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Exploding Ice / Sculpture

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David KomerExploding Ice / Sculpture
by on Aug 6, 2009 at 7:23:33 am

I am planning a short film which will involve a sequence of somebody building an ice sculpture, and for various reasons I'm considering using 3d models and combining with live action.

Please see this stock here: http://www.turbosquid.com/3d-models/3dsmax-ice-cubes/169447

Is it easy / possible to make parts of this "explode" out, so that it will seem like somebody is hammering away at it?

Is it also possible to apply this material/look to a different model, such as that of a swan?


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Tiago RibeiroRe: Exploding Ice / Sculpture
by on Aug 6, 2009 at 3:14:45 pm

if you purchase that ice model you will have access to it's material, because details say that the material is included in the package, so yes, you will be able to apply it to another object, like a swan..

to make some parts explode out, you will have to put up some different stuff on it, of course there are many different ways to do that, and choosing the technique should depend on your own knowledge and experience, but if i were to do it, i would think of the following:

1st, plan out all the short. define all shots, the timeline, etc..
with this, you can define the points in your sculpture that you want to explode-out

2nd, i would create a morph target, in order to work the final job on just one object
instanciating the original model N times, where N is the number of "explodes", i would model the "holes" that result from the "explode", for each "explosion". note that this can get tricky, because when using morphing, you have to keep the model with the same number of vertices, so an alternative to this would be to start the first explode on the original, copy the result, make the second explode, copy, make the third, etc.. until you have a final model with all the explodes sculpted out

in each cases what you will want is to animate in order to have each explode appear in its time. morpher will make this easier and will give you the possibility to interpolate an explode, this is, instead of having a whole hole carved out from one frame to another, you could progress the carving, as if the scupltor is hiting it several times in the same spot, to make the hole go deeper..

of course all this is just the geometry modelling/animating
for the actual "explode", which means ice being thrown out, you should use a particle system, to throw out bits of ice, and then some kind of light volume effect to simulate a little frosted cloud.

i think this would do the job, although of course, you need to work on some different topics:
modelling the sculpting of each hammering of the chisel
morphing (more difficult but better results)
particle systems
volume effects
and i also recomend some compositing/post-production to refine and get better results

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David KomerRe: Exploding Ice / Sculpture
by on Aug 6, 2009 at 6:57:14 pm


Thank you for a thorough response. I have no experience in 3ds max, but it sounds doable if I really hit the books. Hopefully I'll learn everything I need by following your instructions, starting with looking up the terminology :)

The confidence that it's not too-daunting a task gives me hope. It'll be a while till I can really get to it- but hopefully you'll hear more questions from me along the way :D

Thanks again,


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Tiago RibeiroRe: Exploding Ice / Sculpture
by on Aug 8, 2009 at 9:14:04 pm

i'm glad to lend out some help, although, if you are completely inexperienced with 3d modelling and animation, then yes, it will be a while till you can get to it =)

but take one step at a time, and if you are producing a short film, and are unexperienced with this, then you should try to form a small team, even if it's just 2 or 3 people, but having someone for each stage of the film development, which i recomend you as following: screenplay, audio, storyboard/animatic, production (filming/photographing/modelling and animation/visual effects), editing and post-production.
note that production could involve a bigger team if you are working with live footage, lighting, actors, scenarios, and so on.. i just don't recommend you to do it alone, if its not something on which you have the required knowledge =)

anyway, good luck on your work, and keep posting whenever you need

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