I was wondering how HBO created this transition effect (see link below). I was wondering if you had any insights. I tried nCloth and maya's shatter but I still seem to have some difficulty. Any suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated.
I'd guess most of it probably wasn't done with a 3D app at all - more likely to be a pseudo-3D particle system in After Effects (Trapcode Particular?)/Smoke/Nuke. Nice effect - but not that hard to replicate. Make a dissolve between the outgoing and incoming footage, then explode this into disc-shaped particles with a camera set up with depth of field blur and a light or two (or just a glow effect on the highlights) to add some glints to the edges of the particles. There probably were some additional 3D particles added on the longer sequences, but they were just graded to look as though they may have been made from the background footage. Then they go and spoil the whole thing by saying Happy Holidays at the end. It's HAPPY CHRISTMAS, idiots!
Well, that's my guess from looking at a very compressed YouTube video. I may well be completely wrong. But I think it's pretty unlikely to be nCloth or Shatter.