We propose an approach to simulating and rendering physically based fluid effects in a VFX production environment using a client/server architecture that is practical for distributed simulation resources and that can be seamlessly integrated into commercial 3D animation packages. The fluid simulation implements smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH). We extend the concept of surface particles by introducing blind particles that facilitate efficient direct raytracing of isosurfaces. We evaluate the performance of our approach with local simulation on CPUs and GPUs and distributed GPU simulation. We demonstrate the integration into the animation package 3ds Max and the VRay raytracer. The usability of the VFX production pipeline is assessed by a user study with VFX professionals and animation experts
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