Andy Moorer is a VFX artist and TD working in the film industry.

Archive for Examples

Jan
24

Example – Display Spotlight Data

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This scene shows how ICE can be used to display custom information about aspects of a scene. In this case, the cone of a spotlight is displayed, with an option to display a projection of the spotlight on the surface of geometry. A second example shows how the same setup can be used for a near and far attenuation display.

One great thing about ICE is how easy it is to re-use and re-task your “code.” In this example, it is simple to save the null containing the ICE operator as a model. Any time you need this display, import the model and give it your spotlight’s name, and you’re done. Or better, write a script which does this for you so all you have to do is pick the light. – AM

Here’s the file (softimage 2013, 276kb): ICEspotlightDisplay

Update

Petr Zloty sent me a useful tip… when you place the ICE operator on an empty pointcloud rather than a null, the results display properly in any viewport. This is an important realization which is really good to know. In fact, the problem with ICE display attributes on nulls only appearing with wireframes is an annoyance which I’ve bumped against more than once. Thanks Petr!

Thanks Petr for the tip and the screenshot!

Thanks Petr for the tip and the screenshot!

Categories : 3D Graphics, Examples
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Rob Chapman posted a cool whirlpool deformer to the “Resource Dump” on SI-Community here. Since I had been doing a lot with logarithmic spirals recently I decided to make one from scratch and compare the two. Here’s the result.

Instead of using Rob’s wave deformer, since it’s fun to share it out there’s a “ridged turbulence” compound in there. Here’s what it looks like when used as a deformer:

 And here’s the file (softimage 2013 ~160kb): alt_whirlpool

Categories : 3D Graphics, Examples
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Jan
18

Example – Taper Deform

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Unlike most of the examples, I built this specifically to show how a deformer can be constructed with simple visual guides. So the good news is that it’s all nicely commented. This example shows the structure of a deformation, some tricks for making viewport guides, and the taper function itself (originally published by Alan Barr, it’s quite simple).

The down side is that I didn’t want to get into matrix transforms for the example, so this implementation is only on the object’s local Y axis. This limits it’s production value (not that there’s a great need for another taper deformer.) It’s an example, not a tool – adding in the transforms to make the taper axis arbitrary isn’t too difficult, but as I was making this I realized it was going to make the entire thing unreadable and that I was out of time – I have paying work I need to get to. ^_^ So here it is, as-is. Cheers – AM

File (softimage 2013 ~270kb): Example_TaperDeform

Update

Had a little time and I hated leaving this in a state that wasn’t that useful, so I added in the additional kinds of control I usually have in production compounds (in this case, mainly the optional ability to deform on an arbitrary axis as supplied by a control object like a null, and minor cosmetics.)

A taper deformer isn’t high-tech feeling and exciting, but it’s useful in everyday practice, and more to the point this is a structure that can be used for many useful kinds of deformations. For instance, once I had the taper structure it was pretty simple to replace the internal “taper” formula with one to do a twist:

I’ll share out the twist version eventually, in the meantime here’s the full taper compound (if you look inside you’ll see what I was getting at by the arbitrary axis adding a lot of seeming complexity, but it’s really not complex, ICE just tends to look that way when there are a lot of different things all connected.)

File (softimage 2013, 379kb): example_TaperDeform2

Categories : 3D Graphics, Examples
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Jan
16

Minor Pipeline Tools – Logging Distance

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There is an awesome thread on the softimage list where the small pipeline enhancements softimage users tend to accumulate in their personal collections are being discussed. In it I vowed to share mine to the community as a whole over time on this blog. So here’s the first one… a little python script I keep in a custom menu, which writes a log (as an anotation in the explorer) of distances between objects.

File (<1kb): LogDistances.py

#—————————————-
# Log Distances between 2 objects
# 2011 A Moorer
#—————————————-
xsi = Application
xsiRoot = xsi.ActiveSceneRoot
lm = xsi.LogMessage
root = xsi.ActiveSceneRoot

def SelectionCheck():
sel = xsi.Selection
if sel.Count <= 1:
lm(“Select two objects.”,4)
return False
if sel.Count >= 3:
lm(“More than two objects selected.”,4)
return False

else:
lm(“\nLog Distance\n————————”,32)
return True

#————————
#Distance Between Centers

def ctr_dist( objA, objB ):
from math import sqrt,pow
# Thx to Alan F for this function

Ax, Ay, Az = objA.Kinematics.Global.Transform.GetTranslationValues2()
Bx, By, Bz = objB.Kinematics.Global.Transform.GetTranslationValues2()

return sqrt( pow(Ax-Bx,2) + pow(Ay-By,2) + pow(Az-Bz,2) )

#———————–

#Annotate Distance

def annotate( nDist ):
if xsi.ClassName(root.Properties["MeasuredDistances"]):
prevText = xsi.getValue(str(root.Properties["MeasuredDistances"])+”.text”)
lm(“Logging new distance measurement…\n”,32)
xsi.SetValue(str(root.Properties["MeasuredDistances"])+”.text”, str(prevText)+nDist, “”)

else:
oSet = root.AddProperty(“Annotation”,0,”MeasuredDistances”)
lm(“Annotation Created.\n”,32)
xsi.SetValue(str(oSet)+”.text”, “Distance Measurement Log\r”+”\r ————————————-\n\r” + nDist, “”)

return

#———————–

#Log Distance

def LogDist():
try:
if SelectionCheck():
fromObj, toObj = xsi.Selection(0), xsi.Selection(1)

newDist = “\r\nDistance between <”+fromObj.FullName+”> to <”+toObj.FullName+”> is: ” +str( ctr_dist(fromObj, toObj))
lm(newDist+”\n\n————————\n”,32)
annotate(newDist)

except:
lm (“\n——-\nDistance Script Error.”,4)
return True

#—————————————-
#Call the function -
LogDist()

There you go… I hope it proves helpful to some of you. :)

I considered sharing my personal workgroup in it’s entirety, but there’s a lot of trash in there I wouldn’t want to burden people with, plus a considerable amount of stuff which Isn’t mine to share. So until I make a “clean” workgroup I’ll just have to post bits and pieces…

Categories : 3D Graphics, Examples
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In the “postSim” tutorial we made shapes out of strands by constructing arrays of point positions. Many ICE users, myself included, forget that there are a bunch of shapes provided already which can be used in this fashion. They are in the “Debugging” section, because arrays like these can also be used with ICE attribute display properties to create onscreen widgets (hint: …or to add points to a pointCloud…)

I’ve found the factory nodes to be quite handy for a number of things, but I wanted some other shapes of my own (such as a star and spiral)  - so I made them, as well as made some adjustments to what was already available (with some digging) to suit my personal preferences. Here is a scene with a number of them, each packaged as a compound.

Freebies!

And here’s the file (softimage 2013 322kb): ICE Debug Elements

While experimenting around with these elements as display objects, I made a “protractor” compound.

It’s of limited production use because of a current problem with how softimage displays these elements in a shaded or hidden line view, and because it wasn’t particularly designed as a tool… it just evolved while I messed around. But it serves as an example of how you can use the “Debug” nodes to create visual feedback (another good example of these debug elements is the factory “bend” deformer in ICE.)

Judicious use of these display attributes can make a packaged compound much more useful, as well as act as a handy jumping off point to make interesting shapes with strands etc. Enjoy! – AM

File (softimage 2013 270kb): example_ICE_protractor

The spiral compound plus the postsim tutorial makes a nice basis for a “cloud chamber” like wallpaper… :)

Categories : 3D Graphics, Examples
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Jan
07

Example – PostSim Needles

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During the making of the film “Barnyard,” which happened to be around the time ICE was being first conceptualized and built, a number of effects were identified which were a challenge at the time. Some of those effects became some of the first demonstration compounds later, presumably Helge and others still had those challenges in mind… making footprints in mud, falling leaves, rain/snow interacting on characters etc.

One effect involved a bunch of hay getting dumped on a character. At the time Hans Payer completed the effect via some nice scripting and syflex tricks. Now in ICE it is pretty easy, so when a thread about a similar effect was mentioned on the softimage list, and so soon after I had done the post-sim tutorial, I gave it a quick go. They basically asked for a way to use strands with the “falling leaves” compound. Here’s the result… while the collisions are not accurate the way RBDs would be I hope it’s food for thought at least. :D

Caveat: like similar tricks using the post simulation tree, motion blur is a concern… this is the kind of “quickie” effect that can often get you by, but hero shots would take a lot more effort, for instance if you had to see clearly the fibers bend and react to collisions, collide with each other, accurate mb etc. That kind of difference in the details is why feature film effects can get so hairy – often you can’t get away with simple cheats like this one.

File: softimage 2013 .scn, 237 kb

example_postSimNeedles

 

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Jan
07

Example – More value propagation in ICE

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Same basic deal as the prior example, but much simpler and using a weightmap. In this case a turbulence pretty much drives the whole thing.

The main appeal is that it’s a ‘lil planet. Everybody loves lil planets, right?

File: softimage 2013 .scn ~190kb

example_propagateValueViaWeights

 

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Jan
07

Example – Propagate Attribute Thru Geo

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I made this a looong time ago and just now came across it, added some comments. It’s pretty classic ICE, a couple of attributes sweep through the vertices of a mesh and are used to drive particle values. I have no recollection when or why I made it, was probably just futzing around, but the basic task is one which comes up fairly often. For instance, on a recent commercial I did something akin to this to create a polygonized mesh “filling” effect. Similarly, on a film a ways back I used an approach like this to select points which were allowed to simulate, causing that classic “solid object burns into dust in an instant” effect. Handy for vaporizing vampires (however, oddly enough I didn’t get to use this trick on another horror film which actually had vampires. Go figure.)

 

File: softimage 2013 .scn 1.63 mb

example_propagateValueThruGeo

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Jan
06

Example – Greeble Push in ICE

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SI-Community has a “resource dump” for scraps of stuff people want to share in an unfinished or flawed state for others to pick over. This “Greeble push deformer” I made a while back is IMHO a good candidate for such a bin, so I’m sharing it there.

BTW, if you don’t regularly visit SI-Community, why not? It, rray.de and the softimage mailing list are the heart of the softimage community. And vimeo:

It works fine, so why am I putting it in a “public rubbish bin” rather than releasing it with fanfare? Well, I’m not particularly proud of it lol. Here are some reasons why this isn’t awesome:

  • It’s a “push” style deformer, meaning it doesn’t create geometry it just deforms it. That kinda blows, it means you have to start with a very dense mesh. In fact, this is the main reason why I haven’t released the loads of terrain stuff I’ve got hanging around – I haven’t come up with a good way to make the geometry as I go and add detail only where it’s needed that isn’t too slow.
  • This is just worley noise hooked to a push deform structure and a repeat node. I was sure a zillion people were going to do it, in fact I’m amazed I haven’t seen this compound done better from someone else. Surely we have some Star Wars fans somewhere messing with ice?
  • I never bothered to add in a control to decrease the amplitude of the noise per generation. This would be easy enough to sort out but I never got around to it.
  • The deformer respects normals, but the noise itself is spatial, in other words it doesn’t “flow” along the surface, which would be nice. Note the sphere shape in the video, instead of looking like the death star it reveals this spatial, circular character of the worley noise.

But it’s hardly doing any good sitting on my hard drive so here you go – consider it an example of how to iterate a push deformer. Try turbulence instead of worley noise and it will look a little terrain like. Change the worley noise and you can make some crater-like looks. So it sucks, but in a kinda fun way. Hope it’s of use to someone.

- AM

File: softimage 2013 scene, ~3 MB

example_worleyGreebleDeform

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To make a point that the underlying concepts introduced in this simple tutorial are far more important than the simple look of our example, here are some images which derive from the simple parametric circle equation discussed. The scene used to make the anaglyph is below. This isn’t rocket science stuff, this is novice level ICE… and much of it applies to realflow, thinking particles, maya or whatever. Cheers – AM

 

And here’s the scene used to make the anaglyph version, with comments throughout (softimage 2013 ed, ~200kb) spirographEmission_anaglyph

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Andy Moorer

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