The "ground breaking" effect

Hello everyone,
I am a begginer when it comes to VFX with only basics of UE4’s Cascade knowledge.
And I am curently brooding over the “ground breaking” that takes place in this video (at 1:00m mark)

VFX video - careful before playing, it might be loud

I couldn’t find any relevant tutorials (only a showcase of similar effect from ImbueFX over on youtube)
So far my best guesses are:

There’s a blueprint spawning both the main pieces at the end, as well as destructible meshes.
It’s some vertex animation texture wizardry baked in houdini and exported to Unreal.

If anyone that knows how this effect works could explain it, or point me to a tutorial that does, I’d be grateful :heart:
Thanks in advance!

I’m finding it slightly hard to tell, but I bet you could do that by creating the chunks animation in your 3d tool of choice and importing as alembic. It seems to me that there’s a scale on Z once the chunks spawn, could be a shader animation as well.

If you’re on 3ds max, a quick n dirty way of getting some chunks flying is this: loran: KABOOM-MassFX

When I do this sort of thing, with few pieces like in the video I simply fracture a groundplane, animate a sphere through it. Remove the static pieces and convert the result to a bone animation to be used in Unreal as a skeletal mesh.

Shattered floor.

Collision sphere animated into floor.

Remove the unused pieces.


Bake down to parts Unreal can convert to a skeletal mesh.

Done! Shove it into game.

Note: Spend more than 10 minutes on it to get better results :slight_smile:


Will try it out once I get home, thanks for the breakdown!
It seems Maya supports alembic file format too, so I’ll see if I can get it working without Houdini this time around :smiley: