VFX

Torch Fire

Created using Maya Fluid Effects.

Pouring a glass of Water

Created with Houdini FLIP fluids.

Smoke, Fire, and Rain

I really enjoyed making these using maya particle effects. Oddly enough, the only part that sucked was rendering. Fire particles and rain particles only render properly in Maya Hardware, while the smoke only rendered properly in Maya Software, and the rest of the room only rendered the right way in Mental Ray. So I had to do several render passes. The problem I ran into using render layers was that if, for example, I put the fire on its own render layer, the table wouldn't pass in front of the fire like it's supposed to so it would look like the fire was on top of everything. I combatted this problem by putting some things on separate render layers, but also applying a Black Hole Lambert shader to everything that I didn't want to show up in that render so that it would subtract from the alpha channel of the fire.

Rigid Bodies Simulation

Created using rigid body effects in Maya.

Soft Bodies experiment

For this one, I chose to experiment with using soft body dynamics on his hair so that the secondary action would animated automatically and correctly. At first, I just made the hair itself a soft body and set evey vertex on the hair to have a goal weight of 1 except for the vertices I wanted to move (namely the front of the hair and the little hair sticking out of the top). While this worked immediately, I wasn't completely satisfied with the results. The hair would move and bounce, but it wouldn't "flow" if that makes sense. It looked like the parts would move as a solid mass. So instead of making the hair itself a soft body, I made joints for the parts of the hair I wanted to move and smooth binded it to the hair. I painted the weights for the joints so they could control the vertices I wanted them to control. I then integrated the joints I created with the original joint system of the character so they could move along with the rest of the rig. Then, I made spline IK's for each of the new joint chains I made and made the spline curve itself a soft body (duplicate, make original soft) and made the duplicate a goal. Then, I selected the particles that were made along the spline curve and lowered the goal weighting of each of them a little more as the particles got further from the head so that it could move similarly to a tail. Once I played the animation I made, the hair worked almost exactly how I wanted to. I just had to mess with the goal weighting until it moved enough, but not too much.  I also did the effects on the Jell-o at the end and the particles in the beginning.

Pouring Syrup

Created in Houdini using Viscous FLIP Fluid effects.