I like my work to be creative and efficient.
When working on simulation, I often had to painstaikingly go through lots of clicks to recalculate several versions of a simulation or a few frames. I don’t like to devote minutes of my time to what a computer is able to do within seconds, which is why through the years I have resorted to programming and created automation tools.
In 2014, I completed a cloth simulation automation tool which proved to work well when producing a 20-minute animation featuring 9 characters in traditional costumes. Developing the tool while simultaneously using it in my day-to-day work allowed me to work out a high-level ergonomics.
I used the experience gathered in this way when designing another tool from scratch – a more flexible tool which can be used for any kind of simulation. The prototype worked well when producing the “Inner Chains” cinematic.
This year, support for Houdini’s main solvers, particles, fluid engine, and nucleus engine in Maya are planned. Support will also be provided for RF and 3dsMAX – PF, Cloth, TP, and FumeFX. For next year, support for C4D and for the main renderers is to follow. PhonixFD is also on the list, along with some other suggestions to be realized according to the users’ needs.
I’d like to start a mini-revolution in ways of simulation, which would lead to computers performing all of the mundane tasks, so that the creators could focus on the visual. Automation is based on schemes which are predefined actions. Thanks to the use of variables as parameters, these schemes are flexible. They are created based on a basic setup, and are then easy to use multiple times later for respective frames or consequent iterations of a single simulation.
The challenges lie in automatic pipeline detection, customizing UX to account for workflow and the users’ preferences. When doing simulation, we face a new issue to solve nearly every time, so flexibility is key.
The ultimate best outcome is to be able to create a new editor that would allow us to build loops, dependences, and conditional statements without knowing how to do programming – so as to be able to serve any given situation. But even a basic scheme creator works effectively and guaranteed a high level of automation.
The Kickstarter campaign I created has several goals. The main goal is to raise funds to complete the stable public version of SimBatch. Additionally, it is to research the demand for this sort of a tool. Third, it should gather a user group who wish to have impact on functionality and on the final shape. Close cooperation with animation studios and freelancers will make it possible to react and address needs quickly, and create efficient programming.
See you in a more user-friendly world of computer simulation :)