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Galactic Battle


The most recent project that I've completed. Galactic Battle is a large-scale battle scene. It is rendered in Karma XPU inside Houdini, my second USD project after the Small Waterfall project.

Responsible for all aspects except models for ships and mountains.



Before starting the ideation process, I knew I wanted to do a project with an enormous sense of scale and a bunch of explosions. I was inspired by some of the camera moves and cinematography of a Dreadnought trailer from 2014 that I saw on Vimeo. I started dissecting and planning my shot and blocking out and flipbook possible camera angles, motions, tracks, and dollys for my shot.


I made progress every week and spent the first 3 to 4 weeks getting the shot's timing, motion, and camera movement just right. After I was happy with how the block out of the scene looked, I created the actual explosions. One explosion combined an initial burst plume, smoke trails, shockwave, embers and debris, and I had to do 6 of them of varying sizes and shapes.

To create a library of explosions that I could pick and choose from, I decided to wedge some parameters and create massive flipbooks of different explosions to fine-tune and pick and choose what explosions looked the best.

After wedging every day for almost 2 weeks and getting to the best possible explosions shapes by the process of eliminations and keeping the best attribute values, I started to lookdev the explosions inside of a LOP network in Houdini.  I used the Pyro XPU Preview node to shade the explosions.

The early blackouts were a good way to previsualize the placement of the explosions and the tracers that would be causing the explosions. A lot of my project took shape in this phase, because I was constantly moving models and stuff around, changing the backgrounds, playing with focal lengths etc.

Explosion Layers






Cloud scatter and layout

Below is my LOPnet, I created a custom controller so I could turn the geometry on and off as needed when I was rendering different layers with mattes.

All the layers and AOVs were composited together and graded inside of Nuke. 

Checkout other portfolio piece breakdowns here

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