RE­VIEW: Pull­downit 4 for Maya 2018

Paul Cham­pion takes the CG de­struc­tion tool out for a spin

3D Artist - - CONTENTS -

for the unini­ti­ated, Pull­downit is a cross­plat­form plugin with a dy­nam­ics solver that’s de­signed for the pro­duc­tion of frac­tures and mas­sive rigid body sim­u­la­tions. Chances are you’ve al­ready seen it in ac­tion, as it has brought de­struc­tion to sev­eral main­stream fea­ture films and videogames, in­clud­ing John Carter, Harry Pot­ter, Epic Games’ Gears Of War and naughty dog’s Un­charted 4.

af­ter in­stal­la­tion, you’ll want to ei­ther load or create a model to de­stroy. Be­fore do­ing that, it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber to check your model for is­sues and clean up bad geom­e­try to avoid any risk of in­sta­bil­ity and crashes. once done, you’ll be ready to let your in­ner Hulk loose. this re­view uses the Maya 2018 edi­tion, which has some mi­nor user in­ter­face lay­out changes and re­freshed icons that won’t take ex­pe­ri­enced users long to adapt to.

the new ac­quire Shat­ter Style fa­cil­i­tates easy trans­fer of shat­ter pat­terns from low-poly to high-poly mod­els. op­tion­ally, if the sim­u­la­tion is baked, the an­i­ma­tion keys can also be trans­ferred be­tween meshes. re­sults tend to vary de­pend­ing on the ex­tent topolo­gies dif­fer, but trans­fer­ring to a smoothed du­pli­cate cre­ated an iden­ti­cal shat­ter pat­tern and baked keys as ex­pected. for any left­over missed frag­ments, ad­di­tional dy­nam­ics can then be cal­cu­lated.

Break­ing a mesh us­ing any source geom­e­try is now pos­si­ble via the use Vol­ume Shape op­tion. this pow­er­ful fea­ture has many po­ten­tial uses, such as sim­u­lat­ing a foot­ball smash­ing through a win­dow or per­haps re-cre­at­ing the old levi’s ‘odyssey’ ad­vert for a frac­tion of the mul­ti­mil­lion pound bud­get. it’s also ex­tremely easy to set up: with the fea­ture en­abled, sim­ply po­si­tion the ob­ject that will col­lide so that it in­ter­sects the geom­e­try you want to shat­ter, set it as source and then shat­ter.

updates to the Jag­gi­ness de­former in­clude the sep­a­ra­tion of jag­gi­ness be­ing con­strained to an ob­ject’s tes­sel­la­tion. By mak­ing it in­de­pen­dent, the prob­lem that used to oc­cur in pre­vi­ous re­leases of arte­facts ap­pear­ing on bor­ders is re­moved. the toolset also comes with a Soften Edges slider based on a min­i­mum an­gle set­ting, which is used to tweak in­ner edges. Plus, there’s also a new op­tion to ap­ply jag­gi­ness to bro­ken frag­ments only, but cur­rently jag­gi­ness is a fea­ture that works ex­clu­sively with Pdi frag­ments, so you can­not ap­ply it to a gen­eral shape. the im­ple­men­ta­tion of jag­gi­ness gives an ex­tra level of re­al­ism to a sim­u­la­tion, and once ap­plied it’s a breeze to mod­ify and up­date the set­tings to hone in on ex­actly the look you’re af­ter, re­gard­less of the com­plex­ity of the mesh. Good re­sults can also be achieved with gen­er­ally more chal­leng­ing shell ob­jects that are thin.

for bak­ing Pdi sim­u­la­tions, a new op­tion to Bake Se­lected ob­jects has been added. this en­ables bak­ing keyframes for cho­sen frac­ture bod­ies that can then still in­ter­act with other frag­ments when they are set as kine­matic bod­ies to pro­vide ad­di­tional con­trol with sim­u­la­tions. along­side the new tools un­der the hood, op­ti­mi­sa­tions to re­duce pro­duc­tion time have also been added. think­i­netic has bench­marked a 30 per cent speed in­crease with Pdi’s frac­tures solver when work­ing in dy­nam­ics, and 50 per cent less mem­ory is re­quired for sim­u­la­tion cach­ing in the view­port. while this is dif­fi­cult to con­firm as an end user, there is a no­tice­able gain over the pre­vi­ous re­lease. other en­hance­ments in­clude full Maya View­port 2.0 sup­port and more re­spon­sive se­lec­tion of frag­ments in ad­vanced frac­tures.

Paul Cham­pion

li­censed MAIN Ver­sion the plugin 4 is a 12 free months up­grade ago and to those those who who have li­censed be­tween 12 and 24 months ago can get a 30% dis­count BOT­TOM LEFT The Ac­quire Shat­ter Style re­quires both the source ob­ject and tar­get ob­ject to have match­ing lo­cal pivot po­si­tions to cal­cu­late the trans­fer of a shat­ter pat­tern and an­i­ma­tion keys BOT­TOM MID­DLE If a mesh is con­structed from dif­fer­ent parts such as three spheres com­bined, en­abling De­tect Sub-meshes be­fore shat­ter­ing helps to pre­vent un­wanted arte­facts from ap­pear­ing

BOT­TOM RIGHT Shell mod­els tend to be more dif­fi­cult to shat­ter and add jag­gi­ness to. Choos­ing an Am­pli­tude value lower than 1.0 will help to pre­vent the cre­ation of bor­ders that ap­pear overly sharp

BELOW It’s now pos­si­ble to di­rect a shape-based shat­ter with the Use Vol­ume Shape set­ting. This tool is ideal for when you need to sim­u­late a tank crash­ing through a wall or build­ing

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