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Raising Buildings from the Undergroud approach (reference)


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Hello Houdini wizards!

Im pretty new to houdini, I mean, I have done some flip fluids shots for commercials but that's all.

I just talked with a client and gave me a project to develop but I don't know where to start the approach. I want to do it in Houdini because I don't want to be non-procedural anymore! hahah

The project:

Client wants me to raise a building (football stadium) from the underground in the middle of a desert. (Yeah, with all the sand, dust, etc)


The reference:

Unit Image: The Crew launch

From 00:56 to 01:10.


The Question:

How will be your first approach to do that? I mean, there are tons of layers of debris and that stuff in this one, It will be a simpler one because I'll have like 1 month to do this effect.


My first thoughts:

Importing the building from Maya (already done).

Animating the raising with a transform.

?????? Treat the scene as it was rising from the water (flip tank and making the building colide with particles)

Make some smoke emitter from different parts of the building to simulate the dust generated by the movement of the sand.


I hope u can help me with this one, It's a big opportunity to introduce me in a big studio and have a loooot of work and learning!

I'll attach the first hip file once I start with the R&D! I just wanted to now how would u approach this!

(Sorry for my Englando, I am Spanish, last spot on Eurovision, u know!)


Cheeeeeeersss and a big hug guys!!!!!!!!!!

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I don't see any "debris" in the example video at all. It is all just dust.

You can go the FLIP or Pyro route, but I would be tempted to just drop in a single line with a bunch of points from the top of the building. Have the line kind of deform or hang over the edge then freeze it's shape at some point. Then set particles to follow that line/curve. Replicate the line multiple times with noise as needed.

In the posted video they probably used multiple techniques.

Edited by Atom
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I have been trying a while. Tested the grain path and didnt worked so well.

Now I am trying to scatter points on the geo and emit some dry ice from that points. I think the result, if I know how to properly work with pyro (first time), could be more similar to the video.


Thank you Atom.

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Btw, should I work in real world scales for this? ( 300metres high skyscrapper? haha)

I always worked in abstract effects without giving attention to the scene scale and I don't know how to approach it!


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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Anthony, at the end, because art direction things, the effect differed a lot from the reference, because we didn't have such a long shot to see how the stadium was rising from 0 to 100, so I just went straight to normal and basic pyro solver (shelf tool dry ice) and tweaked the settings there (and I also had to do some try and error with the emitter noise and source, to achieve that "stop throwing sand" effect and avoid racord between scenes.

I helped myself with some gas wind to push it a bit forward and that's all.... at the end was a really easy thing because as I said, it differed a lot from the reference.

Have a nice day.

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