As you could know, I’m teaching a course in FXPhD this semester – ‘Visual effects techniques with Max’. It’s goal is to get into the most awesome topic, and show how destruction effects are done in production – i.e. the fun stuff! 🙂 You can check it out over at FXPhD, and there’s the plan:

Modeling for dynamics
We’ll go through the needs and peculiarities of modeling for effects – which the FX artist needs to either do or supervise, to get the necessary assets.

Previz and layout
The power and importance of composing effects scenes in the previs and layout stage is one of the big lessons in FX. We’ll get into how rough sketches, simple animation and particle effects are used to plan a shot, laying its foundations and setting it on the right course.

We’ll go over the techniques used to fragment and prepare the assets for dynamics. The treatment of different types of materials like wood, concrete, glass, etc. Fitting the level of detail into the plan of the shot.

Rigid body dynamics and procedural fragmentation
Goes into setting up a solid and extensible structure for rigid body dynamics (RBD) in Thinking Particles. Then we take a look at procedural activation and fragmentation, how and when to use them.

Going further into what can be done with rigid bodies, we’ll look at different ways to create and destroy interconnected structures of rigid bodies.

Additional animation
Adding art-directed secondary animation to enrich the RBD simulations, and adding effects that are otherwise less practical to achieve.

Adding layers of secondary dynamics like chunks, debris, splinters, shrapnel and funny accidentals.

Making the existing RBD simulation interact with the environment, producing some more elements like sparks, dust, mounds of earth and secondary destruction.

Fire and smoke are essential in almost every shot. We’ll look at working both ways – from the solids to the fluids, and from the fluid to the solids, setting up and controlling FumeFX simulations.

Looks at the key points of managing the FX process, start to finish. A way to set up a good base for any FX element in the start, and assembling all the pieces of the puzzle together for rendering.


Will be some exciting times, I can promise 🙂 See you there!