Saturday, July 8th, 2023 Posted by Jim Thacker

Tutorial: Large-Scale Water FX in Houdini

The Gnomon Workshop has released Large-Scale Water FX in Houdini, a detailed guide to fluid simulation for VFX and animation, recorded by Industrial Light & Magic CG supervisor Miguel Perez Senent.

The workshop provides over six hours of video training in Houdini, SideFX’s VFX-industry-standard effects softare, and compositing application Nuke, and can be followed by users with no prior Houdini experience.

A detailed guide to movie-scale water simulation for VFX and animation work
In the workshop, Perez Senent reveals the complete process for creating an epic water simulation shot showing a sea creature breaching the ocean surface, then diving back in.

he begins by defining a large ocean surface and using the FLIP solver to create the base fluid simulation around the creature, providing tips for making it more realistic-looking, and more efficient.

Perez Senent then discusses how to generate the simulation mesh, and how to blend it with the rest of the ocean, using the result to define a custom whitewater emission source.

The workshop explores how to achieve realistic motion of whitewater at large scales, including how to modify the behaviour of millions of particles using methods based on real-life observations.

Finally, Perez Senent cover the look dev work for the shot within Houdini’s Solaris USD context, rendering it in passes in the Karma renderer, ready to create a final composite in Nuke.

The workshop also covers how to optimise the scene to run on a single computer: the completed FLIP and whitewater simulations took under an hour to complete.

Perez Senent also discusses how to use Houdini’s TOPs to wedge and parallelise simulations and renders.

As well as the tutorial videos, viewers of the workshop can download the materials needed to create the FX shot, including the animated creature with textures, light, and camera.

About the artist
Miguel Perez Senent is a CG supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic. His credits include Avatar: The Way of Water, Avengers: Endgame and Infinity War, and Star Wars movies Rogue One and The Force Awakens.

A long-time Houdini user, Miguel started his journey with the software at 14 years old.

Pricing and availability
Large-Scale Water FX in Houdini is available via a subscription to The Gnomon Workshop, providing access to over 300 tutorials. Subscriptions cost $54/month or $499/year. Free trials are available.

Read more about Large-Scale Water FX in Houdini on The Gnomon Workshop’s website

Full disclosure: CG Channel is owned by Gnomon.