Muller Wonderful Stuff

  • Task: FX TD for Cloud Shots

This project was one of the most exciting and memorable that I have worked on to date, due to the sheer scale and complexity of the project. I was part of a team of two TD’s who worked on the cloud shots. We had just over a month to pull off these shots during which time multiple different approaches to the shots were tried. In the end we decided to use a workflow which utilised Maya and Houdini and made the most of the strengths of each package.

We used Maya’s powerful nCloth capabilities combined with the extremely flexible way in which point data can be manipulated in Houdini. Fluid simulations were done in Maya and taken to Houdini using an in-house file format, where they were lit and shaded using the powerful “pyro” shader and rendered in Mantra.

Making Of Muller Wonderful Stuff

Early Fluid Simulation Tests

Below is a render test done in Maya of the first cloud shot. Whilst the fluid shader in Maya gave quite nice results, we decided in the end that it didn’t give us as much control as using the pyro shader in Houdini. In addition, the pyro shader has a scattering phase parameter, which simulates light scattering in volumes. This really helped sell the believability of the cloud in the environment.