Lab member Jamie Madill worked with a team of programmers at local company Exocortex to create the most realistic effects yet for the Pensieve (memory pool) in the last installment of the Harry Potter films. As the Ottawa Citizen reports:
The pool, known as the Pensieve to Harry Potter fans, contains an oillike liquid that sloshes around in its basin whenever someone gazes into it. While they had managed to make do with available tools in previous Harry Potter movies, this time around animators wanted the effects to be bigger, better and more realistic than ever before.
Jamie describes his involvement with the project:
For the Harry Potter contract, we developed a C++ API for the client, GradientFX, that used Exocortex's proprietary gridless fluid solving tech. The solver was made to be extremely fast, parallel, and extendable to work in a render farm with many machines running enormous (100 of millions) particle counts. The shots called for a specific inky smoke look, with the fluid morphing into the shape of moving humans, so we added a shape matching algorithm that worked on a purely local level, so was very scalable.
Be sure to watch for their hard work when you get a chance to catch the movie.