Catching a few lobsters...
/ Still Camping – Ian Hartman Week 04 PPJ
January 30, 2017

Honestly thought I would be done with integrating a first past of FX for CMP010 by now… Guess not. Moving forward with steady progress, had a couple road blocks that had me spinning tires briefly. Starting to worry a bit more about delivering fully for full beta at the end of the term and even the midterm beta next week, I think I’m in for a rough week.

Here’s the progress I did make this week:

I knew this week I would have to build out a pipe to get the transforms from the ship to be able to copy either geo thrusters or cards to in order to have thrusters added to the ship. I got this fun render of some of my particle thrusters being copied onto a sphere (carrying the normal orients of the points copied to)

Maybe an image to see what just one looks like instead:

I got the thrusters going and their integration onto the ship in Houdini was quick. The trouble came when I wanted to give the ship a trail of exhaust… I went with a procedural methodology where I copy noisy volume spheres onto simulated particles to build up the trail… Turns out that the copy process can be very time consuming and unstable causing a multitude of crashes throughout the days I tried working on the shot. The setup to get procedural heat/temperature/density for each copied volume was also painful, this was the part that caused the most slow down as Houdini attempted to stamp each volume with attributes that defined an overall heat/temperature/density for each…. I wanted to re-stamp all the points any time I changed an attribute, anytime I played with a slider or ramp…

In order to combat burning out on trying to fix and figure out the thrusters, I pivoted to working on a particle system for the phenomena/supernova/black hole/thing we see in nov_010, that pulls and pushes our ship. I built in a basic flocking algorithm that helps get more defined threads of matter pulling into the center as well as some simple math that makes the velocities revolve around a central origin point. The particle are emitted off of a noised, animated surface. The surface and the velocities are keyed to accelerate through the shot, ending with a fast chaotic motion that would soon be followed by a collapse, pause, and final expansion.

Finally, with the thruster system in place, I was also able to briefly revisit the dust kickup to implement movement into the emitters that follow the ship. This makes the dust kickup more dynamic and integrates it with the ship better.

I wish this week felt more productive. I did get a lot done but I got frustrated with the trails and ended up probably spending more time trying to figure out the effect than I needed to. I’ll do better in the future.

Lobster Fact: 1 in 173.34762 lobsters are born with a third claw.

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