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Check out neat free Houdini sparse GPU fluid solver Axiom

Thursday, January 14th, 2021 | Posted by Jim Thacker

 
Former ILM FX TD Matt Puchala has updated Axiom, his neat free GPU-accelerated sparse gaseous fluid solver for Houdini, intended to provide a faster alternative to Houdini’s own Sparse Pyro solver for look dev.

Build 4 of Axiom supports colour sourcing, making it possible for users to simulate coloured smoke.

A faster alternative to Houdini’s spare Pyro solver for look development
First released last fall, Axiom is a GPU-accelerated sparse gaseous fluid solver.

Like the Sparse Pyro solver, it’s intended to provide near-real-time viewport feedback on complex fire and smoke simulations, speeding up look development.

However, unlike the CPU-only Sparse Pyro, Axiom is GPU-accelerated via OpenCL, falling back to the CPU if a simulation exceeds GPU memory: each GB of GPU memory is enough for around 8.5 million voxels.

According to Puchala’s teaser video, simulations run 6-11x faster in Axiom than the Sparse Pyro solver.

(We haven’t seen any comparisons with Houdini’s Minimal OpenCL Solve mode, which wasn’t introduced until after the original release of Axiom, in Houdini 18.5.)

 

 
Controls for smoke and fire simulations – now including coloured smoke
Axiom can use either geometric primitives or VDB volumes as geometry sources, with Houdini 18.5 users getting support for NanoVDB, Nvidia’s simplified, high-speed, read-only representation of the VDB format.

It supports a range of “typical settings” for Houdini gaseous fluid simulations, including buoyancy, dissipation and turbulence; and fuel, density and temperature parameters for combustion sims.

To that, Build 4, released earlier this week, adds the option to use colour information from the source shape or VDB, and to advect colour data, making it possible to simulate coloured smoke and explosions.

Pricing and system requirements
Axiom is available for Houdini 17.5 and above, running on Windows, Linux and macOS. GPU acceleration is based on OpenCL 1.2, and supports current AMD and Nvidia GPUs. It’s a free download.

 
Read a full list of new features in Axiom in posts in the software’s Facebook user group

Download Axiom from Matt Puchala’s website (Registration required)
Also includes a link to the online documentation

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