Saturday, July 10, 2010

HOU - Simple electric arc effect made with volumes.

This is a simple electric arc effect that I made this morning using tools available in H10a. The goal was to have an arc of electricity jumping across two leads. I started with two spheres and used a combination of centroid and distance functions with a line node to create a line that spanned the centroids of the two spheres and would change shape to stay connected if the spheres moved. 

Next, I converted the spheres and the line to separate volumes. To get the detail i wanted, I had to increase the resolution quite a bit. I prefer adjusting volume resolution by the "By Size" option but alas this is not available in the apprentice version. 

Next, I dropped a volume vop below the arc volume. Inside I used anti-aliased flow noise to distort the density inside the volume. I exposed its parameters and animated the Y offset by a function of time. 

Finally, Used a volume mix node to add the animated arc volume to the sphere volumes and then merged that result with the original spheres. The result is a basic arc effect that spans two leads, is animated and stays connected as the leads move.

I will later try to expand on this by arcing between poles and adding upward motion to the arcs.