Hi GuysI was close to finishing this before starting the Horror Of The Skies Project, However it got delayed because of that, but the past 3 days I have been working to finish it. This shot started last January (Jan 14) after watching the LittleBird Crash MPC Did for Man Of Steel. I setup the basic scene and camera, with some basic anim on the Littlebird and then kinda forgot about it! I started working on it Mid September again, and just finished it today (After a few iterations of Finals). The Final Production time on this would be around 3 weeks of working on it after my other actual VFX Work!
The Basic Anim was the Littlebird spinning out of control due to a broken rear rotor blade, and then it crashing nose/cockpit first on the road, causing the rotors to break and the helicopter to fall on its side. I wanted to add in more detail and actully have the Littlebrids fuselage deform/bend from the impact, going down the sim route would of ethier been doing soft body/cloth for metal sims or maybe trying to use TP SC Deformation, but for something like this I wanted to do it by keyframes, one it gives more control and two it saves time and complexity, I just used basic soft selection to "bend" the impact vertexs on each collision throughout the shot and it worked really well, however a lot of it is hidden behind all the debris. I got a few emails asking how the Rotors were done all of them assumed it was TP, actully its just switching the spinning rotor to a pre modelled broken rotor on impact over a few frames, the debri hides the switch plus its spinning fast so you dont notice, I could of used Morpher to do this also. Then theres some Rotor Debri that a PFlow system chucks in the air. A cool thing I deiced to do was go in an animate the pilots bracing for impact, its very subtle, but adds to the shot (Proof of why you should always wear seatbelts!).
Cockpit Bending/Deformation on Impact
Once the Anim/Deformation was done I deicded against using a 3D Street model and wanted to setup a basic 3D Matte Painting in After Effects, so I found a street image from the Internet and painted out the people,foreground cars, foreground shadows, trafficlights and wires. I then split the plate into layers and replaced the sky. I did this first, so I could have lighting refrence and also spacial refrence when working on the destrucion sims and Rendering. (More on the Comp Below)
Then it was back to the destruction FX of the Road. For the Inital Destruction of the road, I know a helicopter would not break a road up this easily, but I thought it called for some cinematic license! I used a basic RayFire Sleeping Objects setup with some proxy mesh for the Littlebirds body, Once the sim was done I subdivided the fragments and used Noise on the inner faces key framed to only turn on when the fragments are thrown in the air. At that point I was still using RayFire 1.61 so did not have access to RayFire Asperity.
<Using Noise On Fragments>
I then used PFlow with Speed Test to emit lots of instances of the RayFire Fragments from the actual RBD Fragments. These Instances were also using the Noise detail on the edges which would later proove to best a waste of render time due to heavy Motion Blur!
This PFlow system was not Box 2, just normal PFlow with some bounce&Friction on the defectors. The Soil System was just a duplicate of this system but using Spherical Fragments and lots more of them, with some wind and turbulence.
I then used another Duplicate of the Soil System but with no instances, just lots more particles, I rendered this System through Krakatoa to create very fine dirt that really adds a lot to the final shot. Also some basic sparks from another system were thrown in the air when the Rotor hits the road before it breaks.
Fine Dirt PF System/Pass- Adds Detail- Rendered Through Krakatoa
For the Fume FX Dust I made a basic Fume setup where the smoke IE Dust is only emitted on the frags when the are travelling through the air, again through Speed Test, Then I drove this with an Effector with Turb by Density values of the smoke. I also Increase the gravity as a lot of people think dust behaves like smoke whereas dust is a lot heavier than smoke as its very tiny soild particles and smoke behaves more like fluid. The Final Dust Render Pass is quite thin and Subtle due to me not wanting it to obscure the destruction. In The Fume PF Emission rather than just emitting from the Hero Fragments I used a seprate part of the system to send out random particles based on the velocities of the fragments animation these particles would spawn trails that deleted quickly so the dust emission had much more variation rather than trailing off the fragments. The Dust did not Matte all the PFlow Fragments it was pointless in the end, as they were not ineracting with the sim so I would rather spend time in comp blending the passes.
Fume Dust WIP
The Lighting and Rendering was done in V-Ray, Using a HDRI that kinda matched the street, and using a V-Ray Sun. The Helicopter Asset had a spec map but it was painted wrong so I ended up not using it. The Road and Fragments were shaded based on a Max shader vs using Camera Projection of the plate. The Pilots were actully using SubSurfaceScattering on there skin, even though you barely see them. I looked at lots of refrence trying not to make the LittleBird to glossy but not too diffused. It was hard to find the right balance, plus the asset was limited to a Diffuse Map.
Timelapse of Lighting & SlapComping the LittleBird and Road Debris
Basic Rendering Setup- WIP
I Blended the RBD Road from the renders to the plate in Comp. The intial Beauty Render had the Road,Debri,Littlebird on and the Rotors were rendered on there own so they could have motion blur done in comp. I then rendred the Littlebird on its own with the Road and Debris Masking it (MatteShadowMtlWrapper) so when I colour corrected the CG Road to the Plate I would not affect the LittleBirds Render.
To Transfer the 3DS Max Camera to After Effects I used a blank scene with just the camera in and some random cubes put in the view of the camera, I then used this render pass in AE and using the Built in 3D Camera Tracker I could replicate the 3DS Max Camera in After Effects so the 3D Matte Painting would line up with the movement of the 3DS Max Camera. Also any other elements that needed to go in, could just be added as 3D Layers rather than having to re render them on cards, or track them in by eye in comp, This works best for Nodal pans rather than when the camera would be moving in 3D Space.
If I did not do this, I would have to recreate the Matte Painting in Max on Cards at diffrent depths in the Scene, or go to a 3D Street with Skydome. The Majority of the Motion Blur was done in Comp using RSMB, Some Velocity Passes and Radial Zoom Blurs.
Overall I am really happy with the shot, the Lighting/Rendering of the LittleBird Could be better, but the asset was limited to a Diffuse map, and me faking the Spec and Bump with Fractals. Maybe would be cool to have an Impact Explosion, but I think it looks better without. I watched the MPC Shot from Man OF Steel so many times, and the amount of Motion Blur and Camera Shake they put in there was pretty ugly so I'm glad I didn't go overboard on them. In the Future for a Personal Project I really want to Recreate The SuperStallion Destruction From Battleship!