May 18, 2006


The studio was faced with creating the destruction sequence using footage of the house from the show's archive. Lebed and producer Peter Chomsky reviewed all the stock footage of the house that had been shot over the last few years and picked sequences that would best show off the explosion. Lead 3D artist Mike Walls built a detailed model of the house in Discreet 3DS Max and mapped the stock footage onto the model. The model was built in four sections to conform to the desired type of explosion. It included the foundation and surrounding front yard, the first and second floor walls, and the roof.

The ground floor section consisted of the foundation and lower wall pieces, which were built to match the live action set. The upper walls were built in pieces that allowed Reactor physics simulation to be used within 3DS Max. Even though the upper walls were low-res models, the entire model still consisted of approximately 1,000 individual parts. Simulations were run using specially-shaped objects behind the walls that would push the walls outward with enough force to create the look the team was after.

"Once we had the debris moving the way we wanted, we replaced all the pieces with more detailed versions of the debris, adding splintered wood and torn drywall," Lebed explains. Flames, trailing off some of the debris, were created using Particle Flow. Matt Griffith,

Mechnology's R&D specialist, created the explosion by designing CG generated fireball and smoke elements that were animated to match the timing of the exploding debris. Additional elements created and added to the shot include an interactive light pass to illuminate the house and a shockwave that rips apart the first floor. The sequence continues with an aerial shot high above the manor showing the aftermath of the explosion. A daytime stock shot of the manor was once again used as the source plate, painted by digital artist Ben Campanaro to match the surrounding nighttime footage and remove distracting neighboring vehicles.