After discovering a method to smash stuff up in 3D, I just had to try it and plunder something pretty. As a subject I retrieved a 3D model of the word “sale” I had previously constructed as a style test for a client.
It is surprisingly simple to drop objects and smash them up in Cinema 4D, the 3D software program I use. It is capable of simulating the physics of the real world. That means that all I had to do to make the letters fall onto the white floor was choose a starting location in midair for the letters and hit play. The software program took care of all the physics calculations, such as gravity, to make the animation look realistic. And you thought that 3D stuff at the movie theater was hard to do!
Of course, there were various settings to tweak. If I was not careful about specifying the weight of a letter, it could bounce out of the frame, similar to a rubber ball. Interestingly, much of my time animating the dropping letters was spent finding just the correct beginning position for each letter, so that when they hit the floor and collide with one another they remained standing and did not topple over.
Cleaving the letters into chunks was done using a plug-in called Destruction. I simply selected the letters, started the plug-in, and specified how many chunks should result. The letters did not appear to change much, though, because all the chunks were still in place as if they were glued together. That was precisely what I wanted because the next step in the animation was to make the letters explode by shooting a ball at them.
Again, I spent considerable time adjusting the speed, weight, and angle of the ball to create the most pleasing catastrophe. If the ball was too light, it would bounce off the letters; thrown too fast and it would not even show up in a frame of the animation. Each time I made a small adjustment in the ball’s angle of approach, a completely different animation would result as the small chunks of letters were propelled through the air from the force of the ball and then landed on the floor, rolling and bouncing to seemingly random resting positions.
I have never had any luck with slowing down time in the real world, but in the simulated world of Cinema 4D, I slowed down time and even brought it to a stop. It is as simple as adjusting the time scale setting of the simulated world. Just as you would scale a photograph to a smaller size on the computer, I scaled time down until it stopped.
To finish the animation, I created a soundtrack in Adobe Premiere consisting of four sound files that were included with Apple’s iLife software.
If you have questions about this project, I encourage you to leave a comment. If I can help you on one of your own projects, phone me at (602) 494-2777 or email me.