapses during an earthquake. The scene is a recreation of the real environment and setting of the San Lorenzo Church in Cordoba, Spain. Pulldownit 3.5 was used for all destruction effects.

See breakdown in the project page,

The Midas Effect by Niels Bosch

                                                                                                                                               Niels Bosch kindly explain us the main features of this endearing story made for his final project at Utrecht School of Arts, Pulldownit plugin was used extensively for all the scenery destruction effects.

The main goal for the look of the film was to make a believable feel of the clay material, everything had to look hand sculpted. In order to achieve that goal we turned to Zbrush for the sculpting part. For the clay structure we mostly used the standard brushes within Zbrush. These basic tools gave us such great freedom to make everything look as if it was hand sculpted.

The simulations were all done with Pulldownit. We wanted to create a “cute” explosion, it had to feel tiny, like it all happened inside of a cardboard box. In order to do this we didn’t use any dynamic fields to make the pieces fly apart, instead we gave every piece a slight angular acceleration to give it a springy effect. We used particles to simulate smaller pieces, the emitter was connected to the inner material of the shattered pieces. These particles were driven by several expressions which influenced its motion parameters like angular velocity, to give them a dynamic feel.

What I liked most about Pulldownit was the straight-forward usability, everything
from shattering the object to baking the simulation was very clear and easy to use.
The dynamics properties were easy and fast compared to other dynamic engines, and
the different bounding volumes came in very handy while doing larger simulations.

The main render engine we used was V-ray. The three of us had worked with V-ray on several projects so it was our first choice. The shading of the clay world was just a simple V-ray shader, nothing too fancy because the clay look was achieved by sculpting and then applying the displacement maps on the low poly mesh. We knew the render times would be substantial because we used a lot of displacement maps. So in order to lower the render times we decided to use no reflection on our clay shader and we used the world position pass and the normal pass to do some relighting in Nuke in order to fake the reflection.

The shading of the character was a bit more advanced. It contains the clay shader but on top of that the facial expressions and the gold parts were done with displacement maps and animated masks which connect to the controls of set driven keys. The disadvantage for using displacement maps for facial expressions is that the animator cannot see his actions in the viewport, so animating would be a pretty clumsy and very time consuming task.

To avoid this we came up with a solution to use the switch material within V-ray. This allowed us to make a preview material for the animator to see his actions, and switch between different clay/gold shaders for final rendering all connected with set driven keys to the face GUI.

About the authors:

Niels Bosh

Jonathan Krijgsman

Almar Sloot

UFO attacks “Puerta de Alcalá” by Roberto Martin

dont worry Madrileños, Puerta de Alcala is still there:), Roberto kindly explains how he did this shot using Pulldownit plugin and Maya fluids.

Why did you decide to make an UFO attacking in Madrid?

Some time ago I did a previous test with Pulldownit and Maya fluids, just to try this plugin, to my surprise it wasn’t difficult to make my model blow apart very nicely, that encouraged me to make a complete shot in a more realistic way in my spare time. I currently live in Madrid, so I decided to make an UFO attacking the “Puerta de Alcala” because it is an emblematic monument in this city, like blockbuster movies in which UFOS always destroy monuments.

How did you model the “Puerta de Alcalá”?

I built a new model of the “Puerta de Alcala” trying to make it as realistic as possible, for this I went to the place for several weekends and I took lots of pictures of the monument, I used a front picture of the building as an image plane to build the overall proportions of the structure, from there I started adding details little by little. I modeled the main structure as a single shape, but for statues and other ornaments I did them apart not to complicate the base model too much and besides, it allows me to handle shapes independently if needed , always making sure there weren’t holes in the models or duplicated edges as Pulldownit needs this to shatter objects correctly.

How did you model the environment, buildings and trees?

I took several pictures of the environment, specially the trees, I found out the exact type of tree in this area of Madrid and luckily find a similar model on the web, I had just to apply a photo shader for the trunks and replace the leaves for the correct ones. I modeled by myself other elements like the bus stop, the cigarette kiosk and the landmark with the city map because I wanted to approach the real environment as much as posible.

How did you model and animate the UF0?

Modelling the UFO wasn’t difficult but involved quite a lot of time because I wanted it to be different to any other UFO seen in films or games , in order to animate the rotations of the different rings, first I did was a little hierarchy of groups and then wrote an expression with randomness in the 3 axis to avoid too regular rotations of the rings.

How did you shatter the building?

It was very easy, just selecting the shapes and let Pulldownit shatter them, only I had to shatter the main building and the ornaments in different stages to get the look I wanted for each kind of shape. I did several shatter tests before getting the look I wanted so I had also to clean the scene for unused geometry before moving to dynamics.How did you simulate the destruction of the building with Pulldownit?

I created fracture bodies for every group of fragments and started simulating everything together but the result was too chaotic, there were thousands pieces in motion which make difficult to handle them and drive the simulation so I decided to remove everything but the main structure to focus in the way it explodes and adding the destruction of the ornaments in a second stage. I used a volume axis field to make the main building exploding inside out. Once I was happy with its dynamics I cached it and start making the statues exploding aswell, as before I assigned a volume axis for each statue and animating the volume I make them exploding actually one second before the main building breaks apart, because I wanted the statues destruction being like the prelude of the big explosion.

How did you add smoke trails to flying fragments?

I did the smoke trails using Maya fluids, to emit from the internal faces only first I did was separating those faces from the rest, that wasn’t difficult as PDi applies a different material to these faces. Then I combined all those internal faces in one single shape, thanks to history the animation was preservedJ, after that I was able to emit particles from this single shape in the usual Maya way, and making a goal of value 1.0 to these particles, they remained stuck on the faces, by limiting the emission of particles to match the number of vertices of the shape I got one particle per vertex. After that I created a fluid container and set the particles to be the emitters of fluid; in this way I was able to add an expression to drive fluid emission based on particles velocity, sadly this expression prevented from cache the particles but the method was good enough to get it done.

How did you render smoke trails?

I used Maya software to render the fluids, it get along very well with fluids, for example it respects the fluid volume perfectly. I had to apply a surface black shader to every object in scene for not seeing them in the alpha channel and compose fluids render with the rest later in After Effects.

How did you added green lightnings from the UFO and image distortion?

I did green lightnings using a tool of After Effects, you have just to set the source of the ray and the target position, aside other parameters like its color. You have to animate the ray by hand , but once done, simply by cloning it and modifying the source and target you can get as many rays as you want in a blink. I applied also an effect of distortion when the building explodes to get the feeling of an expansive wave. For doing it I used a mix of 2 alpha masks with a distortion filter.

Conclusions about the most relevant matters of the shot

I think one important thing when destroying large models is the feeling of scale, so a monument doesn’t look like a kid’s toy when falling and breaking. Pulldownit makes very easy to change gravity and masses to get the correct feeling of scale. This plugin is very stable and easy to use, each new version improves in workflow and features that’s great, it is perfectly integrated with the Maya workflow, specially for particles and fluids. I like also the fast computation of fracture so you can make little changes and see the result quickly in the viewport.

thank you Roberto, looking forward to your next shot


James Little member of FX team of POLIS film has confirmed Pulldownit plugin was used for the destruction of the combat bot , POLIS teaser is a Vimeo “Staff Pick” and has won several awards,

James kindly explains several details about how this effect was done

Using PDI allowed me to quickly visualize the shot and iterate in a timely manner .  It’s speed and accuracy with collisions is a very powerful feature in pulldownit.

I actually did the simulation in three stages to get the look and feel I
wanted.  I used PDI’s awesome rbd engine to sim the major armor panels on
the robot as straight rbd’s with no fracturing, as metal isn’t so brittle
that it would shatter at room temperature.
After I got a motion I liked I baked out the geo.  I then selected a bunch
of key pieces inside the droids innards that would create interesting and
unique silhouettes when they are ripped out of the body cavity and set them
up as rbd objects.
I then used the earlier baked sim to be passive colliders to drive the new
PDI sim.  I wanted a richer feel to the effect so you see shapes more like
nut’s bolts, and wires  coming from his insides.
After that step was done, I cached out that sim as well and used the
resulting cached geo as a passive collider yet again to actually fracture
random pieces inside so you get irregular shapes filling up the explosion
cavity and adding overall materia/mass to the effect.

This workflow is very friendly for getting the exact look you want, as you
can preserve the parts of the sim you like and then focus on a single
aspect of the effect at a time to get the desired end result.  It’s also
much easier to sim when only one layer is calculating at a time.

After the PDI sims were done and cached, I emitted instanced nParticles to
make up the extremely fine particulate material that would not be suitable
for an rbd sim.  I then used the nParticles to emit Maya fluids to create
the dust cloud.

I really enjoyed doing this shot and using PDI really made the task much
easier and manageable.

The Full POLIS teaser

Deadfall Adventures Cinematic by Televisor uses Pulldownit

Televisor studio and ColorTV created this thrilling intro for Deadfall Adventures, game by Nordic Games, official launch. They confirmed Pulldownit plugin was used in the jungle plane scene:

One of the most spectacular scenes is the plane flying towards the camera. The number of elements we had to generate for this scene was overwhelming. You can see the amount of work that had to be put into this scene on the “making of” material. We used the Pulldownit plug-in to crash the trees, which saved us a lot of time and workload.

making of video:

You can read the full case study here: