Simplicity to Complexity

By Duncan Brinsmead - 14 Aug, 2011 - Maya

Simplicity to Complexity



 Reflection Fractals

One can create complex renders from very simple scenes using raytraced reflections. Here are some examples from my presentation. The scenefiles for these are included below. Much of the work is to get good specular color values. In some cases values greater than 1 are useful where one can increase brightness each bounce rather than simply always getting darker.



Sphere inside tetrahedron (click to enlarge)



Sphere inside sphere (click to enlarge)


Setup used for tetraSphere (below)


tetraSphere (click to enlarge)



Four spheres at cube vertices inside cube with 3 cylinders


Dynamic Soap Bubble Film

One can easily simulate the effect of swirling colors on a soap bubble film with a 2d fluid texture. By controlling specular color with texture density one can also simulate the way variation in film thickness results in rainbow colors due to constructive and destructive interference of light from reflections from the inner and outer membrane. (scene file included below)


Obital Debris Chain Reaction


The Kessler Syndrome is an effect where collisions between orbiting debris can cause a runaway chain reaction where in the end all bodies are broken into fine debris and it becomes impossible for man to launch into space. This is simulated here with colliding nParticle systems. (scene included below)


MakeLoopy MEL Script

MakeLoopy applied to a poly torus with smoothing applied.

MakeLoopy is a fun little script that can generate random tubes using the bridge tool. Put makeLoopy.mel in your scripts folder. Then select an object(s) and type makeLoopy with a desired number of iterations, for example "makeLoopy 20". It will then run the bridge tool on random pairs of faces. The result looks best when smoothing the mesh (3 key).




Many of the scenefiles from my talk are included here. The mandelbrot ones are all available in the previous Mandelbrot Madness post.







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  • Games
  • Design Visualization
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membrane | 9 months ago
membranes are used in water purification plants.. they play vital role in purifying water..for more infio please visit membrane
membrane | 9 months ago
nice article
samir50 | 5 years ago
hello Drea Duncan please I need you help When I use 2D container and 3D container i mean things Thank you very much
Edited by samir50 5 years ago
DrWeeny | 5 years ago
Really interresting article. Lots of tricks. Thanks for this.
Edited by DrWeeny 5 years ago
Surreal-Reality | 5 years ago
This stuff is pure genius! It illustrates not only a few more specific effects, it shows an entirely new way of thinking about creating visuals. It would have never occurred to me to use reflection and fluids to achieve depth, let alone pfx toon to create the geometry. I love procedural stuff of any kind, as well as abstract art, so this entire blog post just made my day! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.
Edited by Surreal-Reality 5 years ago
tkaap | 6 years ago
Along similar lines, I've been tinkering with Inversion Fractals in Maya. Here's the pretty pictures so far: Here's a review of the necessary math.
ViCoX | 6 years ago
That was very interesting, even for a Softimage user! : ) I hope you will make more of these!!
stephen lindley | 6 years ago
Make loopy, is great, especially if you create more than one object, say 4 cubes with 2 x 2 x 2 sub divisions then merge to one object and run the script. Hours of fun thanks so much duncan
Brad Stilwell | 6 years ago
Ah Duncan you're a star thanks mate!
duncan-brinsmead | 6 years ago
I've uploaded the Eye of Sauron scene for you (see above) along with the drawing machine scene.
Brad Stilwell | 6 years ago
hi Duncan the one scene i can't seem to find that I'd like to take a look at is the 'Eye of Sauron' example that you mention in the video/ Would it be possible to post that please? Thank you!
Brad Stilwell | 6 years ago
Great stuff very inspiring thanks Duncan :-)
RobPhoboS | 6 years ago
Hi Duncan, Thanks ever so much for continuing to upload these and the fantastic videos and lectures ! I've been longing for someone (clever) to create a 3d Mandelbrot type of plug in for Maya ever since watching 'The Secret Life of Chaos'. Very intriguing.
joelogden | 6 years ago
This really impressed me at SIGGRAPH. Thanks for posting it up here so we can all play around with it.
pixelmonk | 6 years ago
far from falling.
kealala | 6 years ago
You're a great scientist , and you created a time ; but now , Maya is falling.
mayanic | 6 years ago
wow - never though about doing such stuff in maya keep on duncan ;) i once wrote a little script that animated the extrudes one after another via history to let a tree grow for sure one can animate a makeLoopy-sculpture . .. br mayanic