Turbulent Fluids

Sunday, July 21, 2013 - 2:00pm to 5:15pm
Anaheim Convention Center
Room 304 A-D

Over the last decade, the visual effects industry has embraced physics simulations as a highly useful tool for creating realistic scenes ranging from a small camp fire to large-scale destruction of whole cities. While fluid simulations are now widely used in the industry, it is still inherently difficult to control large-scale simulations, and there is a constant struggle to increase visual detail.

This course approaches these problems using turbulence methods. Turbulent detail is what makes typical fluid simulations look impressive, and the underlying physics motivate a powerful approach for control; they allow for an elegant split of large-scale motion and small-scale turbulent detail. The result is a two-stage work flow that is highly convenient for artists. First, a rough, fast initial simulation is performed, then turbulent effects are added to enhance detail.

After reviewing the basics of fluid solvers and the popular wavelet turbulence approach, the course presents several powerful methods for capturing advanced effects such as boundary layers and turbulence with directional preferences. It also explains the difficulties of liquid simulations and presents an approach to liquid turbulence that is based on wave dynamics.

Full source code for all of the methods covered in the course is available to attendees. Instructors outline convenient starting points for navigating the code.

2 pm

2:30 pm
Wavelet Turbulence

3 pm
Advanced Turbulence Models
3:30 pm
3:45 pm
Advanced Turbulence Models (continued)
4:15 pm
Turbulence for Liquids

5 pm
Closing Remarks




General knowledge of turbulence in visual effects (for example, from the book Fluid Simulation in Computer Graphics by R. Bridson or the SIGGRAPH 2007 Fluid Simulation course notes by R. Bridson and M. Müller) is recommended.

Intended Audience

Developers, artists, and researchers who want to get more out of their fluid solvers and are interested in learning more about turbulent flows in general.


Nils Thuerey
ScanlineVFX GmbH

Theodore Kim
University of California, Santa Barbara

Tobias Pfaff
University of California, Berkeley