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WIP - Ghost crabe waking up in the sand - Grain Solver


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Hi all,

Here is a WIP of a short shot (10 sec) I am playing with to acquire a first experience with the grain solver. It is inspire by the short "Piper" from Pixar and the article related to it on FXGuide : https://www.fxguide.com/featured/the-tech-of-pixar-part-1-piper-daring-to-be-different/

Any feedback / advice / comments are welcome to obtain a better sim ! I am struggling playing with Drift Threshold & Kinetic scale to obtain a stable pile of grains without killing too much the animation afterward. Maybe playing with the mass of grains may change the look of it (I will iterate again : that's long, as I have 1,1 millions particles, and it seems that the size of particles - therefore their numbers - also impact the various parameters of the sim ==> need to setup using the final resolution).

Here is the link to the more acceptable iteration made until now :



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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi All, update on my work in progress.

I am quite satisfied with my progress up to date on the crabe project, but before triggering the render button for 250 frames, I would love to consider any suggestions of improvements to make this short sequence great for my reel :-)

Any advice is more than welcomed !

The first image is an animated GIF



Edited by StepbyStepVFX
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24 minutes ago, Jesper Rahlff said:

This looks great, but whats going on with the  DOF?

Hi, thanks Jesper.

I have setup my camera with a 150mm lens and aperture of 4, which gives a really shallow DOP. But you seems to think there is a problem ? You think I should increase it ? Maybe do it in Nuke based on ZDepth ? Maybe you have noticed another issue with DOP (noise/sampling problem) ?

I haven’t launched the render yet so I can take any advices :-)

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Ah yeah, understand what you mean ! This is hard to notice without the travelling backward, but this is a « bump » of the terrain closer to the camera. At the start of the travelling we are closer to the crabe, then we move backward and this bump comes inside the camera frustrum.

This still being taken by the end of the sequence, it is hard to understand what it is without the motion... I did on purpose to « frame » the crabe, to surround it a bit. But maybe it is too out of focus to be readable ?

Will try different DOP before rendring...

Thanks for the comment Jesper

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yeah its a little strong in my opinion. But I now get why it is like that. however the viewer will not have that knowledge and if this is for a portfolio piece, the person who is hiring, will not know why it looks like this, and might think its a mistake.


another thing that could be improved is your color choice on your creature. your have choosen a few variation of green, however I would consider (like your reference above) to have more contrast in the 2 main colors. This might also help the crabe stand out a little better from the green plant stuff in the background.

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Thanks for your comments Jesper.

I think I will break a bit the bump at foreground, putting kind if ripples in the sand, to break the straigth line. That should help reading the image.

For the color of the crabe, I can indeed tweak it a bit in Painter, but I am not sure what direction to take... I liked it green :-)

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