Big Water with Phoenix FD

Taught by Hashem Alshaer

Course Number:
Software Version:
Original Run Date:
June 2020 
4 hours 39 minutes 
This course covers a large water scene, using techniques to apply an art-directed stylized look (pure photoreal is not the aim) on a stormy water simulation, including white splashes and foam, and a whale jump out of and back into the ocean surface. A variety of ChaosGroup's Phoenix FD tools will be used, along with lighting, shading, and rendering the final result (using V-Ray, of course).

This offering, taught by Hashem Alshaer, covers how to use Phoenix FD's liquid simulation tools as well as its secondary particle systems to create a highly detailed stormy ocean. In addition, the scene includes a large whale jumping out and falling back into the stormy water surface. Several particle groups driven by the main body of water and external wave forces are used to create multiple layers of splashes, foam, mist and wave effects.

The course is geared towards the technically inclined independent or resident studio artist and structured to allow users of varying levels to be able to follow its contents from start to end. Phoenix FD has developed over the last few years in a way which has enabled many independent artists and studios to be able to create convincing liquid simulation scenes easily, including manageable simulation, shading, and rendering times, especially when shaded and rendered via ChaosGroup's V-Ray Next.

Thanks to RJ-Design for allowing us to use assets from their project for this course at fxphd.
Big Water with Phoenix FD
Watch our overview of the course

Class Listing

Class 1: Phoenix FD / Realflow Comparison

An overview of Phoenix FD's advantages and limitations compared to other dynamics and simulation platforms. Also, an exploration of Phoenix FD's layout and some of its hidden & unique tools.

Class 2: Preparation for Simulation

Coverage of the typical steps needed to establish large scale water scenes such as in oceans as well as the considerations of having creature interaction take place. Setting up the Phoenix FD container, discussing scale issues in water sims, and running the first low-resolution simulation.

Class 3: Ocean Surface

Designing and establishing the basic stormy ocean surface, through setting up Phoenix's liquid domain to generate the ocean high waves using a variety of displacement and wave force tools. To generate more interesting stormy waves, we'll add more than one wave force and then run the first high res simulation with waves. Setting up the initial water body state and meshing of the ocean water surface is also covered.

Class 4: Preparing for white particles

Following up with the high rolling wave establishment, we will be set up the collision objects, preparing the main body of water to generate white particles including the first splash particle system, mist, foam, and wetting particle layers.

Class 5: Liquid-Like

Understanding the Liquid-Like property, by studying its effect on the overall splash particle behavior and look, and how we can utilize it to art direct the water splash in parallel with how the mist and foam should look like.

Class 6: Shading

Using Phoenix FD's Particle shader, we start shading the white particle systems. The difference between its particle shading modes and how to get the fastest rendering times while still keeping the desired look.

Class 7: Rendering Preparation

How to render Phoenix FD white particle systems using V-Ray Next and a discussion of some of the advantages of using Phoenix's foam shader versus the Krakatoa plugin. Setting up our first lighting system, which is dedicated only for the white particles.

Class 8: Rendering

It's time to render the Phoenix FD body surface (the ocean surface mesh), and to shade it using sea shading material In order to accomplish that, we will need to set up V-Ray lights to impact only the ocean surface. How to include the white particles within that same lighting setup, as well as a look at V-Ray render passes and further simple enhancements.