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Here's How To Create Digital Destruction In Blender

These awesome carnage-causing animation techniques will put you one step closer to becoming a true CGI wiz.

by Beckett Mufson
17 July 2014, 5:00pm

Visual effects-heavy movies have been wrecking box-office records left and right, drawing crowds in with the promise of big robot fights, bigger explosions, and anything else a massive budget can offer. The cream of the visual effects crop often look like pure magic to the untrained eye, a craft only achieved by the most seasoned designers. Luckily the very trained eyes over at Blender Game found a carnage-filled tutorial for making fantastic VFX demolitions in the comfort of your own home, sans-Hollywood funding or years spend years behind a screen.

Blender is the open-source 3D animation and graphics software that helped digitally ressurect an ancient spider and create a tongue-in-cheek robot world full of Internet jokes, along with countless other DIY, computer graphics projects. With the tool set that digital instructor Gleb Alexandrov passes on to his viewers, this hotbed of grassroots creative animation is only going to grow hotter. Here are our top three favorite destruction techiques taken from the tutorial, guaranteed to spice up any stay-at-home animators' motion graphics abilities.

1. Unconstrained Rigid Body + Fracture

Rigid body fracture is the classic image of destruction—anything from ancient Greek pavillions to the Empire state building can be destroyed this way. After adjusting your settings to the specs that Alexandrov outlines in the video, the trick here is to disable the animation right before impact, allowing Blender's physics engine to do it's thing.

2. Cloth Simulation + 0 Stiffness

The cloth simulation stuck out to us because of the creative way in which Alexandrov uses it to animate a complex type of destruction. While the cloth simulation is normally used for blankets, clothing, and curtains, using the zero stiffness settings (also outlined in the video) creates the same effect as crunching metal. The instructor notes during his demonstration,  "If we lower stiffness and set it to zero, the cube will no longer [collapse like cloth]. It will behave more like a steel door which is being attacked by a monster, which is a pretty cool effect."

3. Boolean Modifier

Last, but not least, the Boolean Modifier is especially awesome for us because of our deep love for Samurai movies. No display of superior swordsmanship is complete without some bamboo, buildings, or solid stone masterfully hacked into pieces with a few swift katana strokes. And Alexandrov makes the effect ridiculously simple to reproduce.

"It's not even a technique at all, because it's too easy," he quips as he unveils the secret method. Simply create some super thin boxes, join them together, then activate the Boolean Modifier to subtract it from the cube using a difference mold. Voila, activate the physics and it will simply slide apart. If only chopping onions was this simple.

If you're like us, you can already feel your animation mojo amping up to new heights. Keep honing your skills by watching all of Alexandrov's tutorials on his YouTube channel, and by keeping an eye on Blender Games for more tutorials, news, and inspiration.

h/t Blender Game


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