Stefan Morrell takes us through the destruction of a wall using the RayFire plugin in 3ds Max, a technique used for his image ‘City Ruins’…
To ruin this building I used a lot of manual modelling, and a plugin called RayFire, which is widely used in the entertainment industry, from game cinematics to movies such as ‘2012’ – it’s the go-to tool for destroying and generally wreaking havoc on your models!
I usually fracture the models first and then use RayFire’s PhysX connection to do the simulating; I also make use of additional demolition options that allow the models to break on impact. For this model I tried to keep things very low-poly, but with RayFire you can achieve some very detailed destruction.
Here we have a before and after of a group of bricks randomly placed, and then as they appear after the RayFire simulation
Along with RayFire I manually add some destruction; this takes a lot of time but the payoff is some very specific destruction and optimised geometry. I used basic poly modelling techniques in 3ds Max; because these were to be commercial models, keeping everything optimised was paramount.
I first cut out a basic shape from the textured building facade and then duplicated a single brick around the broken opening (stopping occasionally only to move UVs around to avoid repeating textures). When placing these bricks, I followed the applied texture map so the manually placed bricks lined up correctly. I also added many broken bricks that had been fractured in RayFire.
Here we have a detail of a manually destroyed wall created using basic poly modelling techniques
The biggest thing that will help sell a destroyed environment is bucketloads of detail. Adding lots of rubble piles and other debris is essential. The focus with these is creating a good sillhouette; my images usually have a good amount of atmosphere, so I know the piles will read better as they recede into the distance so long as the shape is interesting.
Add pipes, steel reinforcing, bits of concrete and brick – whatever you can – to sell the the destruction, as these will also be seen in close up. I use displacement for added detail.
This image shows one of the final rubble piles
Featured images: ©Stefan Morrell
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