Weekly Development Notes #31 – The 2020 Customer Reel is now live!

Covering the week of August 31st – September 4th, 2020.

Hey everyone! This is our 31st development update for the FLIP Fluids liquid simulation addon for Blender. Last week was great for development productivity. And today is a very exciting day for us, as we have completed our first customer reel project! Let’s get right into it.

2020 Customer Reel

For 2020, we wanted to put together a special video to show what the Blender artists have been creating with the FLIP Fluids add-on. During the months of April to June of this year, we had received many wonderful animation submissions from many artists. We have been absolutely thrilled to see all of these fantastic creations and have been so excited to finally share them with you!

This project is the combined work of over 30 artists, and we want to thank everyone for putting in so much hard work, for running countless hours of simulations to get your effects just right, and for all of the CPU and GPU hours spend rendering day and night. So check out the video description on YouTube for credits and links to help support and keep connected with the artists!

We also want to thank the Blender community for the enormous amount of support over the years in helping us develop the FLIP Fluids add-on – without you, this project would have never been possible.

Today we are proud to present the FLIP Fluids add-on 2020 Customer Reel! We’re already looking forward to starting the 2021 reel!

Although it is a few months away until we will be accepting submissions, we have some preliminary submission guidelines here: Customer Reel 2021.

Curve Guided Force Fields

Last week’s development was mainly spent working on our curve guided force field feature. For the few weeks prior, I had needed to take a break from working directly on the curve force field feature within the simulation engine to fix some limitations in how the addon exports simulation data, including curve data (see earlier development notes).

Last week was my first week in a while that I had been able to work on the simulation engine. The FLIP Fluids addon is split mainly into two parts:

  1. The simulation engine, which is written mostly in C++ and handles the complex simulation calculations and simulation data generation. Roughly 60% of the code base.
  2. The Blender user interface, which is written in Python using Blender’s Python API and mostly handles the user interaction, simulation setup, and sending data (settings, geometry) to the simulation engine. And roughly the remaining 40% of the code base.

And it’s nice to be back working in C++, which I am much more comfortable with. Python is great to work with as well, but I really feel a lot more confident in C++ due to the generation of errors/warnings of the compiler. I find it much more easy to make mistakes in Python that are only triggered through testing specific code paths.

I started my week by spending some time getting familiar with what I had last been working on and was surprised at how far along the curve guided feature already was when I last left it. Much of the code had already been written and just needed to be structured and pieced together (mostly copy/pasting), and some of the complicated geometry processing was able to be reused from another force field feature: surface force fields.

The curve guided force field just needs a few more hours of work, and then it will be ready for testing! Our experimental release from last week is testing very well and there have been no bug reports from testers or from our internal testing, so that means that addon will be stable enough to release curve guided force fields as a new experimental feature next week (September 16th).

Here are some generate vector fields to attract fluid to flow and spin along a curve:

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