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Animation Software To Focus On Bubble Technology

New special effects software for animating fluids on display at SIGGRAPH is expected to take less computing power and deliver more realistic results.

Animated beer bubbles may soon be believable without prior beer consumption.

Next week at SIGGRAPH 07, a computer graphics conference being held in San Diego, Calif., researchers from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia's national science organization, and South Korean R&D firm Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), will demonstrate special effects software for animating fluids.

Animating beer bubbles turns out to be exceedingly complex because of the way bubbles behave, gathering at nucleation sites where the glass isn't smooth and colliding with one another as they foam up to the surface.

CSIRO fluids researcher Mahesh Prakash and his colleagues have incorporated a computational method called smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) into their animation software. They hope the software will make custom high-end effects seen in blockbuster films more accessible in film and game makers.

"Big Hollywood studios spend vast sums on single-use solutions when they make blockbusters like 'Poseidon' and 'The Perfect Storm' but we'd like our software to make realistic special effects easier to come by," said Andrew Dingian, Business Development Manager at CSIRO, in a statement.

The researchers claim that benchmarked testing shows their software uses less computing power and takes less time to deliver more realistic results than other special effects software.

CSIRO and ETRI expect to begin talks to license their code to commercial 3D software vendors next year. The two organizations plan to demonstrate their technology at the San Diego Convention Center on Thursday, August 9 in a session called "Bubbling and Frothing Liquids."

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