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Title: Droplets, splashes and sprays : highly detailed liquids in visual effects production
Author: Jones, Richard
ISNI:       0000 0004 7972 6727
Awarding Body: Bournemouth University
Current Institution: Bournemouth University
Date of Award: 2019
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An often misunderstood or under-appreciated feature of the visual effects pipeline is the sheer quantity of components and layers that go into a single shot, or even, single effect. Liquids, often combining waves, splashes, droplets and sprays, are a particular example of this. Whilst there has been a huge amount of research on liquid simulation in the last decade or so, little has been successful in reducing the number of layers or elements required to create a plausible final liquid effect. Furthermore, the finer-scale phenomena of droplets and sprays, often introduced in this layered approach and crucial for plausibility, are some of the least well catered-for in the existing toolkit. In lieu of adequate tooling, creation of these elements relies heavily on non-physical methods, bespoke setups and artistic ingenuity. This project explores physically-based methods for creating these phenomena, demonstrat- ing improved levels of detail and plausibility over existing non-physical approaches. These provide an alternative to existing workflows that are heavily reliant on artistic input, allowing artists to focus efforts on creative direction rather than trying to recreate physical plausibility. We explore various approaches to increasing the level of detail captured in physically-based liquid simulations, developing a collection of tools that improve existing workflows. First, we investigate the potential of a re-simulation approach to increasing artist iteration on fluid simulations using previous simulation data. Following this, a novel droplet interaction model for ballistic particle simulations is developed to introduce higher levels of detail in simulations of liquid droplets and sprays. This allows physically-plausible interactions between droplet particles to be modelled efficiently and helps to create realistic droplet and spray behaviours. Then, to maximise the quality of the results of these and other particle-based simulations, we develop a high quality particle surfacing algorithm to handle the varied nature of inputs common in production. Finally, we discuss the development of an expression language to manipulate point and volume data commonly used in creating these simulations, as well as elsewhere throughout visual effects. This research was driven directly by production requirements in partnership with a world- leading visual effects studio, DNEG. Projects have been developed to immediately integrate into production, using efficient, industry-standard, open technologies such as OpenVDB. It is shown that the toolkit for splashing liquids, even at fine-scales, can be improved by incorporating greater physical motivation further demonstrating the importance of physical simulation in visual effects and suggesting effects similarly reliant on artistic input (e.g. character/skin deformation) may benefit from increased physical correctness.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Eng.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available