Rebelway FX Challenge
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Rebelway FX Challenge

Mearg Taddese
by Mearg on 30 Dec 2020 for Rebelway FX Challenge

Rebelway FX Challenge I am taking part of, a lot of fun to play with and experience how real world FX production goes. I am using Houdini and Redshift. My FX inspiration has always been mainly MCU. My Environment reference is Men in black : International . This way, I get to have fun with Destruction and Magic!

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Update - 15 Jan 2021


I started to work on the debris source and sim. this is the first iteration and test I get. The base destruction was heavy to use  so I did isolate the side surfaces from each active pieces that move around (had velocity greater than 0) then save those to disk and started working from that.

I didn't use the good old debris source node, it was not acting as I expected it so go manual on the debris sourcing. I have more iterations to do, with the weight and density and overall motion, but here is my first test I had.

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Update - 10 Jan 2021

Ground Destruction final RNDs

I kept doing different RND, here are 8 that made it to flipbooking. one issue was the layers, having 5 of them and doing fairly dense fracture, was making it slow to sim and I finally reduce them to the top 3 layers. 

A simple glue constraint and after breaking changing it to Soft, kept it neat and fast to calculate, much predictable results. the first mess setup was hard to predict and so slow.

Final Destruction choice 

the version 8 seems to be better result and it has only the top 3 layers, debris and dust will obviously cover most of it, but I think I will stick to this one and maybe.... the anticipation part might be updated, incase. 

Update - 2 Jan 2021

Ground interaction update

After playing around with constraint, I found out that simple glue and bullet soft constraint are enough for the kind of destruction I wanted. I had hard constraint before but it was a bit slower and harder that the soft constraint. so glue and Soft constraints for now.

one challenge I faced, some pieces get inside the collider and behave weird and affect to their neighbor pieces.

There is one thing I like to add, having layered destruction for the asphalt concrete layer. so if one fracture got up and fall to the ground, it's edge crack. that would sell the FX. will see how I come up with that.

Update - 1 Jan 2021

Ground interaction

Here is a flipbook video to test RBD for a collision object moving from side to side and coming out of the ground.

I did some study about Asphalt and it's layer types and measurements. I took those data and applied in Houdini, this time with RBD only. 

Asphalt Concrete (AC)

One of the key point to get when starting of was the top layer for the asphalt. it has that rectangular like pattern when it cracks, with disturbed edge out line. and little fracture around the edges. I tried t get that first. this first approach seem to work fine for now. if I come up with better option, I will update it.

The remaining layers, I did with varying voronoi fracture sizes for now. i will have to try how grains would fit here(this might make the FX more interesting). The debris and pyro is for next step.

A sim without constraints looked fake, glue constraint only got the look better, hard constraints helped too to add some variation for the voronoi fractures. I tried other constraints too and/or layers multiple glue and hard constraint, but it made it slow and complicated. I still have to do more RND about constraints, i don't get them always, a bit tricky for me.

Issues to solve

Proper constraints - I have to build constraints for each type of material to match with my references.

Flickering fracture - This happens all the time and i have to find a way to solve this

Update - 30 Dec 2020

Environment update - video

I rendered the whole sequence to see if it is fitting all camera movements, I preferred rendered than flipbook to make it a little presentable

Update - 29 Dec 2020

Environment Update

The environment I wanted to go with is inspired by Men in black International. i found out that there is a dedicated website that lists the actual locations were films are shot.

I am not sure is sharing screenshot from the movie is allowed. But, The battling the hive twins scene was shot in Ludgate Hill, London EC4. I download OSM data of that location and get basic box blocks. That helped me to start with and tweak/edit the setup of the buildings, to fit in the locked camera shots and the character poses. This is direct set imported and I didn't like how the hero frames are.

so, I did some adjustments to make the effects shine and make better composition considering the camera and character animation.

For the buildings, I used megascan assets and build 4 building variation to start with. But I will model/refine my own, to make it easier for render time, and destruction ready.

Update - 16 Dec 2020

WIP 1 Render

Here is compiled video of my first WIP. It was a lot of fun, I will keep on designing the FX and refining.  I always wanted to work on destruction and magical effects, I haven't locked the environment, so I can't keep more on the destruction for now, but I have tried on the shield and power effects part. Everything is in Houdini, I rendered with redshift for speed matter and have done rough comp in nuke. 

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Update - 15 Dec 2020

Rebelway FX Challenge Progress

Here are the first version FX elements I have been trying to make. I am trying RBD, lighting and sparks, procedural animations. These still images are collection of my progress I had in the last week.