Maya Fluid Effects Dvd now online

Posted by Duncan Brinsmead, 10 July 2009 9:03 pm

A few years ago I put together a learning Maya Fluids Dvd with Neehar Karnik. It contained numerous tutorial videos along with mel scripts and scene files. The material is still relevant today, although the Dvd was no longer offered in the Autodesk store.

Now the full contents are available here for free to Maya Subscription customers:

Once logged in goto:  Training/Autodesk Maya/ Training Videos/Dynamics

As well many of the video tutorials are available to all on the Autodesk youtube channel:

Note that I would today use nParticles instead of the old system for most of the examples, although for the most part it should be trivial to replace any use of particles with nParticles, as nParticles is derived from classic particles.

Here is the original blurb with the Dvd:

Maya Techniques | Maya Fluid Effects is your key to unlocking the power of Maya Fluid Effects. With a special focus on working with expressions, you'll learn how to combine particle system and fluids to produce a wide variety of effects. Learn how to make full use of fluids by writing expressions. Master water related effects such as creating foam on an ocean surface using both particles and fluid. Learn to create the most effective gaseous effects, as well as flames and explosions. Understand how to work with Fluid Textures plus hints on how the Maya Fluid Navier-Stokes solver can be used for crowd simulation and more. Included with this DVD are dozens of scene files, created by the experts, to help you learn as you work.

225 min

You Will Learn:


Oceans and the Height Field Node
Fluid and Expression Basics
Water Shading
Water Spray and Foam
Water Wakes

Rivers and Flowing Liquids
Gaseous Effects

Flames and Explosions
Smoke and Clouds
Data Transfer

Special Uses of Fluids

Crowd Simulation
Sound Waves
Fluid Texture Uses




Posted 10 July 2009 9:46 pm

You even get a glimpse of the Toronto office from the Alias days to boot...


Posted 14 July 2009 3:34 pm

Thanks Duncan!

Maya Guru

Posted 18 July 2009 3:34 pm

It gives me my remember to those days when MAYA was of Alias.
great Man.

Duncan Brinsmead

Posted 30 July 2009 3:41 pm

The youtube tutorials are freely available at the link above, but you must be on subscription to download the entire DVD. The autodesk store no longer sells the DVD, however I've seen it for sale around on the web. You might try amazon.


Posted 12 August 2009 6:06 am

i want to get this without subscription. is it available?

Duncan Brinsmead

Posted 12 August 2009 3:06 pm

As I noted in an earlier comment, Autodesk no longer sells it. You could try to find it someplace like ebay. Googling "Maya Techniques | Maya Fluid Effects" brings up a few hits, although I can't attest to any of these sources.


Posted 18 August 2009 12:05 am

I am getting the same message as Jesper, and I have not upgraded to Maya 2010 yet. Is there a problem with the training section?


Posted 2 January 2011 4:10 pm

Hi Duncan..

Not sure if you'll get this, but here it goes.. When working with emitting particles for spray, it seems the if's and setting the lifespanPP slows everything down considerable.. Is there a way around this? (i.e. - without using an if statement)..



Duncan Brinsmead

Posted 3 January 2011 6:47 pm

I think your problems likely not the "if" condition, but rather thar we need to emit a very large number of particles, most of which are then deleted because they are below the emission height.
I don't know if the following would be any faster, but you could try it:
In maya2011 the ocean can be converted to poly using "convert displacement to poly with history". Then do a Boolean with a plane so only the wave peaks are left and emit from that.

Duncan Brinsmead

Posted 4 January 2011 9:17 pm

I don't think the ratePP is what you want... it controls the emission from particles when particles are the source of emission.
I'm not sure about your shading problems, but a suggestion would be to not use the ocean shader but instead do everything using the ocean texture as displacement and bump, as well as opacity mapping for a layered foam shader( using the outFoam from the texture).
The ocean shader has its own built in bump and displacement as well as color mapping, which can make it efficient, but it can be somewhat non-standard to use in shading networks( it can work well but you need to understand it ). One thing... if you are raytracing then make the environment ramp on the ocean black because it will add on top of raytraced reflections, washing out shadows and reflections.

Duncan Brinsmead

Posted 5 January 2011 8:00 pm

The Navier Stokes model is a 2d incompressible flow, not a heightfield water model, and thus will not yield natural looking wakes. Sometimes one can get nice looking results with the ns model for a height field, however. In some cases it can create the look of standing waves in a flowing river, for example. Thus one can get things like the buildup of flow around bridge pylons ). The reynolds number is determined by the viscosity. (we use a formula to convert the viscosity into a reynolds value internally for the ns model, but I don't think you can really calibrate it very easily to water and scene scale. It is best just to play with the values to get a good looking effect, not try to enter emperical values ). Also sometimes when using the ns model for a heightfield it is useful to relax the incompressibility of the flow by lowering the quality attribute. Forward advection may also be useful. One can also get interesting effects by using negative density gradient force. (which is almost like a shallow water model, but very crude)

I think a physics PHD is a great asset when getting work as a TD in simulation or research at one of the larger animation houses that support this kind of work, or in a games or software development company like Autodesk. However getting work in the 3d market( at least in computer animation ) is never easy, and jobs have been a bit tight lately.

Duncan Brinsmead

Posted 11 January 2011 1:33 am

Substeps can affect the simulation in a couple of ways.

- by using smaller time steps the flow can better resolve incompressibility and high velocity flow, which can sometimes dramatically change the simulation by reducing artifacts (Maya fluid is designed to work with large time steps, but instead of blowing up it tends to have excessive diffusion for large steps)

- In some situations small changes to the simulation can have a dramatic effect on outcomes (the butterfly effect)

- emission currently doesn't occur on substeps, which can lead to some differences, although total emitted should stay the same. However emission does occur on subframes when caching with oversampling.

We try to ensure that the behavior of the fluid is roughly the same for different timestep values, but there tends to be a difference because we have a rather large default timestep.(one step per frame) However there may still be some behaviors that are not properly adjusting for the timestep(i.e. bugs)

The quality attribute controls the amount we iterate on the Poisson solve, thus affects the incompressibility of the flow. Low quality values are less different when using the high detail solve method, because it uses the pressure from the previous timestep as a starting value, while the default method always starts from zero pressure.


Posted 6 September 2012 11:28 am

Hi Duncan,
I know it is been a while since the publication of this post, but I wonder if you would know if this DVD is still available in the subscription area. I'm a subscriptor (my company is) but yesterday I couldn't find it.



Posted 1 June 2013 6:50 pm

Hello sir,
for last few days am looking for resources to learn about (all) Per particle dynamics attributes like
collisionForce etc..
I did found some of their uses but not about all. Can you suggest any place where I could get some idea about all of 'em. Or may be you could explain it, atleast in one line for each. I know they are so many but It would be very helpful for many people like me. Thx in adv. sir.

Duncan Brinsmead

Posted 3 June 2013 2:53 pm

This is an under documented area of Maya and I've recently brought this to the attention of our doc team. If I get a chance I might do a blog post with descriptions. In general one can experiment using the text display to see the value of the attributes if you create them... obviously with collision attributes you should have some colliding objects. Documenting them is a bit complex as the behavior is not exactly the same between nParticles and classic particles.


Posted 3 June 2013 3:46 pm

If you could do some post about them then that would be great. Hopefully waiting for that.
thx sir.

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