Doors – update 1
A while ago I started working on a short film idea. Due to different reasons (read – life), it took a while to finish the concept phase. The idea behind a story is my personal journey through different parts of my life. It is supposed to be a slow – atmospheric piece. Something to show on a projector screen on a large wall, with good sound.
In couple of months I generated a ton of different ideas on how to represent various events and my emotions about those events. Biggest challenge was how to put everything together to make one cohesive piece – to have transitions from one part to the next. While working on an animatic I had to throw out several scenes, just because I could not make them work together with the rest. Also the scope of the project was already probably too huge to make in reasonable timeframe.
Here is a version of the animatic. I see it more as an inspirational piece – mostly because some of the scenes were too complex to make just for the animatic, so ones in animatic serve just as a placeholder – a reminder for myself of what should go there. Final piece should be quite different.
Animatic was made very quickly in Blender – using Eevee real time renderer.
For the final piece – I have already started working on it and decided to split it in several parts. Just to have smaller – more achievable milestones. Final piece is made in Houdini as a main tool for all procedural modeling, layout, lighting and rendering. Rendering is done using Redshift.
As I have already finished the first part and preparing to work on the next ones, I decided to write blog posts about my progress and challenges I encounter.
First scenes were quite straight forward.
Biggest technical challenge was creating the opening flower setup. I wanted it to be fully procedural and it turned out it was quite hard to get the animation right. Initially I tried fully procedural (no simulation) approach, but later I simplified and added Vellum simulation to achieve better collision between petals. Trick was to do everything in reverse – first create the flower in fully open state and animated it to be closing. Then add Vellum simulation on top of this guide animation – this prevents petals from intersecting as well as adds interesting folding deformations. Then you cache the sim and play it in reverse.
Water caustics were completely fake – just a projected animated texture from light sources.
Another challenge was all the particle effects for the portal shot at the end. One interesting approach I came up with was for the ground particles being sucked into the portal. For this I first created a smoke simulation of smoke coming out of portal and spreading around on the ground (using some helper curve forces). Then I used this simulation in reverse as a velocity field for advecting particles being emitted from ground mesh. This gives interesting motion to the particles and with some tweaking produces cool looking effect.