BBC Christmas Ident FX Look Dev

FX Look Development for a specific shot in the BBC Christmas ident involving falling clumpy snow. Using Houdini’s Grain Solver I delivered a proof of concept shot of the wet snow falling on a test object. The simulation was saved as an Alembic file and imported into 3ds Max where I set up the V-Ray shader for rendering realistic snow.

 

Here’s the whole ident with the falling snow shot at 16 seconds in:

BBC – Christmas – Sprout Boy from Factory Studios on Vimeo.

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Winter 2016 FX Reel

Here’s my latest FX Reel:

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The Seed and the Moon

I recently finished working on this short film made for the Umpqua Bank in the States.

Using GrowFX, X-Mesh, Forest Pack and V-Ray, I was responsible for the procedural plant growth FX Look Dev, and then a large number of shots in the final short film involving pant growth.

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Phone Camera and PhotoScan

I was interested to see how good the results would be to use my phone camera (Sony Z1) for Photogrammetry (with PhotoScan).

It turns out the results were pretty good! The final meshes are rough, and the textures are pixelated, but the results are usable in production.

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Flip Fluids: Mud and Water

This is a test to see how 2 liquids of different densities would interact. Each fluid also has separate viscosity settings.

To get this working I created a volume in sops, scattered points inside the volume, and then gave them custom point attributes to describe density, and viscosity. The water and mud were each assigned point groups, and then it was possible to separate them and assign the correct point attributes.

The mud has a varying viscosity from 100 to 1000,000 which creates the clumps within the mud. This is set in an attribute VOP in sops, and is driven by a random noise.

In dops the particles are fed into a Flip Object node, and the initial data input type is set to Particle Field to pick up the points created in sops. I also matched the particle separation value in the Flip Object node to the Points from Volume node used to created the points.

The liquids were meshed in Houdini and exported to Max using alembic.

The scene was rendered with Vray using a single dome light set to image based lighting with an HDR used for lighting and reflections.

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Houdini Flip Fluid Viscosity by age

Quick test to change the viscosity of a flip fluid by particle age.

A point attribute called birthframe is made in Sops so that each particle knows when it was born. Then in Dops a Popvop is used to read the birthframe attribute, and subtract it from the current frame of the sim which gives the particle’s age. This age is then passed to a fit range node which fits the value of 0 to 40, to 0 to 5000. This is the value written to the viscosity attribute on each frame.

Viscosity_popvop

This is what the flip section of dops looks like. The popvop is placed after the source volume for the flip fluid.

Viscosity_dops_network

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Houdini Flip Fluids in Max test

Krakatoa Particles playback in Max viewport

This is a first test of getting a Houdini Flip Fluids sim into Max for rendering in V-Ray.

I used the Krakatoa PRT Rop driver available from this site:

http://www.flipswitchingmonkey.com/2015/01/prt-export-from-houdini/

Which is pretty awesome. Drivers are available for Houdini 13 and 14. The version I tested was for 14.0335. The driver is easy to install, and is then available under a custom section of the Output drivers.

As well as baking out the particles to PRT files, the Rop driver can also write out the particle velocities, which are read by Frost back in Max. V-Ray is able to use the velocity data for in-camera montionblur.

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Thinking Particles Breakable Joint Tests

A series of tests varying the breakable velocity value for joints. The strength of the joints is also effected by a distance test to the center of the force that’s used to exploded the boxes. In some of the tests I add a random multiplier to add some variation to the effect.

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Nightclub Visuals

I worked on some nightclub visuals recently, which was a great change from my usual work. This was more a motion graphics type job, and involved a cloth like material streaming off a dancer as they performed traditional Chinese dancing.

I ended up simming about 8000 frames of particles, and then meshed the streams in Frost. Render times were pretty large, as the client required double HD. This is a small sample of the final result. I’ve changed the V-Ray shader in this version, as I wanted to try something else.

This is a render test at the double HD size, there are some Frost meshing issues with this test.

The particle count had to be increased to remove these holes in the mesh, but it was still a problem in the final render. This is partly down to the thin nature of the cloth like structures, as its not possible to increase the thickness of the mesh in Frost without changing the look of the streams. The only way to remove the holes is to massively increase the particle count.


Bluestone 42 Game Graphics

I was asked to provide the graphics for a video game in the TV show Bluestone 42. This is a quick breakdown showing the level building process I went through.

The brief was that I provide realistic current gen game graphics, so it was important for me to keep this in mind while building the level. I kept poly counts reasonably low, and used normal maps for extra detail. V-Ray was used to render the scenes, with cached GI. A game look for the shadows was achieved by using V-Ray shadow maps on a low setting

I delivered 17 shots for the show, based in 3 environments. The desert level shown above, a village level, and finally a recreation of the Bluestone 42 base.

I’ll upload some more videos showing my work on the show when I have a bit more time.

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