Simulate water in Maya and Phoenix Fd
For a personal project i wanted to make an homage to the camel Trophy that aired on TV in the 1980s and 90s – where the iconic Defenders went to places where no car has ever been before. These cars were pushed to the max and had to conquer water multiple times during their adventures so splashing water would add some extra punch to the visual i wanted to make. For this visual i’m using Maya, Phoenix FD and V-ray. it’s surprisingly easy to set up – i like using Phoenix FD for its simplicity. in this tutorial i’ll show you how easy it is and in a few steps you can create great-looking water ready to use in your visuals or animations. 01
Create the water base mesh First create a solid mesh for your terrain – this is the floor of the scene. To make this floor work with Phoenix FD, it has to be a solid mesh, not a plane. next, create a cube that will become the water base mesh and position it where you would like to have water. There is no need to make it bigger because the rest is not visible by the camera. select the meshes and apply a Boolean to cut off the bottom of the water cube mesh. This is the mesh that we are going to simulate with Phoenix FD. 02
Build the simulation space To make sure the water does not float away from our floor mesh, create some large cubes that will hold the water. These cubes have to intersect with the floor, otherwise water will pour out. Be sure they will be outside the camera view. 03
Make water mesh ready for simulation
To speed up the simulation, select the water mesh. in the attribute editor, under the shape tab, select Attributes and go to Phoenix FD. There you can add Phoenix FD node Properties. Once added, scroll down to extra Phoenix FD Attributes and make sure you mark the initial Liquid Fill.
This way, the whole mesh will be filled at frame 1 once the simulation starts. 04
Set up simulation space create a Phoenix FD fluid simulator by clicking on the icon in the left corner. Then draw a cube slightly larger then the water base
mesh. Make sure the bottom of this container is also at the same place as the bottom of the water base mesh. in the attributes of the simulator, set it to liquid and then set your cell size as it’s scene size-dependent. The boundary conditions can be set to Y – Jammed (-); this makes sure the water can’t go below the fluid container. For foam and air bubbles, scroll down in the attributes and in the foam tab click enable Foam. 05
Animate the car and start simulating Animate the car from outside the container into the container. Depending on the speed of your animation, the splashes will be higher or lower. i also animated the wheels so the water will interact with the tyres. When done, set your time slider to frame 0 and hit the start simulation button in the Phoenix FD shelf. stop the simulation when you are satisfied with the splashes. note that Phoenix FD is writing big cache files depending on how many particles you use. To speed up simulation time, write cache files to a local ssd drive and/or change your cellsize. 06
Water shader create a new V-ray material and set the diffuse colour to black, the Reflection Glossiness to 0.950 and the refraction colour to white.
The IOR of water is 1.33 and now you have perfect clear water. But for this scene i need some brownish murky water. Give the fog colour a sandy colour and set the multiplier to 0.750 (scene size-dependent). now it’s still clear but with a brownish tint to it. change the Refraction Glossiness to make the water more murky. The higher the number, the clearer the water gets.