Dust Playblast Tests

In this test I added a ground plane so I know where to place the two fluids with the ground. Then I widened the ground dust to match the storm better. However, it still looks like the dust from the storm is getting underneath the ground dust.

In this test I moved the ground dust down so that it is flat on the ground plane and not hovering above it. It still appears that the dust from the storm is somehow getting underneath the ground dust.

In this test I significantly widened the ground dust so that the storm will not pass it. Right now it looks like there is too much ground dust, but I think that it might look different when there are objects in the scene that will block line of sight to the edges of the fluids.




Previous work with fluids and particles


  1. I am decent at modeling objects and environments. I am also OK at texturing and lighting. This is going to be the majority of my thesis.
  2. I have worked with fluids before, but I have not specifically tried to simulate a sandstorm. I have found tutorials and working with fluids.
  3. As mentioned above I am not great at texturing. I need to do a lot more research to make my textures look better and more believable.

Thesis Analysis


Who has done this before?

The movie Mad Max Fury Road has a scene with a huge, fantastical dust storm.

How have they done it?

The main, large core of the twisters were 3D volumes, almost entirely shader-based, allowing internal lighting. These were then wrapped in multiple, dense particle simulations that connected to the ground and sky. The sky was a 3D, animated matte painting created as numerous layers in Photoshop and assembled in Nuke. Houdini was used to create the twisters through custom gas and particle setups, rendered in PRMan using Iloura’s custom particle instancer called Mincer.

How is yours different?

The dust storm in Mad Max Fury Road is very fantastical and unrealistic. It’s a big spectacle piece to show at the climax of the first act of the movie. My dust storm will be smaller, more realistic, and will tie into the narrative more than just a big show to make your movie more exciting.



Who has done this before?

In the movie Christine, there is an old, beat up car that fixes itself and becomes new again.

How have they done it?

For the movie the crew had more than one of the car. Then they used stuff to compress the car to make it look beat up. They took that footage and played it in reverse to make it look like the car is fixing itself.

How is yours different?
In my thesis I am not taking something old and beat up and making it new again. I am taking something old and burying it, making it forgotten in place of something new.


Who has done this before?

Pixar’s movie Cars tells the story of a road and nearby town that became abandoned after a highway was built nearby.

How have they done it?

In Cars, the town of Radiator Springs is abandoned because after a highway was built nearby nobody used that road anymore. Lightning McQueen gets lost and comes speeding through the town accidentally ruining the pavement of the road. Throughout the movie he ends up re-paving the road, becoming friends with the residents and helping fix up the town. By the end of the movie cars start to drive down that road again and the town becomes revitalized.

How is yours different?

In my thesis the dust storm will come and consume the old gas station. The camera will then pan to see a modern city in the background. Unlike Cars where the old town becomes new again, the gas station will be forgotten in place of the future.

Thesis Statement

Part 1

My thesis is a computer generated scene of a 1950s gas station that gets consumed by a dust storm.


Part 2

I will be using Maya to model, texture, and light a scene of a 1950s style gas station. The scene will have a photorealistic style to it. The gas station will be located in a desert area on a beat up road. The gas station will also look “used” as in not run down but not pristine. I will then use Maya fluids and 3D containers to create a dust storm that will blow through the gas station. There will be strong winds that will blow around or blow away and loose objects in the scene.


Part 3

The scene will be a very detailed gas station from the 1950s. In the final video the camera will show the gas station and zoom in on specific details. Then it will turn to see the dust storm coming towards the station. The dust storm will look just as photorealistic as the rest of the scene. This project will show off what I can do with modeling, texturing, and most importantly, what I can do with fluids and particles.