The April term on FXPhD got announced today- check out the details here:​apr12-owe

My part in this will be MAX203 – 3DS Max Destruction Techniques: a breaking-ground shot, earthquake type – something you’d find in an apocalyptic scenario movie! More info after the break.

This course will introduce you to the rich intricacies of creating a feature film level effects shot, in the challenging scenario of earthquake style ground collapse. We’ll go all the way from planning and sharing experience through detailed multi level rigid body sims, volumetrics, debris secondaries, and to assembling and rendering everything that would make for happy. We’ll employ 3DS Max, Thinking Particles, Rayfire and FumeFX in a process shaped by experience and efficiency.

  1. Overview and planning – We start with an overview of the project, the goals of the course and the ideas behind it. Then we get to planning it – analyzing the project, laying out all the steps towards the end result and the thought process behind them.
  2. Main cut and animation – The second lesson deals with the primary cut of the big earth pieces and building a system to animate them in Thinking Particles. Good fragmentation practices, setting up useful animation controls and versioning the animation get covered.
  3. Secondary cut and animation – In lesson 3 we use the main animation we have prepared, and cut the pieces once more, to get detail on the edges. Then we look at implementing the second level simulation on top of the first level one, retaining the underlying motions and adding detail.
  4. Adding procedural fragmentation – Lesson 4 will deal with the third level simulation, where fragments are small enough so we can use procedural fragmentation with VolumeBreaker. We set up some useful rules on fragmentation and activation, introducing one more level of detail.
  5. High-res sim enhancement – With the base simulation done, in lesson 5 we’ll cover replacing the big pieces with separate sims – cutting and simulating each independently, to increase the detail and get a sense of scale.
  6. Dust clouds – At this point we shift from rigid bodies to volumetrics, starting up with dust clouds in lesson 6. We’ll use the prepared rigid body sim at the appropriate level and generate particle sources to feed into a FumeFX simulation of dust clouds rising up.
  7. Dust trails – Continuing with dust, lesson 7 shows how to add two types of dust trails on the falling rigid bodies. The strategical questions of arranging volumetrics are taken care of.
  8. Debris splashes – Lesson 8 goes into augmenting the rigid body simulation with simple particle debris. Again, we produce several elements, starting with splashes, and we’re compositing them so they play nicely with the rigid bodies and the volumetrics.
  9. Debris trails and postcache operations – A second type of debris element – a trail – is looked at in Lesson 9. After that, some special attention is directed towards the options offered by postcache operations.
  10. Assembly and rendering – The last lesson brings all the elements we’ve produced together for inspection and rendering. We’ll build up the necessary scene assemblies, and then set up the necessary render passes to be sent to compositing.