Next level visualisations

21 September 2018

You want your animations to be as realistic as possible. So do we. Therefore, our 3D designers are always looking for new developments for creating detailed 3D animations.

Two of them, Stefan Siderius and Thimo Bloemhof, would like to tell you about a project where they can apply a new technique.

Phoenix FD for liquids and gasses

With the plugin Phoenix FD Stefan and Thimo can create physically correct simulations of liquids and gasses. These are difficult to visualize, because the movements depend on a large number of factors. For example, the density of the substance, temperature, forces or speed and pressure with which the substance moves. To elaborate this complexity a lot of time and enormous computing power was required till recently. Now the process has become a lot easier.

“For us as 3D designers, it is a great new tool that offers a lot of new possibilities. Physics is looking for models that can predict how objects move, for example a wave at sea or the gravity of a brick. Phoenix FD uses these physical laws and mathematical algorithms to provide insight into hydrodynamics,” says Stefan.

“Due to this plugin, our animations are much better as they become more accurate and give a good visualisation how a case of a customer will look in real life.”

Naturally, this explanation requires a comparative product survey. In the accompanying example, you see how a ship of about 70 meters sails at sea. In the breakdown, you see the traditional approach and the version with Phoenix FD.

In the traditional version, it stands out that the ship has not got any interaction with the water. There is no bow wave and the wake wave is added in post-production as a flat image.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Important parameters

In the studio we have re-built this shot with our Phoenix FD.

The parameters that are important in this simulation are the scale of the scene (mm, cm or meters), the sailing speed of the ship and the course of the sea (the height of the waves).

The scale is clear, an open ocean with a medium-sized ship of about 65 metres. The speed is searched on Wikipedia, on average the sailing speed of these kind of ships is ~30 knots, about 60 kilometres per hour. For this case, we have chosen an average scenario with waves that are about 1.5 metres high.

Do not accelerate too quickly

The next step is creating an animation of the ship. Hereby it is important that you do this as it would happen in the real world. A ship this size cannot accelerate to 30 knots in 1/10th second, so we have omitted this here.

In our new version, you therefore see that the ship starts from standstill and reaches speed within 6 seconds. Here you can perfectly see how the wave develops itself as the speed increases. As soon as the ship has reached speed you see that the bow and wake wave have developed themselves. At the back, the interaction of the water surface with the jet of water raised by the propeller stands out.

When water endures extreme turbulence, you get bubbles and foam that float on the water surface. During the creation of the simulation Phoenix FD sees these values and automatically creates foam and bubbles. You can clearly see this in the middle of the wake wave where the propeller has raised water and by the formation of the wake wave. Here the wave is that high that it automatically overturns and disintegrates into bubbles and foam. Below you can see the difference between detailed and undetailed.

Image ..: On the left undetailed water surface and and on the right the water surface with the details like foam and waves.

The more detailed, how heavier it becomes

The more details we want to show in the end product, the more detailed our simulation must be. This comes at a price, namely the time it takes to create a simulation. The animation from the breakdown is calculated in about 12 hours.

Creating a simulation is done in the following way:

Imagine that you have a bucket of marbles and you are going to calculate each position and movement of each marble 25 times per second and every interaction they share. This is briefly what happens. Do you want more detail in this simulation and you make the marble twice as small, you would need 2x2x2 (twice as many marbles per shaft; height, width and depth) as many marbles and the simulation becomes exponentially much heavier.

Realistic result

Now the simulation has been created, the total must also look realistic. We have taken the opportunity to also slightly upgrade the lighting, in addition to the movement and simulation. We use HDRI images for this. These are 360-degrees pictures that store the lighting information. So, it can be deduced how much light there is in the area and how bright a lamp shines, for example. This is not possible with a normal picture, a bright lamp is just white and lacks the intensity that the light in the real world indeed has. The light information ensures that we have a beautiful low-lying sun, what assures for a nice contrast in the clouds (see image ...).

Image ..: On the left without light processing and on the right with light processing.

And this is how we create next level visualisations.

Phoenix FD is a perfect example of how we continuously apply the latest developments in concrete examples for our customers. We continue to innovate and therefore the visualisations we create, become more beautiful, more detailed and more realistic. So, we are occupied with next level visualisations on a daily basis.

Would you like to know more about the services of C4Real? Please do not hesitate to contact us.

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As an international company, we work for customers around the world. Our office is located in Enschede, where we would like to inspire you and meet you.

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