Tuesday, February 13th, 2018 Posted by Jim Thacker

Try this impressive new FLIP fluid simulator for Blender

Developers Ryan Guy and Dennis Fassbaender have released a good-looking demo of a work-in-progress FLIP fluid simulation add-on for Blender.

The team are currently looking for interested artists to join their beta testing program, scheduled to begin later today, Tuesday 13 February 2018.

The first FLIP fluid solver for Blender
In development since 2016, the as-yet-officially-unnamed add-on is intended as a more powerful alternative to Blender’s native fluid simulation tools.

Unlike the native system, the add-on uses the hybrid grid/particle-based PIC/FLIP methodology popularised in the mid-2000s by Robert Bridson, co-creator of what would eventually become Maya’s Bifröst toolset.

The same methodology is also used in the fluid simulation tools for 3ds Max – themselves derived from Bifröst – and Houdini.

As well as typically being faster to calculate than pure particle-based simulations, FLIP systems make it possible to simulate a range of complex real-world phenomena, including surface foam and spray.

A good range of production-ready features
As well as white water, the Blender add-on simulates viscous fluids and even – thanks to its interaction with Blender’s Fracture Modifier – destruction sims.

According to Guy, it is fully multithreaded, and also uses the GPU for calculation, making it possible to surface meshes “containing millions of triangles without requiring massive amounts of RAM”.

Simulations can be baked to Alembic caches for export to other DCC software, although Guy says that this is currently slow for large caches.

There are also some nice workflow features that are still relatively rare in other commercial tools, including the option to pause and resume a simulation, even after a crash.

Pricing and availability
Ryan Guy and Dennis Fassbaender’s FLIP fluids add-on is available for Blender 2.79 running on Windows only. Support for other operating systems will be added “at a later date”.

Guy is currently accepting applications to join the beta program, which you can do by following the instructions here and here: the first invites will be sent out later today, but you can still join later rounds.

The developers haven’t announced a release date or pricing for the commercial software, but say that it is likely to cost under $100.

Read more about the features in the new FLIP fluids add-on for Blender on BlenderArtists.org

Visit the software’s repository on GitHub