What fluid sim tools are you using for your flipbooks?



After seeing Dougs video earlier today I decided to spend the evening really exploring the possibilities of shaderbased particles.

I was amazed at the results I got, and how quick I got them! :eek: Previously I have only used uv distortion and the like to add a bit of extra detail. Mostly because the option to use it properly never existed at the company I worked for and because I was under the impression that it was crazy expensive.

By utilizing all channels of the textures and basing the motion of the distortion I managed to get a campfire, with smoke, embers and camera flare going with just two textures. And looking way better than my goto texturesheets.

I’m falling for shaders all over again. Some sleep and then I’m diving back in to the procedural goodness!:D:


Textures as layers of indirection on other texture reads is always fun to play with :slight_smile:
LUTs (e.g. the old halo3 greyscale map and LUT scroll) and UV coord offsetting (texture warping) always fun. Patterned blending between 2 sets of diffuse, normal etc. maps can also break things up nicely, especially when cycled and maps are UV scrolling in different directions.


Thanks for the message!


I use fume fx for fire and smoke and find it to be pretty quick to iterate on now that I have the basics down. The biggest hurdle is not using it all of the time and forgetting some of the magic numbers that give good results in the sim.

Luckily I have this flash file someone made showing how most of the setting affect a basic flame in an animated form. I could not find a link just now but I have it at work and I will post it on Monday. Great for remembering what everything does in a hurry.

What I am still missing is a way to bake out actual representations of fluids for flipbooks. I took a 10 min look at real flow a while back but it was in the middle of crunch and I didn’t get very far. Has anyone ever used it?

As far as the should we even use flipbooks debate I have a bit to say on that bit I am going to start another thread to hopefully move that discussion to a broader audience since it is kind of buried here.


Realflow is real slow. I’ve not used it in production but when I have played with it, I ended up spending ages simulating. Then a good while meshing it. Then getting it in to maya to render it out.

Add to that, setting up a flipbook and getting it into game and you have a rather long process to do again when you realize the simulation wasn’t quite what you needed.


Iteration on flip books is a pain. At Raven we had a set of java scripts for photoshop that were awesome. One would set up a flip book strip with alpha and the other would pack it into the best shape. It made getting it into game really quick an easy.

If you know java script or know someone who does, it may be a quick solve to get it to work.

The hard part was getting the simulation to do what you want. I’m trying to get a sim to do what I want out of Maya fluids, and its taking a lot longer than intended. I haven’t really used fume, so if its faster and gets me the result I’m looking for then great! I’ve read (here) that you get results faster than maya fluids, so I think I’m going to give it a go.


I use after effects to output my flips. Make a 16/32/whatever frame composition, get it looping or doing what you want, then have a final composition that has it all laid out as a flipbook (can even script that if you wished, but only takes a minute to set up).


This is giving me more fuel to my motivation to learn Python. The ability to set up simple scripts like this without having to sweet talk a coder or tech artist into writing it could be quite useful…


I heard of this method recently and really like the idea. Most of my flip books loop and I often find my self messing with number of frames to get things right. Being able to have more frame resolution than I need and spitting out different variations automatically sounds really nice to me.


Hey all,
I just saw this. Looks like someone is developing Fume for Maya… could be awesome:


From what other people have posted here, fume is a bit quicker than maya fluids. I’ve been wrestling with a maya fluid for a while now, so I hope it make my building a little quicker when it comes out. I hope its available soonish.



I use this tool http://www.kvisoft.com/flipbook-maker/ .
It is free in the first month. And I use it one year. I like it, you can try it!


Thank you so very much for sharing your information with me. Personally speaking, I’m currently using flip magazine software to create flipping book easily.


well, well done, now I can make my own flip book more easily. thanks for the topic!


For DMC we ended using all sort of tricks in shaders, and never a flipbook. Apart from the long iteration process we where a bit scared of texture memory consumptions. At the end, it was the case of loads of different bespoke materials. It all depends on the kind of effects needed. DMC had loads of “magical” effects for game play. And few less environment or cutscene effects. For the “magical” stuff, maybe its better to quickly iterate in a complex shader network in unreal, than trying to get something from maya fluids.

Now, we are doing a bit of research on simulations, because we have found that a mixed approach, with flip books and interesting shaders, can get to some really nice results. Maya fluids, Houdini, even Blender, can be quite useful. But you need to practice a lot, for getting that specific behaviour in a simulation.


There is also Phoenix FD for VRay Maya/Max who’s worth a try. The iterative process is really quick and the viewport (almost realtime) preview is quite accurate. Of course its only relevant for precalc !


[QUOTE=Florian;15131]Hi all,

the topic of fluid sim software came up during the roundtables at GDC, but I don’t think we got anything terribly concise out of it.

So, what fluid sim software are you guys using to render out your flipbooks (animated textures, whatever you want to call them), assuming you’re using this approach at all?

We used the choice we had at hand (Maya fluid sims) last time, but would like to try a more specialized (and streamlined) solution now. I’ve spent some time going through the usual sims tools google turns up, but the combination of a high price tag and common lack of a trial version makes it hard to see through the marketing talk on their sites and makes me wonder how many people are missing out/using the less optimal choice because they don’t get to try it first. The main purpose would be to render out a few variations of smoke, dust, fire and explosion, nothing you wouldn’t expect from such a tool.

thanks a lot in advance, I appreciate the advice![/QUOTE]

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