Blockbuster movies are filled with amazing destruction shots and many of them were created using Houdini. In this series of lessons, you will learn how to smash a brick wall starting with shelf tools then open up the node network to add attributes and refine the resulting simulation. Next you will dive a little deeper and add some bending and more realistic chunking of the bricks to get an even more realistic result.

To follow along, you can download the project files which include the brick wall and animated car. There are start files for all three parts of this lesson and a final scene file if you want to explore the end results. The lessons get more challenging as you go along but all the information is provided to get you smashing this wall like a seasoned professional. 

Part 1 | Off the Shelf

In the first part of this lesson, you will use shelf tools to set up a Bullet RBD simulation. You will create the dynamics network and learn how to cache out the results and load them back in for fast feedback. You will also learn how to flipbook the resulting simulation to evaluate the shot.

Part 2 | Under the Hood

In part 2, you will dive into the network and explore how the contributing nodes work together to create the simulation. You will then add attributes to define some bricks as active and some as passive and use this to control how your final sim looks.

Part 3 | Next Steps

In the last part, you will work with the glue constraints and use a Bullet Soft Constraint to create some bending to add even more realism to the shot. You will also learn how to use impact data to control the breaking of the wall and how to clump bricks together. These secondary effects give your simulation a more authentic feeling that helps bring it to life.


  • alex_budulan 6 months, 2 weeks ago  | 

    Great tutorial! Thanks Mark

  • hound2003 6 months, 2 weeks ago  | 

    Can U make a tutorial - how to use new tools in car crash?
    Metal - first deforming - then apart?

  • hound2003 6 months, 2 weeks ago  | 

    Metal - first deforming - then breaks apart?

  • spev 6 months, 1 week ago  | 

    Hello hound2003
    We can crtainly look into that

  • charlesgclark 5 months, 1 week ago  | 

    Hi Mark,

    I really enjoyed this tutorial, you have a great natural way of teaching a subject. I really like the method of explaining using the shelf tools and then drill down deeper.

    Please do more tutorials!

    Thank you

  • spev 5 months ago  | 

    Hi Charles,
    Thank you for your kind words. They are really appreciated.

    I would like to do more of this series. What would you like to learn about next?
    Best wishes

    • charlesgclark 4 months, 2 weeks ago  | 

      Hi Mark,

      I would really like to see (wish list)-
      -How to dent the car as it goes through the wall
      -A more complex multi fractured destruction - ie. a simple building using the new rbd material fracture with concrete, wood and glass
      -how to transform a deforming static object into an rbd fractured object (i.e a spaceship is animated until it hits something then switches over to bullet)

      I appreciate these are probably beyond the beginner level, I’ve done a lot of tutorials from Applied Houdini and pluralsight etc and always got a result, but yours is one of the few where I’ve understood every part and could actually apply it elsewhere, mostly due to the way you’ve explained it and using the shelf tools which most of the other tutorials ignore. I like to keep wrangles to a minimum! But I’ve only been learning for 6 months.

      Anyway hope to see some more from you


  • chunjim720 5 months ago  | 

    i use houdini 16.5 .

    i cant find bullet soft constraint.

    • spev 5 months ago  | 

      Hi Chunjim720
      The bullet soft constraint in one of the many new cool features of houdini 17.
      Best wishes

  • bowdownb4via 3 months, 1 week ago  | 

    As a beginner this is the most complicated effect I've ever attempted, but surprisingly was the easiest to follow and the most enjoyable, all because of your clear, detailed, and step-by-step explanations. Thank you so much!

    The audio could be a bit louder though, but maybe that's just me.

  • spev 3 months, 1 week ago  | 

    Thank you bowdownb4via for your kind comments. I am pleased that you enjoyed the videos.

  • Jerry Hat 1 week ago  | 

    Very clear and concise tutorials, thank you.

    I've followed the tutorial and - apart from my own errors - everything went well.

    However, when I tried to reproduce something similar with my own wall (well, a building) everything started to go wrong. I import my building, make it a RBD Glue object, add a ground plane and run the sim. My wall starts sagging with some bricks intersecting others. If I load your wall into a fresh Houdini and go through exactly the same process it's absolutely fine.

    Any ideas how I'm going wrong with my wall/building creation?

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