REVIEW: Pulldownit 4 for Maya 2018
Paul Champion takes the CG destruction tool out for a spin
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.
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