CGI Animation Process in Blizzard Animated CGI Short

 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.

The CGI Animation process in this animated CGI short was mainly based in Houdini FX. The moss was created in Autodesk Maya.
Houdini FX handles the CGI Animation process in this animated CGI short. Autodesk Maya deals with the moss creation.

 Animated CGI Short Full of CGI foliage

The 3ds max Grow FX plugin handled the initial creation of the widespread background foliage. It was then brought into Zbrush for specific alterations for that special touch.

Houdini has top quality fluid effects.
Xgen generates the feathers and moss in this shot.

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.

The receding plains of grass are more detailed nearer the camera than the distant ones using simple textured flat polygons.

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.


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