New course: Rigid Body Destruction Dynamics in Houdini

This course from Liam Whitehouse covers how to create art-directed destruction effects for a photoreal VFX sequence. Using SideFX Houdini, members will learn the techniques needed to create highly detailed rigid body destruction (RBD) impact effects, using a siege warfare scene set in medieval Europe. It includes almost 7 hours of class video instruction as well as assets that you can use to follow along with Liam ( assets available only with our Premium membership).

The course shows techniques for modeling film quality assets specifically for fx fracturing and rigid body simulation while retaining their visual details. Whitehouse will also cover how to art direct the shape of impact, create destruction areas on large structures made from bricks and wood, how to use projectiles to create exciting rigid body simulation impacts with realistic timing and movement, how to fracture bricks, how to split and fracture wood, as well as how to art direct and control simulation based on director feedback using animation controls and guided simulations.

Finally, the completed scene will be rendered in Solaris and Karma XPU to create a detailed preview animation for review. This course is ideal for VFX artists wanting to learn more about how to create highly detailed rigid body destruction simulations for effects work.

Check out this course as well as over 300 other courses on our course listing page.

Here’s a listing of the classes you’ll get in the course:

Course Class Listing

Class 1: Course overview

An overview of techniques and procedures to setup rigid body simulations simulations for our medieval castle seige sequence and how to create effets ready high detail models which can be correctly fractured, simulated, and rendered.

Class 2: Brick fracturing using RBD Material Fracture SOPs

How to create detailed fractured bricks which match photographic reference of destruction effects using RBD Bullet Solver and RBD Cluster.

Class 3: Brick building RBD simulation and constraints in DOPS

Creating an RBD simulation using DOPS and the Bullet Solver to create a catapult impact point on our brick wall.

Class 4: Art directing RBD damage and simulation pieces

How to art direct the shape, scale, speed, movement and direction of the brick wall impact, enabling you to react to feedback from a VFX supervisor or director.

Class 5: Secondary brick simulations using dust particles

How to generate thousands of small fractured sharp pieces and dust/brick debris using particle instancing emitting from the falling RBD objects. You will learn how to create a library of fractured brick pieces and how to control the particle simulation and blend them realistically with the RBD simulation.

Class 6: Fracturing a wooden siege tower

Switching our subject to destroying a wooden siege tower, we look at techniques to fracture wood along a certain direction. To start with, we break one of the pillars of the tower and examine how to create realistic wood destruction, taking grain into account.

Class 7: Bending and shattering wood structures with wood grain

How to take our fracture setup from the wood grain fracturing and breaking and apply it to the full siege tower asset, smashing the top of it with flying projectiles and destroying the tower.

Class 8: Fine tuning RBD simulations based upon review notes

How to use various techniques to art direct the destruction of the wood siege tower, including adjusting the animation of projectiles timing and using guided simulations to break apart the structure in a certain direction or rotation.

Class 9: Wood splinter particle secondary FX

We enhance our simulation by using instanced wood splinter particles flying into the air, setting up our rotation and scale to match and integrate them seamlessly with our RBD wood splinters, creating a cohesive wood destruction effect.

Class 10: Rendering and presentation for fx review

In class 10 we will learn how to render the siege tower using Solaris and Karma XPU by setting up our lights, materials and render settings and output. We will also learn how to create fast quick turnaround shaded viewport flipbooks which can be used for previews and minor updates.



Liam Whitehouse is an Australian based Senior VFX artist who has been in the 3D industry since 2003. He has worked on various projects over the past 21 years including most recently environments in The Fall Guy, underwater environments in Aquaman 2, Lindon forests in The Rings Of Power, photorealistic canyon environments for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney Plus, and the hollow earth environments for Godzilla vs Kong, as well as photogrammetry rocks in Avatar 2.