master destruction effects with gnomon
Wayne Hollingsworth from Gnomon explains how to set up robust simulations in Maya and Houdini for the ultimate in destruction effects
Set up robust simulations in Maya and Houdini
i n visual effects, keyframe animation and simulation are often done in separate software packages. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to create a simulation of a spaceship crashing through a wall in Maya and Houdini, using the kind of workflow you would encounter in a real-world production.
The geometry and the animation of the ship have already been created in Maya. We’re going to export the wall geometry to Houdini in Alembic format, break it into pieces using Voronoi shattering, then make the pieces fly apart under the impact of the ship using the Bullet rigid body dynamics solver.
To make sure the pieces don’t start to move too early, we’re going to freeze them in place, and use an activator – a simple cube synced to the motion of the ship – to unfreeze them as the ship reaches them. Once the simulation is complete, we’ll import the animated geometry back into Maya.
The walkthrough is based on a masterclass I gave at Gnomon – School of Visual Effects, Games and Animation in Los Angeles last year. You will need some experience with Houdini in order to follow it, and the process is too complicated to explain everything in detail here, but you can watch the full recording on Gnomon’s Livestream channel at http://bit.ly/ G no mon destruction master class. In the video, I also explore other topics such as adding some extra debris to the shot using Maya’s particle systems.
Gnomon holds masterclasses and speaker events like this most weeks, and they’re usually free to watch. If you want more training like this, it’s worth keeping an eye on the Events section of its website: https://www.gnomon. edu/community/events.