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Publication Date
Degree MFA
Discipline/Department Digital Production Arts
University/Publisher Clemson University
Abstract This thesis presents an artistic approach of creating collapsing sand effects in Brown Bag Films' animated short, An Ode To Love, directed by Matthew Darragh. A combination of rigid body simulation and fluid simulation tools, which are available in Houdini 3D animation software version 13, was used to successfully complete the task. A detailed design and implementation process to achieve the effects is documented in this work.
Subjects/Keywords collapsing sand; effects; Houdini; sand; visual effects; Computer Sciences; Film and Media Studies; Fine Arts
Contributors Davis, Timothy; House , Donald; Penna , Tony
Country of Publication us
Record ID oai:tigerprints.clemson.edu:all_theses-2898
Repository clemson
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2019-01-09

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…is set on a remote sandy island, numerous shots involved the character interacting closely with sand. Many technical challenges arose during the production process, with the collapsing sand mound scene one of the most difficult. Because of limited…

…production time and computing resources available, as well as specific art direction, a fast and effective technique was required to handle the sand effects. After examining works related to sand animation in computer graphics, an artistic approach, referred…

…to as “hacks,” was developed to complete the collapsing sand effects needed for the film. 1 Creating a natural phenomenon such as sand dynamics requires research and development for computer graphics due to its complex material properties. Sand can…

…behave like particles, with each individual grain moving independently in microscale when observed closely. From a distance, the aggregate of thousands or even millions of sand particles seem to behave as either a viscous fluid or a shape-shifting…

…deformable object. It can flow from higher ground to lower ground under the influence of gravity, or can smoothly deform when stepped upon. Many attempts have been made to recreate the dynamics of sand in the virtual world of computer graphics. In academia…

…Bell et al. used simplified particle- and rigidbody systems to imitate a small amount of sand movement [BYM05]. The technique was accurate; however, it could not be scaled adequately for large scenes due to the heavy computational requirements…

…Zhu et al., on the other hand, took a different approach, extending a fluid solver to simulate sand in large-scale environments [ZB05] . The outcome was impressive with relatively accurate results for large amounts of sand. In visual effects…

…and computer animation productions, one of the early notable sand simulations appears in Spider-Man 3, created by a team at Sony Pictures Imageworks [ABC+07]. They applied the “tricks” of particles and rigid-body simulation available at the…