ZO-0 - Four months of 3d pyrotechnics study

in #art5 years ago

Render time: 192 hours or 8 days on 8 hyperthreaded cores at 2.4Ghz


The Project

A while back I was busy with this little project I called SimpleBiped. The goal for me was to learn pyrotechnics in 3d. Yes I do mean fire, explosions and smoke. In the visual effects industry this is know as FX (effects). So I am a FX artist. Blowing up stuff, breaking stuff down into pieces, simulating water and particles is what I do.
I started this project back in July and took me 4 months to create. Finished in October I learned so much inside of Houdini (the software that I use). The program really is for power users and I see it as the alpha and omega inside of FX.
Before starting this project, I modeled the orb that you see in the video and wanted to use that in a later project. If you play Blizzards latest game Overwatch, you might recognize where it is from.

The biped is missing!


I had to remove this guy from the scene. The problem with designing along the way is that the final image can be different that what you begin with. When I came closer and closer to the end result I started to have two focus points within my scene, the orb and the red robot (simplebiped). In videos having 2 objects to focus on is not pleasant for the viewer. Thus I had to remove the biped.

For the 3d techies

Everything in the scene is done in Houdini except for compositing. The landscape shader is procedural, the pattern that goes through the sand is just a bump. The pattern in the sand is dependent on slope and becomes less visible on a steep slope.
Rocks on the landscape are basically 4 models varying in size and rotation scattered over the landscape. Quite an easy trick to accomplish and especially efficient for Mantra. If you can achieve variation by just rotating and random placement... Do it because in Mantra instancing is so extremely efficient it is scary.


Full composit of the scene

There is 1 pyro simulation for the dust behind the orb. This is the thick cloud of dust / sand the orb leaves behind. There is 1 particle simulation for the sand spitting upwards from the orb and another particle simulation for the sand left behind in the trail. Layering FX is key for a nice result!
Once the orb catches fire there is 1 pyro simulation for that and another one for the explosion. The fire pyro simulation wasn't that heavy and was done within a couple of hours. The explosion simulation was heavy, taking about 24 hours to simulate. There is one more pyro sim for the environment dust, this one was quite a low resolution and done within 1 hour.
The orb rolling though the sand required me to deform the landscape geometry as well. This was done trough a SOP solver. Finding the nearest point from the orb and the landscape, calculating the distance between them and displacing it along it's normal.

My October 2016 Showreel

In the end I am quite happy with the result and could include this into my October showreel. I have had a lot of iterations going through this video and most of it was getting the pyro simulations right. In the end I have done a ton of self study and searched for resources on improving a pyro sim. I could go way deeper into how this all was created but I think that would be just as boring as reading code for a non-coder. Either way, the output will always be a creative process with a technical background which is why I love FX.



Creative Commons License

All videos and images in this article are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


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Awesome renders! I've tried to learn 3d stuff before but never got far. Looking out for more of your posts :)

Thanks man! Although I think the 3d work will become a bit less. I have been doing primarily personal work and I am about to enter the actual industry. Most of the times there are non disclosure agreements involved which will not let me upload my latest work. Although tests, research and development videos might still make it to this blog.

Awesome! I have to persuade my partners to use these for our collective renders in the future @hitheryon

Is @voronoi also one of your team members? I enjoy his / your art so much! Can you tell me more about your collective renders? I am curious!

Nice work. Pyro is still hard in computers with out a lot of good post. What do you use to composite? I still find it helps to mix in some practicals.

Thanks man, I use Nuke to composite all my shots.

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