Imagination Studios (opens in new tab) (IMS) tasked Fido (opens in new tab), a Swedish studio with good experience of working with water simulations, with creating a four-minute CG production for the videogame World of Warplanes.
Fido’s Anders Nyman explains: "Wargaming wanted to show some specific features from the game. One feature is that you play at all times of day, so this trailer includes dawn, day, dusk and night shots. They also wanted to show different environments and the variety of planes you can fly."
Nyman and the team used Maya (opens in new tab) for animation, Houdini and Naiad for simulations, ZBrush and Mudbox for modelling, Mari for textures, V-Ray for lighting and Nuke for compositing. Then everything was tied together using Fido's asset manager ftrack, Alembic is Fido's standard for cameras and geometry.
"Previsualisation was challenging. We needed to create a Maya shelf full of scripts just to handle all the different needs for pre-viz and animation for this show," explains Nyman, adding as an example, the animator needed a Spitfire to move at the correct speed and also be able to fire the guns in the correct way. "Creating tools that could handle these and other effects made it possible to lock the layout of each shot in a very early stage. We also had tools to create simple explosions and water effects for the pre-viz," reveals Nyman.
"This turned out to be a good approach, because the director tended to change things like that quite late. For water simulations we adopted Naiad (just before it was acquired by Autodesk).
"We had great success creating realistic simulations inside Naiad. Instead of using Naiad’s meshing nodes we used Houdini for meshing and later Maya and V-Ray for rendering. Converting point clouds to geo meshes to V-Ray meshes was a real bottleneck in terms of disk space and computing power."
Nyman explains how the team at Fido had to carefully keep track of all simulations and delete the ones that weren’t in use in order to free up space and keep things on track. "I was really amazed how easily terabyte after terabyte disappeared on our server when simulations were running."
This article originally appeared in 3D World issue 175.