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Battle of Crait - By Roberto Denches

Battle of Crait - By Roberto Denches

Roberto Carlos Denches Zazo
by RobertoDenches on 13 May 2022 for Rookie Awards 2022

It is based on a scene from the end of the 8th Star Wars movie where, fighting on a planet of red salt, the destruction effects generated red elements that dyed the entire scene.

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This is the most ambitious project I have done to date. It's the culmination of what I have been learning these months with Houdini and I have tried to apply all the knowledge that I have been acquiring to it.

I found this scene very attractive when I saw it and decided to recreate it with Houdini focusing on the part of the red dust explosions and the red trail left by the ship in its path when it breaks the ground.


The “Pyro Source” of the floor was created using a “pop emitter” that took as an emission the collision of the lower part of the ship and the floor.

An interesting part to point out is the solver that I use to be able to create a gradient when transferring the attribute between the ship and the ground. What was very important to give the simulation much more smoothness.

One of the problems I faced was that the ship was moving at high speed, so I required a lot of substeps to fill in intermediate keys. A very important aspect of smoke is the use of very high diffusion temperature to allow the smoke to be released faster, which is essential to recreate such a fast smoke as the one in the movie.

The RBD fracture of the floor was created using a part of the scene floor as a voronoi fracture. This part has its corresponding constraints which allows you to control which part will break and be able to break only the part with which the ship collides.

In order to break the ground as I wanted, I had to fake it using a ball as an excavator that broke the ground as it passed, pretending to be the lower fin of the ship.

~ Smoke Explosion & Explosion RBD Simulation ~ 

The Explosions of the sequence was created using various “pyro trail path” that create a trail of pops (“pyro trail source”) with which we will create the foundations of the explosion. Also a shockwave was created in order to add more realism to the scene.

In order to break the ground as I wanted, I had to fake pushing up a ball to break the ground in a more brutal way.


A recreation of the renowned city of Star Wars: "Tattoine". The whole building and city behind was made procedurally using Houdini. Also Houdini was used to create the mountains (with heighfields) and the rock scattered on the floor.


All the compo of the proyect was made with Nuke, It was essential to mist the background and give it that foggy vibe. I also made the composition of the lights of the ship's engine (adding an idistort that gives it the heat wave atmosphere).

It was also essential to bring me the "houdini cryptomate" and "depth" passes to be able to mask both colors and blur layers. Finally I decided to opt for a slightly saturated color to give prominence to the reds of the smoke effects and render with a paronamic format.


This is the outcome of my last 2 months of work. I hope you've enjoyed the sequence and learned some of the work behind some mythical movie scenes. I have learned a lot in this process and I hope to continue learning for much longer.

Until next time!

Roberto Denches.

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