About My Blog

This blog will follow the creation of my Visual Effects work and eventually my Visual Effects Show-Reel.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Doughnut- Hybrido Viscosity RnD- RealFlow 2014

I worked on this Fun RnD Project on my Days off from working on my FX work for a upcoming Game Cinematic.
The Doughnut man was modelled very quickly in Max, you can see I had some issues with the smoothing on the render due to the Rigid Bodies not exporting back properly to Max.
To Emit the Initial Icing on the Doughnut Man, I copied the doughnut base and then copied it and scaled it down and used an FFD to morph it around the Doughnut man base, then this was also exported to RealFlow to use as the Fluid Emitter.
The "Melting" Effect was achieved by using the Rigid Bodies of the eyes linked to a bounded gravity node, however the HYDomain with the Icing in was in its own network using a Bounded Noise Field, 3 Attractors pulling it in different directions and also Bounded Gravity. Also Used a Drag Force to slow down the melting even more and create more friction on the collisions.
Working In RealFlow 2014- See Hybridos Separate Network

I Deiced to mesh in Frost and use Velocity Shading, which may seem unessary however if you look at cake/doughnut icing when its moving, it has a really nice translucency in its refraction to it. So I used Frost to mesh, and Magma Flow to drive my refraction of the Icing shader using a Vertex Colour Map. I toned down the Refraction Vertex Colour Map down from 100% to 70% in the maps slot overrides, so the faster Icing was not too Translucent when it was melting because then it starts to look like Gel/Water.
 Frost Mesh From PRT Export From RealFlow
See Magma Velocities Driving Refraction Channel
Rendered in V-Ray and Comp'd in After Effects

Final Shot

Thanks For Looking!

Monday, 30 June 2014

Battleship Attack Shot- Version 2

Hi Guys,
I have been working on a new Test for my Showreel Seqence, this is the latest. I also have some very exciting news that I have got a job working Freelance as a FX Artist at Juice VFX / Platige Image, One of the main companies I look up to and now I am working with them on a Game Cinematic that's going to be amazing. I am very lucky and grateful!
I started by using the scene files from V1, I was debating weather or not to have the camera attached to the plane wing, which would of been cool however I wanted the camera to fly right past the explosion for a more Dynamic shot.
I changed the plane animation and had it fly over and then up past the ship, I even animated the pilot inside to move his head up and down, however its hard to see due to video compression and motion blur. I was planning to animate the ship and have some wake interaction, however due to working now this did not happen!
Scene Setup In Max
The Explosions were two PFlow Systems, in one Fume Grid, these were using Colour Caching, one smoke colour was black and the other a more grey colour. Then also the Smoke Trails which were a basic PFlow Spawn System. These were then put in there grid.
Scene Setup With Fume FX Grid

I did lots of sims to make sure the fireballs were not crawling to high, but also to make sure they had scale and that the fire did not burn out to early. In my past Shots I have had the problem of explosions looking too fast. Same for the Smoke Trails, However these were in the own grid and drive using PFlow particles that had gravity on and when they hit the ocean they delete. I animated some turbulence on the trails to get rid of the "Smoke lines" look and get a more smokey feel, but then key framed the turbulence off again to keep the scale and speed looking realistic.
Smoke Trails Fume FX Preview
Explosions Fume FX Preview
I also decided to generate a new Flak element for this shot, I went for the Spikey Flak look and although its not fully realistic it looks cool. The Basic setup for this was 3 PFlow Emitters emitting trails each with different inherited values, also another PFlow system just to emit a quick blast of fire.
Flak Setup- Max- PFlow
Flak Render

I rendered the FumeFX Passes under one Pass, Also I then used V-Ray to Render a GI pass of Fire illuminating the ship.
The Water Blast was done for the last version of the shot In RealFlow 2013.
Low Res Water Blast
The Rendering of the Ocean, Plane and Battleship was done in V-Ray, More details on the rendering of these can be found on older blog posts on previous versions of this shot, not much has changed other than, The BF019 (the plane) now has a reflection Map which makes it look so much nicer and more realistic.

 The BF109 Test Render
Another thing I did was add Distant ships in the background, these were just images of a ship on a card in Max with an Alpha Matte for the opacity.
Compositing was done in After Effects, I decided to Sharpen the explosion to try and get more fire detail, however it backfired! And gave my explosion pass really visible black edges. I faked all the Depth of Field by animating an adjustment layer on the horizon with blur and haze. All the Motion Blur was done with RSMB, All the Flak Elements were hand animated into the shot to match the camera move, usually I would merge different Flak Grids into a Scene and do a proper 3D Render but I did not have time so I faked it.


I just have got some great feedback on this shot and I will be leaving it for a bit due to my Freelance Work, but also so I can get fresh eyes and try and develop this shot up to a RealtimeUK Quality!
Things that I need to do next time:
Ocean Scale is to small, and there is Tilling Visible- So Instead of using one huge plane with a HOT Modifier on I will use many blended together each with there own modifier on so I can get a larger ocean scale with no tiling.
Explosion/s- Needs to have no awful black edges. And the Flak will be rendered as a fully 3D render using individual fume grids for each Flak Explosion.
Tracer Fire need work, need to use Facing Particles to get the long thin smoke trails you see in WW2 Footage.
Also More FX Elements like maybe some spary on the water as the plane is skimming across it and then more background ships and flak elements.
The Next time I do this shot it will be the scene I will use for my Reel Project, about a Battleship Attack sequence consisting of 4-6 shots. Also got my FX work I am working on right now for this project, Breakdowns for that will be coming after the project is released. I am also experimenting more with RealFlow as always so expect to see some more RealFlow RnD!

Thanks For Looking!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

UFO Crash Into Middlesbrough Docks

Hi Guys,
How come Aliens never decide to crash land there UFO's up North in the UK?
In Films they always invade London or LA, or New York!! This is my first shot of integrating a RealFlow Shot into a Live Action Plate, In this article I will be going into a detailed making of process on how this shot was created.
Modelling/Texturing of the UFO Asset
I made the UFO Asset last year Modelling was done in 3DS Max, and Texturing in Mudbox and Photoshop. I wanted to make my own Asset instead of downloading one as a personal challenge to get to know the basics of modelling and texturing.
Getting the Live Action Plate, Matchmoving & Animation
The Live Action Plate was shot while I was gathering reference pictures for a college project, Outside of my college is the Docks and theres this huge "pool" of water that links to the docks and I always thought it would be cool to have a UFO Crash Land in there, I then came up with a whole bunch of other ideas for a UFO attack sequence but this shot stuck in my head for the past 6 Months. The Live Action Plate was shot from a shoulder rig on a Canon 550D, The Shot was then Tracked/Matchmoved in After Effects using the 3D Camera Tracker that's built in, all the renders were comp'd as 3D Layers, there was no rendering from the camera in 3DS Max, it was kind of faked in comp, More on this below.
 The Animation of the UFO was done over 135 Frames to match the cameras pan down to the docks where the UFO would be crashing landing, but then it rises back to the surface to show that its ok and maybe the aliens are ready to invade?!  I rendred a simple test to check the animation worked well with the plate:
RealFlow Fluid Simulations
All the Fluid Sims were done in RealFlow 2013 with Hybrido. I have been using RealFlow and Hybrido for a year and a half. Most of the Production time on the shot was spent in RealFlow getting the splash looking nice! For Non RealFlow Users, Hybrido is RealFlows Large Scale Fluid Solver using FLIP simulation.
The first step was getting the Core Fluid sim looking nice, I knew I would be blending the Sim with Real water from the Live Action Plate so I made this fluid volume as large as possible while keeping enough detail in the sim. I ran several low res tests of the Core Fluid sim, trying to keep the scale of the fluid looking realistic, I ended up increasing the Gravity a bit due to the splash of the UFO making the particles go quite far into the air. When I was happy with the core fluid tests I let it sim a High Res Iteration over 12 Hours.
 Final Core Fluid Sim 01
 Final Core Fluid Sim 02
Next was the Splash and Splash and Foam Secondary Simulations, I wanted a very dense Splash for this shot so I used two Splash Passes one Dumb/Ballistic Particles and the other was a SPH Liquid Sim. I did one Dumb Splash and Foam sim this generated the basic splash and the main body of Foam. I also did a SPH Liquid Splash Sim to get the big splash you see in the final shot, The Actual splash sim also generates some foam, but due to some particles still be generated I gradually got rid of the splash sim in comp after the initial big WhiteWater impact, I used a mask with lots of feather in comp to gradually "Fade it out" kind of. Then the Dumb Splash and Foam sim is the foam on the surface.
  Dumb Splash and Foam Sim

 Splash Sims on the Bottom
The Mesh was generated in RealFlow and took around 4-5 Hours to Mesh. All of these sims were then brought back into 3DS Max for Rendering.
The RealFlow Mesh was loaded back into 3DS Max using the BIN Loader, and the Particles using Krakatoa's PRT loaders with PRT Caches for the Splash and Splash and Foam Sims. The main part of the rendering stage was getting the water shader to match the Live Action Plate's water. I used my Ocean Shader with no Displacement other than some noise on the surface. I decied there was no need for Velocity/Vorticty shading of the water due to the Large Splash cloud you do not see the fluid mesh to much apart from the surface interaction. As Said I used my Ocean Shader setup without displacement and just some Bump noise to get the CG water looking like the water in the plate.
Water Rendering Test 01
Water Rendering Test 02
In the end I took a lot of saturation out of the shader, the water starts to look almost grey but it works well in the plate. I also used a Still Frame of the Plate to make sure that the Camera in 3DS Max will line up with the plate when the renders are used as 3D Layers in Compositing. The Fluid was lit using a HDRI of a harbour of which the reflection look very similar to the plate, the HDR also was shot on a sunny day as was the plate.
The Splash and Splash And Foam Passes were rendered as Particles with Krakatoa I used Specularity on the Particles with a basic Material to get the particles looking more like white water and less "powdery".

Splash and Foam Rendering- Krakatoa
The UFO Was rendered on its own pass so that the fluid could be blended easily without affecting the UFO lighting/rendering. The Fluid Mesh pass also has the UFO in but using the V-Ray Mtl Wrapper it Masks the UFO like a MatteShadow Shader so that the UFO fits right into the fluid pass. The Splash and Foam passes also uses the UFO as a Matte Object so that they don't occlude where the UFO will be.
Compositing for this shot took a lot of work, the big task of blending the CG Water with the Live Action Water. The First thing was colour correcting, the water shader was close to matching the real water however it still needed blending, I used Masks on each side of the mesh to blend it with a lot of feathering.


 Its pretty hard to tell where the blend is when theres the motion blur on top also.
Trying to Achieve Seamless Blending- Early RnD Low Res Mesh
I comp'd all the Renders in there own comp first, before copying each pass to the live action comp, and then using them as 3D Layers.

Render Passes Comp
One cool thing I did is that because the UFO does not crash into the water until frame 33 I only rendered the Fluid Mesh from frame 30 onwards and I just used frame 30 as a still for the first 30 frames before switching to the render sequence of frame 31-135. This saved a good 3 hours render time.
As I said before, the camera tracking was done completely in After Effects, there was no exporting camera data to 3DS Max, What I did was used a camera in Max that lines up with the original live action plates perspective, I then made all the elements 3D Layers, made sure they all had the same transforms on. This then make them fit into the original camera move.
The Splash and Foam has some colour correction on also, also some more blur and motion blur using RSMB.  Then the UFO had its own colour correction on also a bit of RSMB Motion Blur to save rendering out motion blur. Also I added some Water on the lens, just with a still image of water droplets on black, then animated a mask, to quickly reveal them as if the camera lens gets splashed. I think it adds quite a bit to it all!
I also added a mini Breakdown onto the shot, just showing where the CG Water is and then how it blends into the plate.
Evaluation Thoughts
I am really happy how this shot has come out, not only have I got a awesome Fluid Sim shot but I have actually blended it into a Live Action Plate.
I really like the Splash Particles and how nicely they came out, When I get into the Relase Version of RealFlow 2014, I will then be able to render mist, which will add even more realism to my Fluid Sim shots, this is where I want to give a big shout out and thanks to Next Limit for all there support with my RealFlow work, and for giving me (A 17 Year Old Student) a chance to Alpha/Beta Test RealFlow 2014. Can't wait to see what amazing VFX images artists are gonna create with it, I know now with the success of this shot I have more ambitious ideas!
This shot I worked on over a month, but the bulk of the work was done in 2 weeks, this makes me think that maybe a VFX sequence for my Showreel will actually be a good and realistic idea!

Final Shot & Breakdown


Thanks For Looking, At my most ambitious shot yet, I hope you like it and enjoyed reading the making of process.


Saturday, 14 June 2014

FumeFX Tests Summer 2014 Reel

I decided to edit together all my FumeFX tests and previews into one reel. Got a cool shot coming soon with a long blog post on the making of also!

Niall Horn FumeFX Reel Summer 2014

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Realflow 2014- Cooling Lava

Hey Guys,
I put this RnD together in a around 1 day. using the new RealFlow 2014 Beta Build. I have not really played with the 2014 Hybrido Viscosity yet, and I had saw a lot of Lava RnD on Vimeo so had the idea to have a go.
The Actual cooling, is faked with using simple Daemons, when the Lava hits the cylinder theres lots of friction which slows the particle velocity down (this is important for the latter stages). When the particles hit the ground, there is a Bounded Kspeed Dameon which slows the Particles down also. Then once the emitter stops emitting I keyframed the Viscosity from 700-5000. Also keyframing the Gravity from 9 down to 3. Also I Cached out the particles as .PRT from RealFlow with Velocity.
Simple Lables To Show How The Cooling Is Faked
Next comes the shading, I used Krakatoa to Import the PRT Particles and used Magama Flow to colour the particles by Velocity,  Orange/Yellow been the Max Range Colour and the Min Range Colour is black. This is why the high friction and the KSpeed were used on the collisons so that they Slow Down thus "Cool Down" Quicker than the particles been emitted. The rest of the particles slow/cool due to the keyframed Viscosity.
The Magma Flow Setup
Next I used Frost to Mesh the Particles, using Zhu/Bridson. Then using Vertex Colour Mapping I transfrerd the Velocites on to the mesh. The Shader was a simple Standard Max Material with some self illumination on.  The Render itself was very flat so in comp I added a lot of glow and a lens flare for when the lava is nearly all at its hottest state.



Thanks For Looking! 

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Realflow 2014 Beta- Stormy LightHouse

Hi Guys,

This is my second Test with the RealFlow 2014 Beta test, I got asked my Next Limit and got the amazing opportunity to be able to test the Alpha and now Beta of RealFlow 2014.

Recently added to the Beta is a new Daemon all new for RF2014, the ocean force Daemon. Using this with Hybrido you get a Ocean Plane which is a lot like RealWave, you then put your ocean settings in and scale up the ocean plane to match your sim then once the sim is running it creates the waves in the particles themselves. Very Awesome a lot like the Wave Tank in Houdini. This is great for doing anything from to a Ship in Stormy seas all the way to calm seas and having interaction with the particle waves.

 The Ocean Plane in the Viewport^
This then drives the Particles^

I ended up keyframing the waves to get stronger throughout the 150Frames. The Lighthouse and rock was actully a late idea, initially I was going to just do the ocean by itself however that was boring! So I modelled the Lighthouse in Max and re sim'd the whole sim to have the interaction.

Next was working on the Secondar, I started with the standard Liquid SPH Splash and foam pass, this sim is mainly visible for the foam on the surface of the ocean, also the splash interaction of the rock. Next using a new feature of Realflow 2014 was the FLIP Splash sim, to get a nicer looking Splash pass from this FLIP sim I used lower gravity to keep the splash particles in the air longer, also a very high emission rate but then a low varied lifespan, this worked really well I think and will be using this technique in future sims to create more realistic Large scale splash sims.

Krakatoa Render of the FLIP Splash Pass, You Can See the Above technique works well

The Meshing of the Core Fluid Hybrido Particles was done in RealFlow with the improved meshing tools, I manage to get all the wave details in the mesh however back in 3DS Max I did add some more Displacemen with HOT.

 Mesh With Displacement in 3DS Max
Using HOT to Enhance the Mesh, But The RF Mesh Looks Very Good Itself

The Rendering was done in V-Ray for the Mesh and Lighthouse Geo, the Splash&Foam FLIP and SPH were rendered in Krakatoa. Comp was done in After Effects, where the search light was added, just a solid with some noise of and low opacity fast blur and a lens flare.


Thanks For Looking, Now in June I will be working on my College Project, Also some even more ambitious Personal FX Projects to get my ShowReel to be amazing! Thanks For all the Support and Feedback I get!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Smoke Stacks Fume FX RnD- 100th Blog Post

Hi Guys,

100 Blog Posts, thanks for everyone support and everyone who reads my stuff and watches my work.

This RnD was done for college, I got asked by the 3D Teacher and also the head of department to work on a real project for our local council, which is based on reconstructing the iconic Transporter Bridge with CG not only the bridge but the surrounding location but from 1911

This FX RnD was done for the Industrial Smoke that will fill the shots. My plan is to sim a bunch of these sims, and then when each shot comes to rendering, we can merge one of the smoke stack scene files into the scene and position the smoke stacks in the scenes for all the shots, then offset the times etc. This shot is a 360 Degree view of one of those sims, its quite high res.

I looked at a lot of reference and really liked some pictures I saw of the sun back lighting the smoke so I went for that look. Getting the settings in Fume FX right was the hardest part, here are some screenshots of the settings for this sim.

You Can See I am using a basic PFlow system to drive the smoke and then delete and Fume FX takes over. Advection Stride and Vorticity Settings were highly RnD'd to get the best looking smoke.

Here is the Lighting Setup:

You Can see One Main Backlight for the sun then we have one white light underneath to create nice shape in the shadows, then two lights on each side, one with a blueish grey colour and one with a tan yellow colour.

The Sim was ran for 120 Frames but like I say this is a 360 Degree Freeze Frame render so the College and Client can see what the smoke standard will be in the shots from all angles.

Some Comp Work was done on the Render in After Effects, Mainly using curves to boost the brightness and contrast also increasing the Yellow Saturation a bit, and lastly using sharpen to get more detail from the render which I do with all my Fume Sims because it works so well. See the Difference Here:


Thanks For Looking, Got another RealFlow 2014 Beta Test coming up soon! Also been doing some RnD for Personal Projects once again!