Introduction to the Fluid Simulator

Get to grips with one of blender’s coolest perks: the built-in fluid simulator.

21 minutes
Blender 2.5
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.7/5 (68 votes cast)

In this tutorial you will discover:

  • The basics of fluid simulations
  • How to create a splash effect
  • Advanced settings to tweak for better results

One of the most under rated features of blender is it’s built-in fluid simulator. Commercial users have to fork out close to $4000 for fluid simulations, but Blender users get it for free. Boo yah!

Unfortunately it rarely gets used. Part of this reason is probably that we can’t think of any uses for it besides filling up a glass, but also that there are few tutorials for it.

So in this week’s tutorial I’m focusing entirely on the fluid simulator and how to use it effectively.

Finished Result

Catch! Oops.

At a Glance

Screenshots from the video:

Further Inspiration

Now that you’ve finished the tutorial it’s time to get your feet wet (pun intended) and create something with it. Here’s some inspiration to get you started:

Have fun! Don’t forget to leave a comment below with suggestions for future topics or finished works that you create from this tutorial.

Download started .blend Download finished .blend Introduction to the Fluid Simulator, 4.7 out of 5 based on 68 ratings

About Andrew Price

User of Blender for 9+ years. I've written tutorials for 3d World Magazine and spoken at three Blender conferences. My goal is to help artists get employed in the industry by making training accessible and easy to understand. I'm an Aussie and I live in South Korea ;)
  • Betaman156

    The fluid sim worked eventually, but sow there’s not enough water in the cup for the cube to make a good splash.

  • Betaman156

    So, this is what is happening when I bake the fluid simulation.

  • Varel

    Hello Andrew
    I do The fluid Simulation with Lux Render and When I Render it is not lokking
    Good and Then I Go to Cycles it’s lokking Good
    and This is My Result

  • 8steady

    Great tutorial. This, in combination with Blender Cookie’s intro to fluids has put me on a good start to understanding the fluid simulator in Blender. ONe question: I’m using blender 2.68a and if my obstacle/cup object is set to volume and I drop fluid from above that object, the fluid doesn’t go inside the bowl/cup. It actsl like the cup is solid, or it has an invilible lid over it. I have to set the obstacle to “shell”. Am I doin’ it wrong? or is it maybe the newer version has a bit different setup?

  • Toxicoid

    ok, so there are possible millions of questions on why the domain turns into fluid and disappears, but just how many are there on if none of the above happens. In the scene I have a bowl, a copy of the bowl’s inside with merge points to center (my fluid) i have the domain cube around bowl, I have an object dropping in. Object and Bowl are all obstacle set. I put the fluid cache where I’d like it to go. And now bake, and it runs through the progress bar but when it’s done my domain is still there and view port is not set to geometry. Any idea’s would really be appreciated by anyone who might know.

  • Petar Georgiev

    I have a little problem- instead of the liquid object- my blender is liquefying the domain object- so please help!

  • Dahmon Tornatore

    Can you do a tutorial on fluid control?

  • Saúl Beltrán

    I love your tuts Andrew, thank you :) (wait that sounds funny)

  • Andrew Mursingh

    please make a tutorial on how to make a scene like this for the newbies

  • hafidz

    nice tutorial….:) how to create crowd simulation in blender?

  • Alejandra Flores

    Hello, i’m a blender beginner and I really need to know how to record the animation into a video file
    thank you

    • elementbound

      On the output panel of the render settings, you can set the output format to something video ( AVI, MPEG, Xvid, whatever you wish )
      After you’ve set the output format, press ctrl+f12. Blender will then render the animation frame by frame.
      Depending on the output directory you’ve set, it will probably be C:tmp-.avi
      The file name will use the format you chose, of course.

      • Blenderdude

        The way I render my projects is a bit different but I think its better what I do is I set the output format to jpeg or png and render every frame as an image then go into the Video Editing and press Add>Image then add in every image that I just rendered and then it should be an image sequence/strip and then go back into the default but now set the output format to H.264 and let it render away. this way you can pause the rendering. hope I helped :^)

  • Zasek Xynanthum

    Sorry to sound like a total noob (Well, I suppose I am- I just got blender yesterday) but how do you access the fluids menu? Thanks!

  • sharif

    many many thanks sir………………nice pls more tutorial upload…….

  • Miguel

    Hi, was wondering how you set up to have an object be the spout.
    I am trying to make ketchup come out of a ketchup bottle.

  • Tom

    how are you supposed to select only the inside cause when i try i select every thing but?

  • Israel Raizer Cruvinel]

    What happens if I put the camera under(inside) the water?
    Obs:If I didn’t write pretty well, it’s because I’m from Brasil.
    And… only to you know: I didn’t use the “Google Translator” to translate, I only did use to certify-me that I did write right(or almost).
    And please, don’t answer: “try it yourself”, alright?

    • sega

      Try it yourself.

  • Tiger

    Will this work with cycles too

    • darkcg

      Fluids are a modelling tool. Cycles is a renderer. This tutorial doesn’t cover the rendering and lighting part, so it will work. You don’t even touch the renderer to follow the tutorial.

  • Elliot

    Hey, for some reason, when I opened one of your other project files (energy drink), and blender crashed, the default new project was set to that project… Not the original cube thing

    • Matt

      I’m not sure why this happened but there’s an easy fix to it. Go to File -> Load Factory Settings and then when you have already clicked it his Ctrl U

  • Riaan

    Hi, everything works great except that my fluid is coming out the sides of the cup, not really staying inside. I saw yours did the same, any ideas?

    • Israel Raizer Cruvinel

      In object mode, select the domain object, then, in the properties panel, go to Modifiers and apply the fluidsim modifier.
      By last, switch to sculpt mode, and select the smooth brush tool, and reduce the part that is out of the cup to where you want.

  • GhostlyLemon

    hi, question: why isnt my fluid or domain or whatever not being affected by the obstacle?

    • Israel Raizer Cruvinel

      Is the obstacle object no thickness?

      If “yes”: Apply the solidify modifier, then, pick the smaller value for tickness(upper than 0.).
      To end: the resolution of the fluid simulation have to be upper than 80 ~ 150.
      do it going to the Physics properties of the domain object>Resolution-Final: 81+, Preview: 81+.
      By last, choose – Render Display:Final – Viewport Display:Final.

      _______ ______ __
      | | ||| ___ __ __ | ____| | |
      | |____ ||| / _ \ | |_ / / | |__ | |
      | ____||| / /_\ \ | _ / | __| \__/
      | | ||| / ___ \ | | \ \ | |____ __
      |__|____||| /__/ \__\ |__| \__\ |______| |__|
      If “no”: I really don’t know.

      • Israel Raizer Cruvinel

        This bunch of slashes and lines were not meant to be like that, was to form the word “Bake”.

  • ivan

    one question, I follow all your steps in the tutorial but in the final result shows a rectangle in the left side of the cup

    attach link image.