Malte Schabram - Simulation

Malte Schabram - Simulation

Malte Schabram
by malteschabram on 31 May 2020 for Rookie Awards 2020

This is my entry to The Rookie Awards 2020, which is focused on water simulations.

3 228 0
Round of applause for our sponsors

1 - Beach Shoreline

I was responsible for the water and foam simulation, lighting, generating the clouds and post-processing in Nuke. 
Modelling and texturing was done by Leon Stuermer.


Since this is a fairly large scale project, the best course of action was to split the simulations into foreground and background (the video above is sped up to better showcase the relevant parts).

Shot 1 is a low-rez simulation of the foreground water. This was the baseline, to test which velocities are needed to achieve a blend between a calm ocean and crashing waves at the shore. 

Shot 2 is the background water. It's kept fairly low-rez since it is too far away to notice any minor inconsistencies. Note how the water acts "weird" at the very front border towards the camera. Cropping those misbehaving particles post-simulation fixed this error. 

Shot 3 shows both water simulations together. The background errors are no longer visible.

Finally, shot 4 includes the foam simulation. 

Below I will showcase some "problem" areas which I encountered while working, along with the solutions I came up with. 

The low particle count leads to meshing errors, such as jittering "holes". One possible method for fixing this would be to simply increase the resolution of the simulation. However, this isn't the best approach as it would severely slow down the iteration and simulation time. 

The other workaround is much more time friendly. By isolating the problem area and simply copying more points onto the already existing points, the "holes" were gone. By adding interpolated velocities to those extra particles, I could even mimic the movement without having to simulate the bonus particles. 

Below you will find a comparison of the generated mesh. On a side note, this method isn't perfect. I did lose a bit of detail (such as the tiny crests and ripples).

Custom clouds all created using the Houdini toolset. 
Additional screenshot of post-production done with Nuke to add god rays and slight colour touch-ups. 

Below is the reference image which inspired this project.

2 - Creek

For this project, I was solely responsible for the water and foam simulation. 

Modelling, rendering in UE4, texturing and lighting done by Tom Roemer


This smaller project only presented one key challenge: To properly export and import to UE4. The new "Geometry Cache (Experimental)" from UE4.24 did do its job, but only with a little bit of tweaking. 
Depending on hierarchy order within the alembic, or simply its file size, Unreal sometimes wouldn't load it properly, resulting in artefacts when rendering. 

3 - Soda Advertisement

This is the reference video for my lemon advertisement.

I was responsible for all aspects, besides the texturing which was done by Leon Stuermer.

The simulation was done in Houdini, while lighting and rendering was done in Maya / Arnold. 


In this project, the main challenge was to get the "slow-motion" effect to work properly. It's not as simple as keyframing the playback/simulation speed since the simulation is based on how many substeps there are per frame. Both the water and rigid body simulation (the lemons) have to stay in sync. Hence, I tied the substeps of both simulations to each other and then slowed them down. 

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