A few months back FX Guide released an article on The Science of Fluid Sims. If you didn’t manage to catch it at the time, you should definitely check it out now. It is a great read for anyone looking to know a little more about the science and evolution of fluid simulation and what the future holds for its craft. The article should also set you up nicely to understand the importance of what the company Exotic Matter are working towards with their new product Naiad.
Exotic Matter is a software company developing dynamics software for visual effects and 3D animation. The company was founded in 2008 by industry veterans Marcus Nordenstam and Robert Bridson. The Naiad software is a 3D fluid solver and dynamics framework, and is creating quite a buzz among industry professionals worldwide. Naiad is being used by an increasing number of 3D animation and VFX studios around the world, including Weta Digital, Framestore, Digital Domain, Rhythm & Hues, Dr. D Studios, Pixomondo, BaseFX, Prime Focus.
Despite being a new product, Naiad is being used to produce the fluid animations in an impressive list of high concept studio films - Avatar, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Pirates of the Carribbean 4, Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Gulliver's Travels, X-Men: First Class and Final Destination 5, to name just a few.
Exotic Matter have been working hard to develop the most powerful Naiad version to date. Naiad 0.6 is currently the next version up for release. The good news about this version and any version to come is that they will run on 64-bit Windows, 64-bit Mac OSX Lion, as well as 64-bit Linux.
At Escape Studios we are delighted to announce that we are the official UK reseller for Naiad. There are many reasons to shout about this product as it develops into one of the most powerful fluid simulation tools on the market today, and below are some of the reasons that the guys at Exotic Matter stand by as being the core for what makes Naiad so great:
- Naiad produces fluid simulations with unparalleled detail in the desktop market. Naiad users are not forced to add displacement maps, non-physical particle systems, or other tricks to hide the lack of detail. With Naiad, you can pretty much hit "simulate" and use the results with no extra work.
- The Naiad system is completely multithreaded and scales amazingly well on multicore processors. Run a simulation and watch all the cores light up like a Christmas tree.
- Naiad offers tremendous stability and robustness. Many high-end projects, like Avatar and Shark-Night 3D for example, rely on Naiad's ability to run simulations reliably without constantly crashing or numerical instabilities. You can throw very tough problems at Naiad, and it will give you a great-looking simulation without breaking a sweat. This is an industrial-strength 3D fluid dynamics solver!
- Naiad's dynamic 3D tiling technology allows the system to solve massive simulations while using a very low memory footprint, since Naiad adaptively tracks the fluid and only creates "fluid tiles" in regions where the fluid is. This frees the artist from having to manually manage an axis-aligned rectangular "fluid domain". The tiles can cover completely disconnected and irregular fluid structures without any problems.
- The Naiad mesher is unmatched in speed, scalability and faithfully capturing all the detail present in the fluid particles. The mesher can also produce a decimated mesh, based on camera/view and surface curvature parameters.
- Expect predictable results when you go from coarse, low-resolution simulations to high-resolutions. The flow features do not suddenly change unexpectedly, instead the main features of the flow are preserved. You get more detail without losing the overall feel and flow of the simulation. This is due to the Naiad solver technology making the most of available resolution, unlike techniques such as Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics which must smooth away a lot of particle detail to work reliably, or even advanced engineering solvers which only begin to converge once flow features are resolved across several grid cells.
- Naiad's fluid solver is written from the ground up using the latest state of the art methods in fluid mechanics for complex, variable-density, variable-viscosity flow.
- Advanced viscosity modelling allows simulations that achieve superb accuracy, detail and motion ranging from low-viscous flows to ultra-viscous coiling and buckling flows, all the way to the rigid-body limit!
- The file I/O system in Naiad employs fully parallel data compression, decompression, and on-demand data loading completely automatically. This means you can run far larger simulations without spending an eternity waiting for the software to write each frame to disk (or load it), and the file sizes are very reasonable.
- The flexible node-graph workflow allows you to rewire what it does at will, including where, or even if, file i/o occurs. Together with an advanced expression language, just about anything an artist can dream up is possible with an elegant graph.
- Naiad has a clean client-server API and a full plug-in system to allow the maximum flexibility in pipelines. Adding I/O functionality for custom file formats, adding hooks to integrate with other products, or adding new simulation features for your artists - it's all a breeze. Open Naiad Studio, a clean GUI front-end for graph editing, running and visualizing simulations, is fully open source along with a whole suite of "buddies" for Naiad to smoothly interoperate with a variety of other packages.