Particle and Dynamic Animation (Houdini II)

Logo Project - Particles and Fracture Effects

I developed this project from inspiration from a video called [PLACE VIDEO NAME AND LINK HERE], specifically the effects created at [TIME ONE] and [TIME TWO] of the video. I also set a goal to *NOT* composite anything. Everyone encouraged me to composite, however that felt like the easy way out - if I can create the effect without compositing, why wouldn't I want to?

--Include a caption if desired--


I had three goals for this project: 1) to create the particle formation effect, 2) to create the dynamic crumble effect, and 3) to not composite. A fourth and supplemental goal was to create a system where any object could be used with these effects. When I started, I didn't know how to do any of the effects, and I thought that the dynamic crumble effect would be the easiest. I was dead wrong about that one.

So I started on the particle transition and formation effect, experimenting with how to control the particles in a way to make it look like it was forming an object. I actually worked backwards trying to disintergrate an object since it had similiar principles of control. Once I figured that out, I focused on taking that knowledge and applying it more directly. I broke this system into three main parts: the gathering of particles into some "invisible object", the transitioning particles, and finally the formation of the surface. One of the clever things that I did was I localized the transitioning effect using a "cutter" object. This in turn allowed for any object to be used in the overall system (see the breakdown below for more details [LINK GOES HERE]).

With the particle half of the project in place, I focused on the dynamic crumble effect. Here I had help from Zachary Dimaria - link to his website. There were two challenges here: 1) to artistically localize what parts of the object fall and when and 2) to only allow certain parts of the object to fall instead of the entire object at the same time. The challenge with Houdini's DOPS was that once you create a fractured object and you applied gravity, the entire object (collection of the seperate fractured pieces) wanted to fall at the same time. Zach helped to get the system in place (since I wasn't very familiar with dynamics or DOPS at this technical level) where a painter object was used which modified the "fall now" attribute while forcing everyting else to stay in it's initial state. See below for a more detailed technical breakdown [LINK GOES HERE].

The final goal was to not use any type of compositing, be it Nuke or Houdini's own Images network [GET REAL NETWORK NAME HERE]. And while it wasn't super pretty, I used a keyframed switch node to change between the results of the particle system to the beginning of the dynamics system. Through the development of these systems, I focused extra time to make sure that these seperate systems would work on multiple objects. While I didn't do extensive testing to verify this, I did all of my technical development on a simple placeholder object (as seen in my developmental video where I used an oblong sphere). I also used my seashell from a previous exercise in the development of the particle system -- the only issue with that was that it wasn't a volume, it's surfaces were infinitely thin. The system still worked, but the control that I built into it to reduced the number of free floating particles that escapeed the volume of the object when the particles were forming.


What I Learned/Challenges

- I leared more specific particle (POPS) control.
- I learned some of the inner workings of DOPS from Zach while trying to get the logo to crumble artisitically.
- Figuring out how to control the fall of the fractured object was quite challenging, but I was able to develop the technique to use a collection of painter objects.

Future Improvements

- In the second half, with the crumble of the object, there seem to be these "ghost" shadows on the pieces. They seem to be falling through shadows that you might imagine to be cast from the original pre-crumbled object. I'm not exactly sure what that is or what's going on, but I didn't really have much time to experiment and figure out what it is. It might be created from how the crumble/fracture was controlled.
- More variation in size of the fractured pieces.
- Experiment further to find a more seemless transition between the particle object and the dyanamic object. There is a small visual pop on the tips of the logo - it's caused from a difference in surface normals between the particle object and the dynamic object.

Technical Breakdown/Extra Information

--Include a technical breakdown explaining the project if necessary or other useful/fun pieces of information. Provide source materials, concept designs, screenshots or videos to help better explain what has been done to create the final work.--

--Include a caption if desired--


This class continued to teach Houdini while focusing heavily on particle and dynamic effects. It dealt with the POPS, DOPS, VOPS, and VEX networks.

Back to Top