Pulldownit 4.5 for Maya released!

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Our focus in this new update of Pulldownit plugin for Maya is making  user experience smoother and more responsive for FX artists and freelancers, we realize Maya is broadly used for animation so we have gone deep into the solver code and got a much faster update per frame of deforming meshes, so now there is almost no performance penalty for character skins or nCloth shapes included in PDI dynamics as kinematic objects.

Besides as any realistic destruction effect needs dust around we are glad to introduce a new tool “Attach particles to fragments”, by using this little utility you can stick Maya nParticles to faces per material and therefore emit easily fluids or additional debris from inner faces only, removing the need to go to another DCC tool to paint a white and black map as guide for emission, of course you can still use this classic workflow in Maya, this new tool is just an alternative a fast way to emit from selected faces only, actually this tool can be used for any task you need to attach particles to faces in Maya aside PDI itself.

Esteban Cuesta has done this great tutorial showing some of the enhancements inside Pulldownit 4.5 and featuring how to emit dust from fragments using this new PDI tool along with Maya fluids.

 

Also several fracture parameters can now be animated if you need to, and we have added a new event to switch cracks propagation mode at desired frame, so you can make your model getting damaged locally for some time and then destroy it completely at specific frame just by enabling this event.

And there are more enhancements regarding usability, a new tool for easier fragments selection when creating clusters from small shards, 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.

Below listed the most relevant highlights in Pulldownit 4.5

 NEW FEATURES                                                                                    

New Tool for adding particles to faces per material, this little utility spread Maya nParticles over faces per material, so you can later emit easily extra debris, dust or smoke only from chosen faces.

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Hi-poly animated meshes 3x 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 in destruction scenes.

New “increase Selection” option for easier clusters creation, selecting groups of small fragments is much easier now using this new tool which select neighboring 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.

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Fracture body Friction, Bounciness, Sec cracks and Damping parameters can be animated, get more artistic control over your fracture simulation by animating these parameters if needed.

Rigid body Friction, Bounciness, and Mass parameters can be animated, get more artisitic control over your rigid bodies simulations by animating these parameters if needed.

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 break it completely.

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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

Adquire Shatter can transfer animation from single shape node to multi shape nodes, transferring fragments animation to nodes with multiple combined shapes is now supported by Shatterit tool.

Read the full list of fixes in the Pulldownit web site version logs

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Pulldownit 4 for Maya released!

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Pulldownit 4 for Maya has been released and comes with several new powerful features you can see explained in the video.

But this release is not only about new features, the whole plugin has been updated and tuned for better performance and usability, there is now one single window gathering all fracture tools and one single window for all rigid bodies stuff, alleviating the burden of many open windows in previous version, new seams view in Shatterit mode and improved performance of fragments selection in advanced fractures, besides fracture solver is around 30% faster and much less memory is needed to cache simulations, and many other little things you surely will notice when using the tool, all of this makes this new release more responsive and with faster iterations when working in Maya.

Below listed the most relevant highlights in Pulldownit 4.

Shatter New Features 

New Adquire Shatter style, new style to transfer a current shatter pattern to another object including animation keys, by using it you can apply the current shatter effect to a version of the model with different shaders applied or to a hi-poly version of the same model.

New Shatter option for using a volume shape as source, now you can use any polygonal shape to constraint the shatter effect to its volume, this is especially useful when shattering based on an impact object.

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Jagginess( v2.0) independent of tessellation.  New Jaggy method  is independent of the original mesh tessellation, getting much lighter jaggy fragments when the object is hi-poly, and removing the artifacts caused in borders of high tessellated models

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New soften edges UI parameter for Jagginess. New parameter to adjust soften of jaggy edges to get the amount of roughness desired in inner faces. In addition new soften method removes visible seems on inner borders from previous method.

New option to apply jaggines to broken fragments only,  using this option for non-moving fragments you can apply jagginess only to the areas which has been broken in simulation, getting much lighter meshes for rendering or real time games.

Dynamics New Features 

Speed up Fractures solver 30%, PDI dynamic solver has been very fast since its first version, in this latest release you will experiment faster iterations when working in dynamics.

50% less memory needed for caching simulations. PDI cache is now 50% lighter in CPU memory , that makes massive cached simulations running faster in viewport.

New ability to pull apart pieces of an animated object at desired frame, besides activating rigid bodies at first hit you can now set the frame when they become active, this works also for rigid bodies linked to an animated one.

Added a bake selected option, you can now bake keys only for selected fracture bodies, letting the rest to continue being driven by simulation, baked fractures can still interact with other objects by setting the animated fragments as kinematic bodies.

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Improved performance of fragments selection in advanced fractures, selection of individual fragments in viewport is more responsive, especially when Stresses View is enabled.

Cluster break energy is now independent of body mass/scale, break energy dependence on body mass made cumbersome to understand its behaviour as the same threshold will trigger a blast or not depending on the size of the object, because of this we have removed this dependency and the threshold you set will be valid forever independently of mass or scale.

First hit bodies which eventually doesn’t move are excluded from caching and baking, fracture bodies set as “break upon impact” only caches its broken or moving parts and fragments set as static aren’t cached at all , making in this way the size of PDI files smaller specially when you are collapsing only parts of large structures such as buildings.

Read the full list of fixes in the Pulldownit web site version logs

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,

http://www.luistejedastudio.com/news

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

https://vimeo.com/nielsbosch

Jonathan Krijgsman

https://vimeo.com/jonathankrijgsman

Almar Sloot

https://vimeo.com/almarsloot

Pulldownit nominated for the CG Awards 2015

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Proud to say Pulldownit plugin has been nominated for the CG Awards 2015 in the “best plugin” category.

Each year the  CG awards by 3D World magazine, rewards the  finest art and best tools for animation and VFX.

https://thecgawards.com

You can participate with your vote to choose the winner of each category, If you like Pulldownit plugin, you can support it and vote for it here:

https://thecgawards.com/vote/plug-in/pulldownit-3/

good luck to all the nominees!