Mausoleum Ghost

I created this scene in April 2018 partly in order to learn several new pieces of software. These included SideFX Houdini (for particle effects), NextLimit’s Realflow (for fluid simulation) and 3DQuaker’s Forester plugin for C4D. I also used many of the tools in my usual arsenal: Octane render, C4D, Zbrush, Maya (with Arnold render), the Quixel Suite for texturing, and the Adobe CS.

mausoleum_ao_bake
The mausoleum after modeling, with the ambient occlusion map applied in Maya (baked with Arnold) (4.11.18).

The first step was to create the models I wanted to use. In this scene, this was relatively easy; I only needed to create the mausoleum and the (simple) gravestones from scratch. I could use Forester to create the plants much more simply and with greater variation than making them from scratch, and I could use realflow and houdini to simulate all the effects I would need. I also created a simple figure in Zbrush to use as a guide for the Realflow mesh — the Ghost.

forester_grasses
The grass after creation in forester and texturing. Using Forester allowed me to build grass with motion and variation quickly to give the scene a more natural feel (4.12.18).
grass_comparison
An Octane live-view render of the scene after building and texturing the rest of the static elements in the scene. The “ADQUIESCO” on the mausoleum is generated from a normal map I created in Quixel Suite’s NDO (4.12.18).

Next I set up the Realflow simulation — first creating and texturing the liquid, then using a magic daemon to pull the liquid onto the figure I built. I was keyframing elements for the animation along the way, including the passage of time using an Octane daylight tag.

realflow_hidden_lines
The fluid simulation in the C4D viewport (4.13.18).
realflow_octane_live_viewer
The fluid simulation in the Octane live viewer, for comparison. I ended up turning down the amount of generated fluid because it needed to form a smaller shape (4.13.18).

magic_0

magic_1

magic_2
The Realflow daemon at work, pulling the fluid into the shape of the figure, once activated (4.14.18).

Now that I had the fluid simulation figured out, I just needed to keyframe a few more things, like the color and consistency change in the fluid once the sun hits it, and create the particle effects in Houdini. Fortunately, Houdini is very powerful and easy to learn, so making smoke effects didn’t take too long.

salt_pillar
An Octane live view render of the figure after the fluid changed color (4.14.18).
houdini_pyro_explosion_vdb
Creating the second smoke / explosion effect in Houdini (4.15.18).
all_elements_c4d
All the elements of the scene together in C4D! Along the right-hand side you can see a list of the various objects and their tags, and along the bottom you can see the various textures (4.15.18).

Once everything was keyed, I did a test render, made a couple of small changes, and did a full-res render (which took about 30 hours at 1080p using Octane Directlighting w/ 128 samples). Frames with smoke in them tended to take longer to render, because the program has to calculate the complex way that light passes through a “volume medium” like smoke or fog. Below are some stills from the final render.

full_res_ghost_20

full_res_ghost0324

full_res_ghost_515.png

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