Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Magizoologist Newt Scamander takes us back in the wizarding world of J.K. Rowling.
My first feature-film VFX project, where I contributed as Generalist-TD doing lidar preparation and retopology, Houdini layout, lighting and rendering using Mantra on the "Obscurus" sequence. I furthermore supported the FX-team by developing a "cobblestone-road"- and "rooftop-snow"- HDA.
Screencapture of the cobblestone-road HDA.
The FX-Team was given the task to do destruction for serveral cobblestone-roads in multiple shots, but since the modeling department did create the roads as one subdivided-grid (and a displacement shader), the FX-TDs faced a lot of prep-work to build actual cobblestone-geometry that is suitabl for RBD-simulation. I took this as a chance to help by developing "the cobbler", a HDA that automatically converts a polygrid into a cobblestone-road consisting of individual cobblestones.
Screencapture of the snow-generator HDA.
Later in production, we had the need to generate snow on rooftops and window sills for our 1926 New York City, and after successfully releasing "the cobbler", I was again given the chance to tackle this procedurally in Houdini. I created a HDA that takes building assets as input and generates points on every polygon facing upwards. Some of those points where then deleted to generate believable looking snow-patterns, either using procedural noises, manually painted areas or a combination of both. After that, spheres of random radius were copied onto those points, converted into a VDB, the buildings VDB got subtracted, and the resulting "snow" was meshed, polyreduced to one's needs and exported as alembic.
Check out this fantastic VFX-breakdown by DNEG that goes behind the magic of the wizarding world.