View Full Version : falling (realistic) cubes - approach?

04 April 2011, 12:57 PM
Hi there,

we want to try something new for our arch-viz. The idea is that a lot of cubes fall from the sky and only one (the actual building) will stay.
The cubes are supposed to come from space and the camera follows them trough space.
Question is: how can we animate the cubes realistic. Since I am more familiar to it, I tried pflow, my colleague tried reactor. But we are not really happy with either of the animations. His is rather annyoing to set up, and my cubes land rather unrealistic.
They also rather on a flat surface then on the shape, although the shape is selected in the uDeflector

Do you guys have any ideas, suggestions or tutorials on how we could make this look more realistic (without buying any software:D)?

here's the pflow animation:
and it's setup:

04 April 2011, 08:52 PM
Buildings being very heavy should not bounce when they land, they rather collapse or push into the ground. Make them stop firm when they hit or a tiny bit (a few frames) of slowdown just before impact. Due to scale they should move a bit slower. I would try something like that. to convince add some billowing dust/smoke/steam, even just using particles and cards to help sell it.

Simply by itself any effect of such type, with the animation alone, would be very difficult to get a convincing look IMO. Camera Shake, wide angle lense, atmospheric haze, DOF, do it all. You could easily get away with keyframed objects :) (if you didn't have too many blocks) Just some thoughts.

05 May 2011, 01:03 PM
Hi Johnny,

I followed your advice (sort of) and changed the way of the animation. There are now a lot (6000) small cubes falling down forming the big one. I also tried your idea with the smoke, however (lacking any commercial particle tools - and knowdlege on how to properly use pflow;) ) it is very time consuming to render. There is also a problem with my light setup.

As said before, there are 6000 cubes being spawned which themselves spawn faces (only 10% of them do) for the dust thing. The speed of the cubes is animated as the camera changes its speed (it's been animated by a collegue before I did the particles. Other way round might have been better).
The smoke hase a wind modifier and gravity (with 50%) but nothing very special going on.

The cubes themselves have a vray material with nothing going on (just some gray diffuse value).
the smoke faces are rather big (10m compared to 2m cubes) and have a smoke map in their diffuse and a radial gradient in the oppacity channel. The phase of the smoke is being animated over the whole time (from values 0 to 10 starting frame 0 and going on to 750). The gradient itself goes from black, to not so much black. but always very dark so they blend nicely.

Any suggestions on how i could improve rendering performance would be much appreciated.

Here is the link to the scene:

Thanks in advance for looking at it,

p.s: you'll need the freebies from orbaz
p.p.s: If my max will ever finish it, i'll post a viewport grab of the scene (with 100% particles displayed)
forget that. takes ages even at a small size ;)

05 May 2011, 04:47 PM
Sorry haven't had time to check your scene. Most things involving lots-o-particles, especially shaped particles, will take a bit of time to render. You need to find a balance with lighting, motion blur (sometimes better done in post), quantity, texture, GI/no GI., ect. You best bet is get some test frames like you like them and fire the render off over night unless you have a slave to send the job too.

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05 May 2011, 04:47 PM
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