Sindy Saalfeld

The Sails Project – 3ds Max

Last modification: 29 Oct, 2018
3 mins
The Sails project shows the power and flexibility of creating fluids simulations in 3ds Max.
Our hat‘s off to Sindy Saalfeld who does an exceptional job combining modeling, textures, and Bifrost to bring her inspiration to life.

Hi, my name is Sindy and I am from Germany. Right when I started working with 3ds Max 6 back in 2005 creating this first rotating torus, it fascinated me. Working in graphic design has given me many opportunities to use 3D to create beautiful images and animations.
I am currently trying to learn more about FX. Just this year, I joined the FXTD Mentorship and immediately started to work on some shots for a new reel. The 'Sails' project is inspired by the movie ‘Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World’. There is something about this era and the ships that just grabs me.
The ship of my imagination was nowhere to be found on the internet, so I decided to build it on my own. The modeling and texturing of the HMS Ontario was rather time-consuming. However, having all the details realized certainly justifies the effort.

Animating is my big passion in 3D. I enjoy working on all the little secondary motions we see in reality and I like to find solutions that are applicable to many objects in the scene. As an example, I built one robust Thinking Particle system for the soft bodies and then applied this to all 24 sails and 7 flags.


The ocean was certainly one of the most interesting parts and it gave me the chance to get in touch with the new fluid system in Max. I knew what it should look like; I just had to figure out how it works.

This Bifrost tutorial by Adrian Graham helped me tremendously to understand the process of the guided mesh method. Most things are very similar in Max. The solver gives great results – even on larger surfaces – like the 90 x 40 m (295 x 131 ft.) one I used for this project. It is remarkable to have such a powerful tool within Max and I found it rather easy to get used to it.


The action kicks in once the cannons are fired and the space between the ships is flooded with layers of smoke. 

I like to challenge myself with these kinds of projects and learn as much as I can while I'm working on them.

Follow Sindy on Twitter and keep up to date on her latest 3ds Max projects.
Guided Simulations and Foam in Bifrost:  Watch it Here
3ds Max Basic Intro to Fluids: Watch it Here 
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| 1 year ago
Incredible, saying you like to challenge yourself is an understatement. Besides doing 3d for 25-years, I'm an ocean sailor. You nailed the ocean fluids. Truly inspiring work. :)
| 1 year ago
Really awesome animation and simulation work with great attention to detail.I really like it.
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