Dynamics – Week 15 Progress Review


Much has changed for my tractor beam since the week 8 review. My feedback for it was helpful in knowing how to achieve and improve the look. I therefore went back to looking for references, including video references, as images could not give a strong overall idea of what I was looking for.

I found a number of great references from movies as well as games that helped me grab an idea of what I wanted. Films such as “This is the End” and games like “Skyrim” had excellent uses of tractor beams and particles that I liked.

(1 minute 12 seconds)

What I particularly like about this reference is the solid beam lifting people up into the air. The plan is to create an initial beam that will lift the mannequin up into the UFO. I however, don’t want the beam to be made completely out of light (this assignment is about using dynamics). Instead I want to create a beam that would simulate this look but by using long streak particles.

I decided to also have particles spiral up from the ground once the beam touches the ground. This was inspired by the UFO liftoff in Indiana Jones 4. The rocks that spin around the ship were a great reference for the look that could add a new twist to the look of my tractor beam.


Next, I created 3 tentacles that wave out of control. This was to appear as a sort of spill from the tractor beam implying that the UFO wasn’t completely in control of how the beam behaved. I originally had the tentacle arms flailing around quickly but I preferred the gentle movement so I kept it that way. Also added an emitter on the ground with a vortex field attached to it. This was to further add effect to the particles spinning up from the ground. This was done to imply that the tractor beam had a large effect on its surroundings. I also added some goal particles to the mannequin. After a few different tests, I settled on the particles that rushed violently at the mannequin. I enjoyed watching the juxtaposition of the slow, calm movements of the tractor beams and the whip like movements of the gaol particles.

The final part I added to the tractor beam was the influence from the video game “Skyrim”.

(1 minute 56 seconds)

I particularly enjoyed the way the beam wrapped itself around the character. I took this idea and applied to my tractor beam. Instead of having it wrap around the mannequin, I decided to have it wrap around the main beam. Out of accident, I made the wraparound beams slowly drop from the curves. I liked the way they gently and slowly fell. As this reflected the nature of the rest of the beam I decided to keep it.


The heat plume was another difficulty I faced. I originally had it emitting from the main beam but after suggestions from several classmates, I decided to create several heat plumes and have them emit from the exhausts of the UFO. This had a far greater look than what I was initially going for. I am overall not entirely pleased with the movements of the heat plume but unfortunately I had ran out of time to work on it.

Another problem I faced was the movement of the mannequin. Using rigid bodies I was able to make it float up. However, using the constraints was a challenge as it took several goes to get the right constraints in the right spots. The mannequin still had several problems after that. After several test renders, I could see that the mannequin jumped all over the screen and despite testing several different fields, I couldn’t make it work. Unfortunately I could not resolve this and therefore ran out of time working on this problem.


Overall, I am pleased with the look of my tractor beam. The use of both aggressive and clam movements made my tractor beam feel natural and uncontrollable. I thoroughly enjoyed working on it. I wish I had spent more time working on the heat plume and mannequin as I feel that more work could have been done to make them work properly but unfortunately, time is an issue in this field.



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