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.

 

 

 

Pulldownit for 3d Max 2019

Pulldownit , the destruction plugin, is already available for 3d Max 2019, this update includes also a number of bug fixes you can read in the Pulldownit version logs pages,

Visit Pulldownit version logs

The major additions to 3d Max 2019 are support and editing tools for OSL shaders, a new procedural wood material and booleans operation fro splines similar to those for 3D shapes, this may look like not enough to justify a major version but the new policy of Autodesk is to include new features regularly in software updates, they dit it in Max 2018 with paramount additions like  Max fluids , VR support, new spline tools and important Arnold render updates, so there will be probably interesting features to come in futher updates of Max 2019.

Booleans operation for splines is an useful addition as it is faster and safer to modify a spline with booleans and then extrude it than applying booleans directly to 3d shapes which many times fails to do it correctly.

The new procedural wood material is nice, has quite a lot of controls to adjust the wooden look, like colour, roughness, number of wood rings and shape of the ribbon stripes, but I miss controls to add grime and scratches, just my suggestion for future updates, currently you can get a nice polished wooden look but not an old spoil wood material.

OSL shaders are also worth to check, they are well integrated in the Slate materials editor and the possibilities to create procedural shaders are endless.

Important to mention OSL shaders and procedural wood material are supported by Arnold render and also by Pulldownit plugin so you can shatter objects with these procedural shaders applied perfectly.

Changsoo Eun, 3d artist, has written an interesting overview of OSL shaders in 3d Max 2019 you can read here,

read Changsoo OSL shaders review

And In this video, Zap Andersson from the 3ds Max rendering team explains clearly how to use the new Advanced Wood material.

 

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.