Lightwave Node: Ray Cast – Building natural and intuitive motion

We were asked to work on a series of animated product videos for a client in the mining industry. After researching existing animations in the industry we realized our work could really position our clients light-years apart from their competitors.

The simulation in various aspects of a mine pit and environment were key to the project along with building assets such as light and heavy vehicles to name a couple.

The first video presented the most challenges as our animators familiarized themselves with the unique pit landscape. Functionality of the giant heavy vehicles including speed and turning ratio were minor learning curves. Eliminating the “floating” appearance of the light vehicles on rough terrain required more effort and spawned creative opportunity.

Our solution meant building a complicated rig, which allowed the wheels of the light vehicle to move independently. Now the vehicle stuck to the rugged roads while traversing the mine pit creating a more intuitive look. Body roll, wheel rotation and left/right navigation were also used to simulate the appearance of natural movement.

Check out this explainer video from our lead animator, Josiah. There’s some interesting information on a Lightwave node: Ray Cast.

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