Bubbles


The custom software solution I used for this project was originally developed for Locomotion to produce a series of O2 TV spots, i.e. the O2 Nokia N78 commercial shown in our portfolio. I have continued to extend this bubble tool privately.

The basic concept behind this tool was the creation of bubble geometry on nurbs curves. The bubbles had to be animatable along (tangent vector), away (normal vector) and around the curve. Bubbles had to follow the motion of a curve, in other words they had to stick to a local curve space position. Bubble size (growth) along the curve had to be animatable. All of these parameters had to support randomization to make the overall distribution of bubbles look more natural.

For the Lightstorm3D bubble logo animation shown below I used four nurbs circles to form the outlines of the torus and two nurbs curves for the flash symbol. Some more curves were used to fill the scene with bubbles. All logo curves are animated with another custom tool to deform the whole logo shape using a wavy pattern that supports the underwater effect.

By animating the bubble scale factor along each curve individually the logo slowly takes shape. The bubble tool has a build in dynamics simulation. I have control over the amount of bubbles attached to the curve and those being handed over to the dynamics system. As the number of bubbles controlled by dynamics is slowly increased, more and more bubbles start to leave the curve and accelerate upwards using a directional force. The directional force support spreading to randomize the direction to some degree. Once the logo is assembled completely I increase the dynamics value to affect 100% and all bubbles drift up.

The bubble geometry generated by this tool is not perfectly round. I use an integrated 4D noise to deform the shape. An extra algorithm ensures the volume of a bubble is maintained during deformation. Intensity and speed of the deformation effect is user definable and can be directly related to the velocity of each bubble. Thus, the faster a bubble moves the more it is deformed and the faster the deformation changes.