Earthquake - VFX Challenge - Arioch


Alright, a challenge that requires us to go out and spend some time in the real world! I’m in. If I can manage to borrow a friends camera and weather permits I hope to be shooting some footage this weekend. Until then here’s a quick storyboard, basically I’d like to simulate a little chaos on Long Beach’s Metro blue line. :wink:


Cool idea!!!
Can’t wait to see that train.

Best of luck man



Yess! This will be great!

THe only issue that I can see upfront is the CG train which you’re going to have to painstakingly model, match the lighting and well…make it look photo-real and actually comped in the scene.

:thumbsup: Great start!



Yeah the train is going to be the make it or break it part of the shot. I toyed with the idea of shooting 2 versions, the second one with a real train almost hitting the crack right at the end of the clip but if I’m going to put in the time might as well go all the way.

I was planning on scouting locations early Saturday but the web has been a tremendous help already. If anyone is ever looking for locations to film in California take a look at

After that site and some other places I think I’ll probably shoot at a location where the train turns while crossing the street like this:


hey that pick looks like I pass through there on my way home to HP :wink:


So the plan was to shoot Saturday but since it rained the whole day I just ended up following the rail’s path and noting good locations to set up the tripod. Sunday was nice and clear so I headed out early to beat the downtown crowds but the tall buildings made the shoot too dark until about 11:00.

I ended up shooting footage from 4 intersections and still haven’t decided which one to use yet. Everybody was very interested in what I was doing including a cop who watched me from his squad car. I noticed that one of the buildings in the shot was the Long Beach Police Dept. so when the first metro train came by I made a big deal of panning along to follow the train. The cop got the idea and left but then all sorts of other people wanted to ask questions or walk back and forth in the background. I told most people I was doing a study of the effects of an earthquake on public transportation. :wink:

Even shooting for minutes on end none of the shots were perfectly clean so I’ll have to paint out a bus here or a person there from the cleanest 5 seconds. I also took some still shots of the train for reference but the thing only stands still for a minute so I had to work fast. Oh yeah, the total expense for the shot was 75cents for parking. I’ll post some screen grabs after the footage is captured.


So here are the 4 angles I shot. I’m leaning towards either #1 or #3 but I’m curious what you guys think. To me the ground looks better in 1 and the city more interesting in 3. I’ll probably be re-creating the entire street surface in Max anyway so maybe I’ll try to mix the best of both.


The reference photos of the train have now been stitched together after removing some barrel distortion from the images with Icarus. Thanks to MrWyatt for the heads up on that App. Here is an image of the first car of the 2 car train. The actual stitched image is 13000 x 1500 , way more than enough to serve as a modeling template and texture map.



I like location #1 best. It’s very clean and have focus on the track.

Very nice train texture. Just enough pixles for a tv effect :). I’m planning to do one of those one time. Would be nice to se a large tram crash into som familliar locations, buts thats for another time.

Looking forward to see a massive earthqauke and a runaway train!



Hey is that Oakland?



Nope, it’s downtown Long Beach. I’ll probably be headed back this weekend to get a few more measurements from the locations, having a bit of a challenge getting the camera match to look right in either shot.


Starting to model the train.


:wip: Looking good!


:buttrock: :buttrock: :buttrock: :buttrock: :buttrock:


hey, I’m very curious, cuz I don’t have much experience with 3d, what the quality of these homeprojects can be. Looks promising!

I’d go with location 1. I like the difference of height in the street. Looks like a dangerous speedy curve for a train to loose track…

good luck!


Thanks for the encouragement guys. Feels like I’m falling behind on this challenge but here’s a small step further along. Just a quick test of a crack, it needs more deteil and is not integrated into the footage yet.

Crack test 128K


:buttrock: That looks really good. It’s like something I’m doing but I think yours looks better.

Keep up the good work.:thumbsup:


Yup the cracking looks really good.



Nice, can you tell me how you manage to have a layer of asphalt and then a layer of ground-dirt ?

Sorry about the question…otherwise… i love the texture and the way the road cracks open :smiley:

awesome :bounce:



The asphalt and the dirt are seperate textures applied to different faces of each road piece. The road surface has UVW mapping projected down on it while the dirt map is a seperate UVW map projected from the side. You can’t see it on the small preview but the dirt texture tiles badly so that will be one of the first things to improve.