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Some Cool Fluid Animations


Ian McGlasham makes some pretty cool fluid animations in Blender.

And okay, the next one is not a fluid animation but I'll include it anyway :)

About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. These do look cool but unrealistic. I do not know much about the fluid simulator in blender but from all the demo's I've seen, it looks like it lacks a surface tension property. I would love to see a clip where someone pours a real glass of water and also models a fluid simulation of it and render the two side by side.

    • Unsettlingsilence on

      If you look at it closely, you realize the scale of the surface is very large while key scale indicators seem to be left out so you are left assuming these are glass sized cubes when the water behavior looks to be set to a larger setting. Ultimately, though these renderings are art and perfect realism may take so long as to not be worth the effort when it looks good enough for the untrained eye.

  2. Liquify - 3000 samples - 110 hours.
    Alice - 2000 samples - 100 hours.
    Liquid Cubes - 1000 samples - 73 hours.
    Cloth Cubes - 1000 samples - 31 hours.

    Rendered on an ageing (8 years old!) i7 920 with 12 GB of ram
    using an overclocked (by 14%) GTX580 with 1 GB ram.

    The increased samples for "Liquify" and "Alice" were because of the render node set up to approximate absorption which created a little extra noise when rendered with caustics.

    Having learned a little more about cycles since creating these renders I am confident these render times could be reduced significantly with acceptable quality differences.

  3. Thanks for the comments but the animations are more a testament to blenders power than my skill. They all consist of fairly simple procedures:

    1. A little bit of design (maybe an hour)
    2. Creating and setting up a few simple objects in blender (another hour or so)
    3. Leave the machine for a day or two while blender calculates the good bits for you.
    4. Setting up some fairly simple textures, lighting and camera moves (an hour or two)
    5. Leave the machine for another few days while cycles renders.
    6. Gather the rendered files together in the compositor and adjust a few simple colour settings (20 minutes)

    I can create tutorials for them if anyone wants! (although I would largely just be revisiting ground covered in excellent detail by Andrew Price and Blender Cookie)

        • a Vimeo user, cmomoney, has (today) created an amazing script to automate the process of converting each frame of an object animated with blender physics to a single, shape keyed object.

          This allows you to control the position, scale, rotation (anything really!) of things like cloth, rigid bodies and softbodies, so we will produce a tutorial to recreate the bouncing cubes using this new script.

  4. Ian,

    Nice work. I just started messing with the fluid simulator myself. I'd be interested in your settings for the "liquify" file. For example:
    How many blender units does the geometry span?
    Domain resolution?
    How much smoothing?
    How many subdivisions?
    Did your fluid penetrate the obstacle (if any) with such high resolution?

  5. We have Google summer-code this year, are we getting any updates on our fluid simulator ?.

    Siggraph for the last few years have shown us some really great simulations on GPU's it would be nice to improve blenders simulator.
    Even the latest terga mobile chips have done some impressive fluid simulations.

  6. Speaking of render times, does anyone know what it would take to make blender run on a parallel computer? Considering this:
    I think you can bypass the whole CPU/GPU thing and really start speeding things up.

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