i started to make the hammer in the programmes i was most familiar with which is 3DS max and 3DS MAYA after i had looked into different types of hammers that peaked my interest it allowed me not to have to make many different variations which would waste time and so i started straight away on making the hickory wooden handled claw hammer which was fairly easy to make although my sketch was slightly exaggerated to the normal claw hammer and the reason for this was because when i was thinking about how hammers are made they are all mostly thin because 60-70% of the hammer is usually the handle which has to be thin for better grip for the wielder.
so for my designs i had to make the hammer bigger so the destruction of the column which is the hammers handle could be seen quite clearly when rendering it in different camera angles as i wanted to see the moment you see the crack happen before the object rips apart.
so after i had made the hammer and was satisfied, i then started to try out different types of destruction on simple cubes just to see how it would fare on a simple object and when i tried to use maya’s normal destruction it was very underwhelming to say the least because it was very limited in how you could break your objects because the programme designated the amount of chunks and how they break for you instead of being able to choose what you would like to do and for me i needed the freedom to control the physics of how it would rip apart otherwise it wouldn’t suit my idea that i had that you can see above as i wanted it to splinter or at least have the same characteristics as that.
also the other problem with MAYA’s default destruction tool was that when broken the parts didn’t have collision with one another which would stop them from falling into each other when affected by gravity. and because i wanted the physics to represent real life i instead chose blender which had a much better grasp on destructive capabilities and it was much more simple to do.
so after i had implemented my object into blender by using an FBX file just before i started to use cell fracture and bullet point constraints i wanted to test out some of blenders modifiers which i though could work well with my project of shattering an object and the modifier was called explode modifier in which it took the amount of faces that were on your object and uses them to make the object fall apart. And this did sound promising to me as you could have the pieces just fall or you could have them explode by making the collision margin active but there was a slight problem and that was that i could make the pieces fall on to the plane even if i made them rigid active bodies and the plane passive. the second fault i had with it was that when explode modifier was set it made the object shatter but instead of shattering like a block of glass it had the same characteristics as a pane of glass as you can see below but for testing i still liked how it worked and i may be able to use it in future projects.
i couldn’t apply cell fracture to my object straight away because there was a step i had to do before this which would give me that splinter effect and that was to make a plane and the reason for this was because i was going to then sub divide it and insert that into the centre of my hammer
and then after i place the plane sub divided i then extrude on the Z axis in both ways and this will give me a jagged plane and i will do this a couple of time with random rotations to give me a more complex splinter which will help when i am cell fracturing my hammer because you can cell fracture on it own and it will give you random segments but the plane will give me a wooden splinter effect as you can see that i have done this below. after i had put my planes in place i then parented all three to the hammer so the cell fracture would affect them as well as the hammer itself.
after this i brought up the cell fracture menu which at first was a bit overwhelming because it was my first time using cell fracture so i had to look at some tutorials just to grasp some of the options and what they did and after a while of tweaking the options that i picked, this is what i got below.
- i switched from the own particles at the top to child verts instead and the reason i did this is because own particles is what you use. when you have imported an object with particles attached to it so it wouldn’t help me that much as i have none and was only using cell fracture so i picked child verts because this uses the vertices of objects that are linked to the parent in this case, it is the 3 jagged planes that i linked to the hammer and what this does is to give jagged lines to the hammers topology.
- although it says the source limit is 100 i set mine to 600 and the reason for this is because the higher the source limit the more segments can be created and that will give me more jagged pieces for the handle of the hammer.
- underneath the source limit you can see the grayed out word which is scale and there is 3 different values with numbers and this represents the X, Y and Z axis for how you would like the direction of your lines to create the segments to go and the lower the value of the different directions which can only go from 1 to 0 the more the line will travel in that direction and so for me i changed the Z axis to 0.1 as that would suit my needs very well for the wood.
- i did not change any of the settings to grease pencil and noise because for the grease pencil it allows for you to draw your own lines on to the object which gives you a lot more freedom in how your object breaks but setting such a high source limit already gave me great results so i didn’t need it and the other reason was i hadn’t used it before so i didn’t want to mess with something i didn’t have any experience with. what noise does is the more you put into the more uneven the chunks that you will be generating will be so the higher the value the more random the chunks will be.
- i set my recursion to 1 and what this is the amount of time it will fracture the object so the more you have the more times it will fracture so for me i only needed it to fracture once as there was no need for overlay. the random value beneath recursion is what activates the fracture generation and if it is set to 0 the fracture will not repeat fracture of the same segment over and over again so i set mine to 0.50 as i didn’t want to go overboard with the amount of fractures on each segment .
- now then after this there were options of what kind of patter you would like to recur when making the segments and they were Random, Small, Big, Cursor-close and Cursor-far and what i used out of them was cursor-close and the reason for this is because it works best for my needs as cursor-close is highly useful for the use of intentional control of in my cases the splinters are generated. what that means for me is that i can intentionally have the main impact for where most of the splinters should be generated where the three jagged planes are as they have been placed at the base of the wooden handle. when this is combined with the Z axis it will make the base of the hammer quiet weak and will have the most splinters throughout the object.
- i set my clamp recursion value to 0 because what clamp recursion does is that it sets a limit for blender other wise without clamp recursion the amount of shards that would be generated would be infinite and would never stop. as mine doesn’t need to have more than what i have chosen for the source limit at the start and below you will see what i was left with. also clamp recursion when set to a certain value can be bad because it may leave you with segments that haven’t been fractured at all next to a segments with many fractures as it will look really off-putting.
as you can see above after i had my cell fracture options in place i could then press okay and watch the process of what cell fracture does to an object which as you can see above it encased the object into a cube and then the cube will start to fracture but because the object is inside the cube the object will have the same fractures the cube is getting and that is just how the voronoi diagram algorithm works. after this process happens cell fracture then put the fresh object which has been segmented into a new layer so if you would like to go back you can make another version just encase you would like to change the way it shatters.
now that i have my object cell fractured the next thing i did was just to test to see if it is working and so i made a plane to put my hammer on and i made that a passive rigid body and the hammer an active and i played the animation and i came up with this.
now before i go any further it did take me a while to get the hammer how i wanted it to be as i was saying before with the layers and how you can go back and change certain aspects to it and i did make a new rendered hammer for the last renders and the reason for that was because the first cell fractured hammer went well as a test bit as you can see it was cracked a fair amount because i didn’t know what i was doing at the time and i messed up objects movement and i couldn’t restore to how it was so i learned for my newer hammer to not move the individual pieces as that will mess up its non shattered default state.
as you can see the hammer isn’t falling straight away and i achieved this by deactivating the rigid body dynamics of the hammer and what this does is to suspend the hammer in the air and to stop it from falling as before this the hammer would come apart instantly when i pressed play on the timeline and i needed to stop that because i wanted to have things smash through mostly just UV spheres and the same hammer but using that as the object that smashes it as you can see i did a test with the UV sphere on the hammer when it was just cell fractured and deactivated.
as you can see the test with ball went well where i just animated the ball from A to Z but for my actual animation i would like the ball to be affected by gravity and start to drop so for this i would need to go back into the rigid body options for the sphere change the time where its animated and when it isn’t so what i mean by that is if i were to make animation from frame 1 to frame 15 i would key frame them normally on the timeline but then go into rigid body and make it so the balls animation actually ends at frame 14 which would then give the ball a drop off point for frame 15 which is exactly what i am looking for.
also the animation above was with the ball with only a mass of 1 which is extremely light and shouldn’t be able to shatter the hammer so easily so the next part of my process with the hammer is to add bullet point constraints to my hammer which will give my hammer internal structure and what this does is to allow me to edit the structure and update it so i can edit how many breakable points in my constraints there should be to test how sturdy it can be.
now i will select my hammer and press the X constraints button and what this will do is to create a constraint for every single object that is in the hammer so it can take a while especially because my source limit was up to 600 and that would make 600 constraints as well. the reason it takes a while as well as cell fracture is because both of the ad-dons are not multi threaded into blender like the physics tab so it can take blender a little longer to complete the tasks also below i will explain some parts of the bullet constraint tool menu which was looked into.
- search radius is the radius of how far it will search for a neighbouring constraint to stick to and what that does is the higher the value of the search the more stiff your object will become and this would work very well if you were making an object that had a concrete or brick material as it would make those objects very sturdy to any kind of force which is thrown at it.
- what neighbouring limit does is the amount the constraints can stick to as for mine every 1 constraint will stick three other s and so on but some time and object will need more than just three so you will need to raise the value to keep it in place.
- override iterations can be used with either the search radius or the neighbouring limit because override iterations will keep your object completely solid with no cracks at all until an object interacts with it because some objects can start in an animation and a part of it will come off on its own and you do not want that so this helps keep it together.
- and what break does is to allow you to pick the value of how fragile your constraints can be so that the object will break into more pieces and will be less sturdy and more vulnerable.
- ground connect is that is best used on building foundations like columns and such because with this option you can select the bottom of the column and the plane that it is on and combine them so when it gets destroyed the bottom of the column will still be stuck to the floor.
after the hammer has been give X constraints to give it structure it has also turned off the deactivation of the hammer which was allowing to be suspended in the air or on the plane and i need to be suspended as that would complete the process of the hammer because then i can then animate objects hitting the hammer and it will be structurally stable as well as standing but below is it without the deactivation and with deactivation.
so as you can see from the test above the constraints work as bungee cords for the hammer which you don’t see in the final render but when dynamics are not on it, it will collapse under its own weight kind of like a building when demolished so to apply the dynamic again i would then have to copy active while one of the segments are active and this will apply to all the others which will then give me what you can see above which is a hammer which is standing and sturdy although the is a bit to sturdy for my licking and i would like to be a bit weaker so how we accomplish this is by updating the constraints and going back into the menu.
although in the above GIF the breaking points were actually set lower than what you can see because at a value of 10 the hammer has a good quality splinter effect where it retains structural integrity. now with that problem i want my animation to be slow motion so i can have nice shot of the hammer being shattered in different angles and ways.
so when you are going to render an animation in slow motion you will need to go to the render tab in blender and it will give you an option to re map the frame from lets say 1 to 100 frames and the amount of frames you want for each frame should actually have 30 frames within it so it can slow down a lot more because of the added frames you will need to extend your timeline because of the change and the results will be quite nice as you can see below with the two different renders.
although i tried making them slower in premier afterwards but that instead made the animation more choppy because it was slowing down to much to show each so i left it how it was, and that was the process of how my hammer was made.