L3Deformer - Collision Deformer





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Published on May 8, 2011

L3Deformer - Collision Deformer (1/4)

The first L3 tool package for Maya we are going to release is an advanced set of deformation tools called L3Deformer. In its first release cycle the toolset contains 4 deformer. This video shows the Collision Deformer in action.

If you missed the previous L3 teasers you can watch them here


The Collision Deformer allows you to collide objects with polygon geometry, using projected collisions (directional, concentrical and cylindrical). This method does not require a dynamics simulation. Thus the collision effect is computed interactively while moving objects in the scene which provides very good control over the final deformation. Typical applications include indentations like e.g. footprints, shrink wrapping, contact animation, skin sliding (muscles, bones) and high viscosity liquid surface simulation. The deformer can also be used to sculpt the target geometry, using non elastic dynamics.

The Collision Deformer supports optional relaxing when applied to a polygon mesh. Relaxing affects nearby vertices and thus smoothes the collision effect. The relax function supports additional parameters to control surface tension and remove wrinkles.

Though the collision computation itself does not require a dynamics simulation, the Collision Deformer actually supports dynamics. Dynamics control the elasticity of the material you want to simulate. Using low elasticity the object will maintain its deformed shape. High elasticity allows the object to revert to its original shape. Elasticity timing and amount is controlled via an animation curve that provides very precise control.

In combination with the L3Library that ships free with the L3Deformer, the Collision Deformer can output its geometry displacement as vertex colors. These data can either be used to drive additional effects in Maya or during rendering. Thus you can e.g. use the collision depth as a mask to add scratches or other shading effects to deformed regions. The Collision Deformer allows to disable component displacement and output vertex colors only. Using this method you can "paint" with colliding geometry without actually deforming the target surface.

The Collider node comes with some extra attributes aside from specifying the type of projection. You can choose between inward and outward projection for concentrical and cylindrical projections. You can also specify which side of a polygon to consider during collision detection (front, back or both). Soft depth and resistance attributes simulate the effect of soft collision geometry that can be compressed to some degree. When using multiple overlapping collision objects you can also set the priority and weighting per Collider.

The release date of the L3Deformer package is scheduled for the end of May. More videos about the other three tools are currently in the making.


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