I’ve taken it upon myself to learn some more advanced techniques when it comes to producing things with Blender. I browsed the internet for tutorials and inspiration, and a few videos caught my eye. One of these was a tutorial on fluid simulation from the Blender Guru. While much more advanced than the things I had already tackled with the software, this was an aspect that really interested me and I decided to challenge myself and learn something new in the process.
I first went about modelling a glass for the final image that I would be producing. I approached this from a different way than was covered in the tutorial, as I wished to develop my own technique for doing some things in order to actually learn the tools of the software rather than just clicking what I was instructed to. I did this by first adding a spherical mesh, and then scaling and removing parts of the object until I got the desired shape. I then followed a part of the tutorial in adding ‘ridges’ to the glass, as this allowed me to learn about the ‘loop cut and slide’ feature for doing things such as this. After doing this I had a glass model which looked like this.
After creating the model for the glass, I then had to apply a material to it in order to make it look like glass. Handily, there is an option for a glass material built into Blender, so this was quite a simple process. After I had done this, I started on the water which I would be showing pouring into the glass.
My initial plan for this was to produce an animation of water pouring into and filling up the glass over time, which I would then render out as a video. However I soon realised that the fluid, when poured into the glass using the fluid simulation engine, was left with unnatural, zigzagged edges that would require me to freeze the water in place and manually smooth out using the sculpting tool. While this was good as it let me learn about the use of this tool, it made it much harder to do an animation of the fluid as each frame would likely require redoing and smoothing the fluid simulation by hand. This, combined with the long render time that would come with producing a 3D animation, would make following this idea very complex and time consuming. I therefore changed my plan to produce a single, high quality image of the water in action.
After finding the frame I thought looked the best, I then performed the necessary smoothing using the sculpting mode. Once that was completed to a satisfactory level, I again applied a glass material to the liquid, only this time I also modified the refraction index of the material to that of water, to make the ‘glass’ material’s aesthetics more in line with water. I then added a glossy plane for the glass to sit on, and a light emitting plane to go in the background of the image, which I textured with an image found online to give it a nice, gradual increase in light from the edges of the image towards the glass in the middle. I think this helped to frame the glass well and made the shadows and highlights in the image look more realistic.
<span style="color: #808080;">The smoothed out model of my water stream in mid-flow.</span>
After this was done, I found an appropriate camera angle, checked and adjusted the lighting provided by the backing plane, and then performed a few test renders, tweaking the composition of the image slightly each time until I was happy with the result. Once I was, I upped the quality settings of the render, and rendered the final image.
This image I am happy with, as the production process behind it has taught me quite a bit about Blender and how best to perform certain tasks within it. There are a few flaws with this result, such as a few droplets which are unnaturally flat/triangular, a problem which I believe stemmed from them being accidentally smoothed too much while in sculpting mode. However, these are issues which can be worked out and improved upon in projects I work on in the future, and I am glad that I took the time to experiment and produce this work on my own as I have learned a lot in the process.