Author Topic: Animated displacement map / ground plane  (Read 1087 times)

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Offline sloanelliot

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Animated displacement map / ground plane
« on: January 23, 2019, 08:04:02 pm »
Hello all,

I have a client that is requesting a ground plane animation that correlates with an animated object above (specifically a "ripple" effect on the ground plane that reacts/pulses with the object animation). The center of the ripple needs to track (align) with the object as it moves around in the scene. From what I understand, I can use an image sequence or B&W video clip to act as the seed for the ripple effect via a displacement map? But I start to lose my strategy when I think of how I'm going to tackle syncing the object animation with this ripple effect, both timing-wise as well as location in the scene. To add insult to injury, this will be done for 4X product sets, each with their own background color, so ideally I would just use a ground plane/material vs. an actual solid plane, so I'm able to maintain alpha/reflections/etc. through the ground. Is this even possible?

Do you know of any resources here or tutorials, etc. that might demonstrate this?  I'm certainly not new to Keyshot or animation, but this one has me feeling a bit overwhelmed haha..

Hope you can help!

Offline Esben Oxholm

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Re: Animated displacement map / ground plane
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2019, 11:01:16 pm »
Yes. You should be able to create the ripple effect using an animated texture to drive the displacement, but the syncing is not going to happen.
For that I think it will be better for you to create the animation with another software (like blender, c4d, modo, houdini, maya, max, etc) and export it to KeyShot as alembic format (.abc).

Hope it helps a bit.

Offline sloanelliot

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Re: Animated displacement map / ground plane
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2019, 09:21:49 am »
Thanks, Esben!

I had another thought last night; let me know if you see any holes with this approach? I should also clarify: the "animation" is essentially just a looped turntable animation that cuts to slow-motion twice at equidistant points along the full orbit, so it's not a complex animation and timing is predictable/manageable.. Thus, the tracking for the ripple effect I'd need would also follow this same orbit/timing (helps the cause). Note: the object is oblong, so the ripple would fall under the "far" end of the object (with regard to scene origin) and orbit/sync with it.

The idea I had: what if I were to create the ripple effect on a small plane w/opacity map to feather the edges of the animation transparent (to blend with ground plane) and place the plane directly under the "impact" area of the object ... then just adjust the pivot point for the ripple plane to the same origin as the object. Thus, when I apply the same turntable animation data to the ripple plane, the effect would appear to orbit the scene origin along with the object?

Do you see any hangups I might run into here? It's a lot of setup for trial and error + fast deadline haha.. I'm also not even sure you can apply an opacity map to an animated displacement map?

I don't think there would be a way to do this with a ground plane, so I'd have to render the whole sequence out 3X vs. dropping it into After Effects (transparent) and swapping out background colors..
« Last Edit: January 24, 2019, 09:25:04 am by sloanelliot »

Offline Esben Oxholm

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Re: Animated displacement map / ground plane
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2019, 01:11:38 am »
Hi Sloan.
I bit hard to follow how everything is supposed to look and work without any visuals :)
My best advice would be just to try it out. - Do a quick simplified proof of concept test, to see if it works as you imagine.

Good luck!

Offline sloanelliot

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Re: Animated displacement map / ground plane
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2019, 09:12:12 am »
Haha fair enough!

The woes of NDA's........ I appreciate your replies. If I ever do get it sorted and it sees the light of day, I'll definitely post a followup.  :)

Offline Esben Oxholm

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Re: Animated displacement map / ground plane
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2019, 08:57:32 am »
Sure, totally understand that.
Looking forward to hear/see how you managed to solve it :)