Water Tentacle

R&D recreating the iconic effect from classic film The Abyss.

3D Studio Max

The effect starts simple, as a modified cylinder winding through the scene, but the water splashing required a good liquid simulation. This was created using Phoenix FD inside 3dsMax, and composited in Nuke.

Water simulation is always a process of tweaking, simulating, and refining. This went through many iterations until the effect felt just right.

Render times were horrendous, due to a mix of an older computer, plus ray-traced reflections on all those tiny particles in the splashes.

In the end, I decided to 'cheat' a little by removing raytraced reflections from the shader for the splash particles... The desired result is that they be white (or off-white), and it was easy enough to simply grade the un-raytraced render pass up to that colour, thus reducing the render times by many, many hours.