Rigid body dynamics

About a year ago I was working on a project with my good buddy Darren Cullis. It was for an EON Energy commercial that had a peculiarly involved workflow of characters being animated in 3D and then rotoscoped over by 2D animators.

While the 2D animators were doing their thing, Darren showed me a cool little thing using Softimage’s factory simulate rigid body dynamics. By having an emitter birth spheres or cubes, the RBD engine would make them cluster and move in interesting ways – almost organic ways, which isn’t necessarily how people would normally think of RBD. Usually RBD is used to simulate destruction effects, typically those scenes of mass destruction in films like 2012. But as I said, by using RBD in this way it almost gives particles a viral or bacterial looking behavior.

So I gave it a go this weekend and added one more thing to it that I though might make it seem even more alive. Each particle has a custom force whereby it subtracts its position from its emit position; i.e. each particle fights to get back to where it was born but because they all are part of an RBD simulation it means there’s a lot of jostling.

I think the end result is a motion graphics project waiting to happen.

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