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Animated Snow Trails

9 September 2004 31,372 views No Comment

Animated Snow Trails continued…
Snow Trails

So far we’ve managed to make an animated displacement map that will deform the surface to make a hole for the ball to fit in. This doesn’t solve our problem however, since we need to make the ball leave a trail. As it happens, there’s a tool in Digital Fusion called “Trails”.

Add a Trails tool (Trls) to the output of the Channel Booleans tool. Leave all the settings for the tool at their default, apart from the Apply Mode which you should change to "Lighten".

Change the current frame to 0, and press Restart on the Trails tool. Drag the tool into one of the viewport windows and press play to view the result.

After applying Trails

At this point, we need to make a few small adjustments.

Firstly, making sure that you have the final output shown (as in the image above), add a Color Corrector (CC) and press the Levels button. Pull in the upper right hand side control to fit to the top of the histogram. This maximises the use of the color space and will give us a smoother result.

Levels adjustment

Next add a Blur / Sharpen tool (Blur). Set the Blur Size to about 11 or 12 pixels in Gaussian mode. This will help smooth the displacement and prevent any jaggies appearing in the displaced mesh.

Finally, add a Saver (SV) to the output of the flow, and save your image sequence as 24 bit Targas. Set Process Mode to Full Frames and turn off the Save Alpha option under the Format tab, as we don’t have any alpha information in the flow.

The final flow

Press Render to save the image sequence.

The final displacement map

You can download the completed Digital Fusion flow below:

Download: SnowTrailFlow.zip (5.0 Kb)

On the next page, we’ll apply the displacement map to the snow surface to see the final result of all our hard work.

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