Hey great RTVFX community!
I’m Andy and I am happy to join the party here.
Let me show you first the effect I am working on, after which, those who are interested can find the sequence breakdown and a couple of sentences about me.
Cut when pieces are emitted from the hand:
Here is the general overview of the pipeline:
- Using Oculus Quest 2 and its hand tracking feature (no controllers), hands and fingers movements feel quite natural
- Oculus’ hand skeleton is a bit different from the standard mannequin in Unreal, so I have created a custom skeletal mesh in Houdini and tweaked the existing inverse kinematics solution (UBIKSolver) to work with it
- Pillar assembly is a VAT (vertex animation texture) I made in Houdini. Internally it is RBD (rigid body dynamics) sim with custom trajectory solvers and timing management
- Stream of emitted pieces is driven by Niagara, because I want to fully control its trajectory - whenever I move or rotate the hand, newly spawned particles follow the updated path
- Stream emission is attached to the event of opening the hand. I’ve added some infra to know when a finger is opened/closed so I could plug and swap effects with little overhead
The next learning and building plans are:
- Landing pillar on the floor, accompanied by ground destruction
- Adding secondary effects for pillar construction, like dust coming out when large pieces are put into place
- Adding materials around the Ice theme
- Adding proper accumulation effects around hands and more nuances to pieces casting
- Adding sound effects, want to explore the use of collision data from Houdini to generate a believable sound layer
- And to continue having fun with this
And here is my story in short - I’ve been having a great journey building startups and doing things like data engineering and machine learning, when got the chance to try VR for the first time (the game was Superhot VR) and……
I was hooked and knew what I wanted to work from there on.
A couple of years forward from that, and I am happy to start sharing the things I am learning and building.
Thanks to those of you who’ve got that far, and please ask the questions if you’d want to know more.