“Volumetric Methods in Visual Effects” by Zafar, Wrenninge, Tessendorf, Clinton, Penney, et al. …

  • ©Nafees Bin Zafar, Magnus Wrenninge, Jerry Tessendorf, Andrew Clinton, Devon Penney, Jeff Clifford, and Gavin Graham


Entry Number: 14


    Volumetric Methods in Visual Effects

Course Organizer(s):



    Computer-generated volumetric elements such as clouds, fire, and whitewater are becoming commonplace in movie production. The goal of this course is to familiarize attendees with the technology behind these effects. Experienced presenters who have authored proprietary and commercial volumetrics tools summarize the basics of the technology and explain the rationales behind drastically different development choices. The course begins with a quick introduction to generating and rendering volumes, then presents a production-usable volumetrics toolkit, focusing on the feature set and why those features are desirable, and concludes with a survey of the specific tools developed at Double Negative, DreamWorks, Sony Pictures ImageWorks, Rhythm & Hues, and Side Effects Software. The production-system presentations focus on development history, how the tools are used by artists, and the strengths and weaknesses of the software. Emphasis is on strategies for tackling efficient data structures, shading architecture, multi-threading and parallelization, holdouts, and motion blurring.