Improving Artistic Workflows For Fluid Simulation Through Adaptive and Editable Fluid Simulation Techniques
March 11, 2021
Sean Flynn.jpeg

Wednesday, March 31st at 3:00pm

Advisor: Parris Egbert

PhD dissertation defense for Sean Flynn


As the fidelity of computer generated imagery has increased, the need to digitally create convincing natural phenomena like fluids has become fundamental to the entertainment production industry. Because fluids are complex, the underlying physics must be computationally simulated. However, because a strictly physics-based approach is both computationally expensive and difficult to control, it does not lend itself well to the way artists and directors like to work. Directors require control to achieve their specific artistic vision. Furthermore, artistic workflows rely on quick iteration and the ability to apply changes late in the production process. In this dissertation we present novel techniques in adaptive simulation and fluid post-processing to improve artistic workflows for fluid simulation.

Our methods reduce fluid simulation iteration time and provide a new way for artists to intelligently resize a wide range of volumetric data including fluid simulations. To reduce iteration time, we present a more cache-friendly linear octree structure for adaptive fluid simulation that reduces the overhead of previous octree-based methods. To increase the viability of reusable effects libraries, and to give artists intuitive control over simulations late in the production process we present a ``fluid carving" technique. Fluid carving uses seam carving methods to allow intelligent resizing on a variety of fluid phenomena without the need for costly re-simulation. We present methods that improve upon traditional seam carving approaches to address issues with scalability, non-rectangular boundaries, and that generalize to a variety of different visual effects data like particles, polygonal meshes, liquids, smoke, and fire. We achieve these improvements by guiding seams along user-defined lattices that can enclose regions of interest defined as OpenVDB grids with a wide range of shapes. These techniques significantly improve artist workflows for fluid simulation and allow visual entertainment to be produced in a more intuitive, cost-effective manner.