Thing-A-Week 2020 – Week Three: D&D Tents for 3D Printing

This week I’ve left the simulations behind and modelled some scenery for D&D in Zbrush 2020, for printing on my Elegoo Mars 3D Printer.

The tent was modelled in two pieces, as it would be quite difficult to paint the inside when printed if it was all one piece. It took about four and a half hours to print one tent and base together.

The first model (shown below) had much thinner ropes and posts, which didn’t reproduce well when it was printed, so I went back into the model and increased the thickness of those elements. Also I initially modelled it to have a groove in the base that the tent fit into, but that didn’t work out either, so I removed it and instead used a boolean operation to subtract the base model from the tent so the two should press together fairly well. Fortunately this worked so both pieces sit quite well together.

The first iteration of the model.

The latest low-price resin printers are great but there are still some levels of detail that are just too small to capture.

The below are 3D renders of the final models, and below that are photos of the final prints. Some details were lost, but overall they came out very well.

I am very happy with how the prints came out, and will post pictures of them painted once that is done.

More next week!

Thing-A-Week 2020 – Week Two: Smoke Canister

Apologies for the delay – post Christmas lurgy got to me. Here is week two’s thing – a smoke canister simulation, using Tyflow and Phoenix FD.

The Tyflow setup is again, quite straightforward – here is the graph:

The first event (CanisterSpawn) generates a particle, gives it a rough canister shape and launches it into the air, with a bit of spin. This is then passed to the next event which make sure it is affected by gravity, then does an age test to work out when it explodes. At the moment it only generates one canister because I wanted to work on a single PhoenixFD simulation to start with – increasing the birth amount / rate would create multiple canisters, as required.

Once the explosion threshold is reached it spawns two sets of particles – one very short lived burst to create some birth points for Phoenix at the centre of the explosion, which only live for a couple of frames; and about 30 particles to act as tendrils. These have a higher velocity and longer life, and I’ve given them a Shape instance set to 3D Chunks just to add some visual interest.

Finally both spawned systems have age tests and are passed to the delete event when they are finished.

PhoenixFD Setup

Once the particle system had been generated and I knew where the burst position was going to be, I created a PhoenixFD Smoke/Fire Simulator, using the following settings for the simulation:

The main one that makes a difference here is the Smoke Buoyancy which is set to a negative number to make the smoke slowly fall towards the ground rather than rise up, as this is supposed to be more dust than smoke.

In addition to those shown above, I set the GPU preview option and changed the Smoke Color swatch in the Volumetric Options dialog to the tan colour seen in the video.

I created a PHXSource object and used these settings:

The Inject Power and Particles amount were animated over time to give the smoke tendrils a falloff shape.

I added a plane object with a lattice modifier to act as a ground plane so some sense of the camera movement could be had and used the Viewport Capture option to create the output – this, coupled with the GPU preview option is a great way to quickly get an idea of how the rendered simulation will look in a fraction of the time it would take to render the entire sequence.

This week is a bit of an odd one as I’m posting this late, so there will be a Week Three later on in the week. I hope this write up was informative, and I’ll be back later in the week with another one!

Thing-A-Week 2020 – Week One: Fireworks

For the first project this year, I decided to start with a bang – a fireworks simulation created using 3DS Max and the TyFlow plugin. Here is the final animation:

It’s a relatively simple TyFlow setup – here is the graph:

Click the image to open a larger version in a new tab

The ‘Rocket Launcher’ event births the rocket particles, gives them a speed, a starting location, applies gravity and a material ID to keep the colour constant. The particles are then passed to the ‘Trail Spawn + Boom’ event where the rocket trail is spawned, and a time test is carried out to set when each particle will burst. The trail particles are sent to a separate event which scales them to about half the size and does a 2 frame time test before deleting the particle. This is so the trail stays relatively close behind the rocket.

When the particles are passed to the ‘Boom’ event, they are scaled to 1500% of their size for one frame, creating a quick burst effect. They then spawn the starburst using the ‘Starburst Spawn’ event, which creates a random number of between 10 and 20 new particles emitting from the location of the parent. They are also assigned a random material ID from a selection of 4 different colours. These are then passed to the ‘Starburst Trails Spawn’ event, which creates the trails behind the starburst particles. A time test controls when the initial burst particles and their trails are passed to the delete process.

The materials setup is also straightforward – a Multi-SubObject material is created with 5 slots, each with a slighty different coloured VRay Light material in it. Material 5 is reserved for the rockets, and numbers 1-4 are for the individual bursts.

I added a simple ocean setup and a background environment to give the image a bit more visual interest. It was rendered with VRay NEXT, and put together in After Effects, where a bit of motion blur was added along with a bit of colour correction to saturate the colours a bit more.

I hope you find this write up helpful, and I’ll be back next week with another project.

Thing-A-Week 2020

I am going to attempt to create a ‘thing-a-week’ this year. It might be an animation, a simulation, a model, an image – just something created from nothing, for no reason other than to keep myself moving forward over the year. If all goes well by the end of the year I should have 52 mini projects that I have completed, showing a range of different things.

I will use a variety of software – Zbrush, 3ds Max, Fusion 360, Substance Designer & Painter etc. I’m not setting any other restrictions other than it having to be done in one week per project.

I’ll write a blog post about each project at the end of each week, detailing where necessary what was used, how it was done, the idea behind it etc.

Wish me luck!