Our friends at Nash once again asked us to help doing some simulations for this epic film, which has won the 2021 Ciclope Awards in the VFX category.
There were 3 main challenges in this project: doing a zero-gravity water drop simulation, the unfolding of the parachute and the fast driven smoke and fire simulations on the re-entrey of the capsules in Earth's atmosphere.
We've started doing tests for the unfolded parachute simulation before the final model was approved, so we started with a dummy one to understand the difficulties of the task.
After several unsuccessful tries with the unfolding simulation, we've talked with our friend, Cassio Homa, which whom has worked in one of the Kingsman movies, and did some suggestions based on their approach on the same effect for the movie.
The suggestion was to use a guided simulation instead of a pure physical one. And that paid off.
In just one day we changed the setup and the difference was huge.
The fire and smoke simulations had their own challenges, since just simulating a lot of frames and just fast-forward'em wouldn't give us the result we wanted. Besides that, the client didn't want the same approach used in movies like Transformers or Gravity.
For this effect, our approach was doing deformations in the velocity field of the simulation to guide the fire and smoke, and that got us right where we wanted!
Bellow are some of our early tests for the smoke and fire simulations.
We also run some tests for the water bubbles at zero gravity, but the scene was removed from the final cut of the movie.
Below a rendered version of the shot, rendered in Houdini's Karma.