The most detailed helicopter crash ever

This is probably the first interview I have done for a piece of work that hasn’t yet been finished. Alf Martin Løvvold 3D generalist at Gimpville created this spectacular 28 second short piece which contains an insane amount of detail, everything from the debris to the foliage to the people running and climbing around in the scene look like something out of a feature film. Below is a short interview about the Helicopter Crash scene.

1) Could you tell me a bit about where you are from and how you got into 3D art?

Got interested in 3D way back when borrowing a CD from a neighbour containing a free version of Caligari TrueSpace 2.0 ( age 14, now 31 )

2) Why did you create the HELI CRASH scene? Is it for a larger project?

Just for fun really, trying to learn some new techniques to improve my work and also make some kind of shots along the way.

3) What tools did you use to create the short and how long did it take?

Maya as my primary platform – for the last 12years or so. I made these shots over a course of 3weeks, on several late nights. I do a lot of various 3D tasks, but often doing speedy previz sequences so used to have a pretty fast turnaround. So this is kinda a rather heavily pimped out previz – way more detailed that I’ve done before. Fun stuff.

4) What techniques did you use to get the scene to look as good as it does?

I sit on quite a large asset library from doing 3D / previz over the years, so quite a large portion of the assets are pre-made. Though, most of them needed texture work. I tried to randomly scatter foliage / details as much as possible, avoiding to much custom placement work. Heavy use of instancing / proxies to keep render times low. Also tried to keep stuff dynamic to make the shots look interesting and dramatic.

The sequence uses all kinds of techniques, like nCloth, nDynamics, nHair, Fluids, Bullet physics, Alembic caching, various particle instancing, shattering & scripts – both free and commercial and so on.

5) Did you create it entirely by yourself or did you have any help?

Just myself on this little fun project, though I had a good buddy of mine animate the character in the heli. I haven’t got too much spare time apart from work, family, house – so I got to be effective with how I spend my late hours to get some quick results.

6) What problems did you come across and how did you solve them?

No problems really, just having in mind keeping things optimised and mostly low poly and baked – though I’ve learned quite a bit through this project.

7) What projects do you have planned for the future?

First to complete this little dummy-trailer project of mine. Mainly done with intro scenes, now soon on to the final 20sec sequence. Bring the destruction.