Volcano and Dragon VFX

Volcano and Dragon VFX

Christian Miró Seguí
by christian3d on 18 May 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

Hello there! Welcome to my entry for Rookie Awards 2021, those are 2 projects made the last 2 months.

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Project made in 4 weeks as a ''Personal Project'' where I was free to choose the effects I wanted to make, so in this case I've got the reference of the volcano scene from ''Jurassic World 2''. This is by far the biggest project I have worked on individually, so I trust that you will enjoy it as much as I do

The entire project is made by me as a ''Personal Project'' for school. I have used it to start learning a more technical and professional workflow with intrinsic parameters of Heightfields, using those as the source of almost the entire environment. Also, I wanted to learn more about Pyro explosions and it has been a perfect project for all the aspects I craved to investigate and improve on.

The scene project contains: 15 separated Pyro simulations for the explosions, 7 different types of fogs and clouds to create this cloudy environmental effect, and more than 450.000 instanced trees.

The workflow I have built for the environment is as follows: import the Heighfield parameters to VOP and correctly set up the grayscale color on the mountain geometry to create the desired parameters, which I will need to use for shading and scattering. Also, every mountain has its own setup because they are all different. For example, the main mountain has lava while the others use this parameter as sediment.

Regarding the material network, I created a simple shader that will fit on the bottom of the instanced trees. Thus, having this setup would let me change the entire mountain and still get a good result of the 3 mountains -- I just have to keep in mind the parameters I chose to use on Heightfields.

The tree models are made with SpeedTree, I created 4 variations of trees and some vegetation.

In the end, I just used the trees because vegetation was very small and thus was creating too much flickering

In the compositing part there is almost no compo work. I tried to create the final plane in Houdini, where I just used compo for a final touch of color correcting, exponential glows for lava and not much more.


Project made in 3-4 weeks as a Crowds exercise, that was the first time we worked on crowds and heightfields and my idea was trying to mix this new knowledge and improve on Pyro, so finally I tried to match a mythical scene of ''Game of Thrones'' ...just because I love those dragons.

I've made the entire project but the dragon and its animations, the dragon was given by the school with inplace animations, I've just used some blendshapes and transforms to mix them and create this final animation.

The principal Pyro simulations are made in 3 different simulations to make it more ''tweekeable'', the first one that the dragon is emitting from its mouth and 2 other simulations that the first fire creates on the ground. The solution to this problem has been just creating an attribute transfer from the first simulation to the ground and then create the simulations from the transferred attributes just adding some variations, one of those for the ground fire and the other for the smoke.

To create ragdolls simulations I converted fire simulation to geometry and used intrinsic velocity, but just in the positive axis of Y and Z to create this ''flying crowds'' effect.

Terrain Heightfields were being created by Houdini and textured on Substance Painter, the tweak here is that I mapped the geometry with a procedural based parameters and exported the maps as a clamped RGB texture and used that on Substance to create the snow shader.

To composite I used Nuke, I created the parallax of the rainy and snowy effect, some blurs, the exponential glows, defocus...

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