Building "construction" special FX?? help!

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  12 December 2012
Building "construction" special FX?? help!

Hi guys,

I work doing animations in the heritage industry, mainly for videos to be shown on-site in historical buildings for the sake of tourism to inform visitors. I use 3ds 2011, vray, pflow, fumeFX, rayfire etc. Something I seem to be asked to do more and more is the have buildings or objects "build up" as if they are being constructed. This is something quite common to my work as I regularly show a series of time periods where new elements are built on top of old.

I honestly don't know if this is more of a pflow issue, or more of a clever comping issue, so I have posted this twice (sorry!).

I see this kind of effect done really nicely quite frequently, where a series of pieces pop into being and the overall effect is rather nice, as if the walls are being erected at top speed in front of your eyes. I couldn't find anything that easily with a google search to demonstrate (odd thing to try to find...wasn't sure on a good search string!) but if you guys go to:

and navigate to the showreel previews and take a look at "We Built this City", the second from last shot in the last perhaps 30 seconds of the preview there is something similar to what i am talking about, a bridge that kind of comes together at high speed as if it is being built (although ignore the kind of timelapse effect of the water and so on - not looking for this). I am looking to be able to do something somewhat similar (it needn't be too similar, just the overall "buildup" feel is what I am after).

The way I have tackled this is the past is by attaching a building into one giant object, fracturing it down into lots of irregular chunks, and using pflow to create a particle for each chunk (taking the mesh information also). So now i can just move an object of some sort through it and "trigger" the chunks to appear. The result looks as if the chunks are building up, although because I use a voronoi style fracturing, the chunks are quite irregular (I haven't found a quick way of breaking a building down into more regular blocks, and even if I did I would struggle to "trigger" regular blocks in a interesting way that made it appear to build up. The irregular nature of the fractures means I can just move say, a box through them, and I get a sort of staggered feel to the chunks appearing since they are not regular). I am not particular pleased with the results, although they are ok but I feel I could add a great deal of polish to things!

When I look at a lot of these FX I think "I bet most of this is done in post" but frankly I just don't know how to go about it without just having dozens of renders of the scene at various levels of "building completion" that I introduce consecutively. In my current project there are 7 time periods we are going to move through over an animation about 4 minutes long. The first 3 time periods have significant changes and I expect most of the main structures in the scene to "build up" - I can't get bogged down in incredibly complicated ways of achieving this effect as I have a *lot* of FX to generate in a short time.

Can anyone help?
  12 December 2012
fantastic - this is the kind of thing I have been looking for. My attempts so far have been mostly like the pflow series, with some extra scripting (I don't want a "magical" kind of effect which alot of my pflow attempts tend to result in), or the "reverse destruction" sort using a reversed, baked rayfire sim where the objects fall over under gravity. None of which have been quite giving me what I want.

I havent had time to watch the tutorials yet, but his fuller maxcript example is much more like what I am after (although from looking at it I imagine it may hinge on having the building broken up into small brick-chunks which would take some doing...was rather hoping to find a script that could *succesfully* fracture into regular block types but I have had little luck with the features within rayfire for doing this in complicated models.

The proBoolean subtract I think is the method I see so much of, and it's really good to learn this. Not sure if that is the right effect for my current project, but great to know for the future.
  12 December 2012
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