CGI Animation Process uses Houdini FX
The Last Bastion is the latest animated CGI short from the Blizzard, game developer. For the most part, the CGI animation process uses Houdini FX. The superior SideFX software works seamlessly with Maya and Cinema 4D objects loaded. The modelling of the moss on the robot happened in Autodesk Maya. Xgen is the provider of the required mini frond-like fibres that gives the moss the correct appearance. The team had to be careful that the data would track in both packages.
Animated CGI Short Full of CGI foliage
In the scene on the open prairie, only the grass nearer to the camera was actual geometry. The rows of grass further away from the camera are strips of polygons. Flat images of grass stalks map onto these polygon strips. The use of Alpha channels makes the areas around the stalks transparent.
Rigging of both the plant geometry at the front of the shot and the planes at the rear helped them to sway in the wind. Houdini’s solver can make a library of individual plant movement cycles. Differing wind intensities controls the application of a selection of these. This method gives a natural, believable look that cuts down on computation.
Development of the soil simulation under the moss took three weeks whereas the whole plant system took more like three months.