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Helper Menu Settings

Ryan Guy edited this page Jun 23, 2022 · 11 revisions
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The FLIP Fluids Helper Menu contains helpful operators and settings to enhance your workflow. The Helper Menu can be found in the FLIP Fluids tab within Blender's sidebar area.

How can I find the Blender Sidebar?

The Blender Sidebar area is part of the 3D viewport.

  • Blender 2.8+: Expand the sidebar area with the hotkey N. The sidebar menus and tabs will be found on the right side of the viewport.
  • Blender 2.79: Expand the sidebar area with the hotkey T. The sidebar menus and tabs will be found on the left side of the viewport.

Helper Menu Operators and Settings

This section will detail the operators and settings of the FLIP Fluids Helper Menu.

Bake Simulation

The bake simulation operators (Start, resume, and reset simulation) are a copy of the bake operators found in the Domain Simulation panel and cache directory operators found in the Domain Cache panel. This section of the Helper Menu is handy if you want to control your simulation baking without having the domain object selected!

Add/Remove Objects

This set of operators will help you create a domain object or add all selected objects as a FLIP Fluid simulation type. If you have many objects that you want to set as a FLIP Fluid object type, use these operators so that you will not have to set each object one by one.

Create Domain Generate a domain object depending on the context of what objects are selected and what type of objects you have in your scene. See additional notes below for more information on how the domain will be created.
Obstacle Add all selected objects as an Obstacle type object.
Fluid Add all selected objects as Fluid type objects.
Inflow Add all selected objects as Inflow type objects.
Outflow Add all selected objects as Outflow type objects.
Force Add all selected objects as Force type objects.
Remove Remove all selected objects from the FLIP Fluids simulation.

Create Domain Operator (Additional Notes)

The 'smart' Create Domain operator will generate a domain object depending on the context of what objects are selected and what type of objects are in your scene. Here are the specific details for how this operator will generate your domain:

  • When no objects are selected:
    • If there are FLIP Fluid objects in your scene, a new domain object will be created to contain all of these objects
    • If there are no FLIP Fluid objects in your scene, a new empty domain will be created
  • When one object is selected:
    • If the object is already set as a FLIP Fluid object type, a new domain object will be created to contain this object
    • If the selected object is not set as a FLIP Fluid object, and this object is a valid domain shape (Cube/Rectangle, aligned to X/Y/Z axis), this object will be converted into a domain object
    • If the selected object is not a valid domain shape, this object will be converted into an Inverse Obstacle in wireframe mode and a new domain will be created to contain this object
  • When multiple objects are selected:
    • A new domain will be created to contain all selected objects
  • More Notes:
    • This operator will only be available if there is no domain object set in the .blend file
    • When objects are selected, this operator will only consider objects that possible to use as a simulation object (Mesh, Empty, or Curve type objects). A camera or light source type object would not be considered a valid simulation type object and would be ignored, for example.
    • Helpful feature: If there are FLIP Fluid objects present in your scene that are too small to show up on the simulation grid (See this topic), the domain resolution will be automatically increased so that the smallest object will have enough grid coverage.
      • This is just a simple method that uses the object's bounding box and works best on basic geometry (ex: icospheres, cubes). This feature may not work as well for more complex geometry and is unable to detect thin-walled objects in many cases.

Object Display

Use these operators to quickly toggle between solid or wireframe viewport display for an object.

Example usage: FLIP Fluid Obstacle objects are displayed in solid mode by default, but if your object is set as an [Inverse Obstacle|Obstacle-Inverse-Workflow], you might want to see inside of this object. Simply click the Wireframe operator to quickly toggle the object's viewport display to wireframe mode!

Solid Set the viewport display of all selected objects to solid mode.
Wireframe Set the viewport display of all selected objects to wireframe mode.
Show Render Enable the render visibility display of all selected objects.
Hide Render Disable the render visibility display of all selected objects.

Select Objects

Use these operators to quickly select FLIP Fluid simulation objects or simulation mesh objects. If you have a large simulation or a heavy scene, the viewport can become laggy and responsiveness of selecting objects in your scene can suffer. These operators will select these common objects faster than selecting by hand in the viewport. Being able to select the simulation meshes quickly will be helpful for setting materials, for example.

Domain Select the simulation Domain object.
Obstacle Select all Obstacle type objects.
Fluid Select all Fluid type objects.
Inflow Select all Inflow type objects.
Outflow Select all Outflow type objects.
Force Select all Force Field type objects.
Surface Select the fluid surface mesh (fluid_surface).
Foam Select the simulation foam mesh (whitewater_foam).
Bubble Select the simulation bubble mesh (whitewater_bubble).
Spray Select the simulation spray mesh (whitewater_spray).
Dust Select the simulation dust mesh (whitewater_dust).

Organize Outliner

Use these operators to quickly organize your FLIP Fluid objects and simulation meshes into separate collections (or unlink objects from these collections back into a flat list).

FLIP Objects to Collections Organize all FLIP Fluid simulation objects into separate collections based on the object type.
Unlink FLIP Object Collections Unlink all FLIP Fluid simulation objects from their organized collections and place into a flat list within the default FLIPFluid collection. This operator will not delete any objects.
FLIP Meshes to Collections Organize each generated fluid surface and whitewater meshes into separate collections. Useful for quickly creating separate view and render layers for the simulation results.
Unlink FLIP Mesh Collections Unlink all fluid surface and whitewater meshes from their organized collections. This operator will not delete any objects.

Command Line Tools

These are our favorite tools! The most stable way to bake and render a simulation or scene in Blender is through the command line. Baking and rendering from the command line bypasses the need for Blender to load and manage the viewport and graphical interface. This reduces RAM usage and improves stability since potential conflicts with the interface are eliminated. Baking and rendering from the command line can also be faster!

However, if you are not familiar with the command line, this can be intimidating or complicated. Our command line operators help automate the process of launching a simulation baking or rendering task as easy as possible. The command line rendering tool doesn't just apply for a FLIP Fluids simulation, you can use these operators in other scenes too!

Command Line Bake

Launch Bake (Windows OS only) Automatically launch a new command line window and start baking the simulation. You will need to save your .blend file before running this operator. Any unsaved changes will not take effect in the command line bake. After launching the baking task, you may close Blender and the bake will keep running. If you want to view your simulation progress, you can open your scene and scrub through the timeline as you normally would.
Notes: Depending on system security settings, this automatic command line baking feature may be considered a security risk and may not start. If this is the case, see the documentation below on copying the baking command and starting the command line bake manually.
Copy Bake Command Click to copy the command line baking command to your system clipboard. After copying the command, you may paste this into your system's command line window to start the baking task. You will need to save your .blend file before running this command. This feature is supported on Windows/MacOS/Linux.
Render After Bake When enabled, automatically start a command line animation render after the command line bake process is completed. This option also offers a selection between a normal command line render or to launch a frame by frame batch file render.

Command Line Animation Render

Launch Render (Windows OS only) Automatically launch a new command line window and start rendering the scene. You will need to save your .blend file before running this operator. Any unsaved changes will not take effect in the command line render. After launching the render, you may close Blender and the render will keep running.
Notes: Depending on system security settings, this automatic command line rendering feature may be considered a security risk and may not start. If this is the case, see the documentation below on copying the rendering command and starting the command line render manually.
Copy Render Command Click to copy the command line animation rendering command to your system clipboard. After copying the command, you may paste this into your system's command line window to start the rendering task. You will need to save your .blend file before running this command. This feature is supported on Windows/MacOS/Linux.
Generate Batch File (Windows OS only) Click to generate a Windows batch (.bat) file set up to render each frame one by one. The .bat file will be saved in the same directory as your .blend file and will be labeled in the form: RENDER_[blend_filename].bat.
Notes: This operator will detect already rendered frames in the output directory and disregard these from the batch file. To re-render all frames, make sure to delete the rendered frames in the output directory.
Notes: Upon a render crash, the batch file will start up Blender again and begin rendering the next frame. In this way, you can minimize unrendered frames if your system is prone to render crashes.
Notes: This operator can also be used outside of the FLIP Fluids addon to render a sequence of frames individually. There are some bugs in Blender which can cause an animation to be rendered incorrectly and a workaround to these issues is to render each frame one by one.
Launch Batch File Render (Windows OS only) (Play icon) Automatically launch the generated batch file. If no file has been generated yet, the Generate Batch File operator will be run before launching.
Open Output Folder (Windows OS only) (Folder icon) Open the render output folder in your Windows filebrowser.

Command Line Frame Render

Launch Frame Render (Windows OS only) Automatically launch a new command line window and begin rendering a single frame. This operator will render the current timeline frame.
Notes: The .blend file should be saved before using this operator in order for render and simulation settings to take effect. However, it is not required to save the .blend file if you are only changing a frame in the timeline or if changing the Open Image After Render or Close CMD Window After Render options. Depending on system security settings, this automatic command line rendering feature may be considered a security risk and may not start. If this is the case, see the documentation below on copying the rendering command and starting the command line render manually.
Copy Render Command Click to copy the command line single frame rendering command to your system clipboard. After copying the command, you may paste this into your system's command line window to start the rendering task. You will need to save your .blend file before running this command. This feature is supported on Windows/MacOS/Linux.
Open Image After Render (Windows OS only) If enabled, the command line script will automatically open the image using the default image program of your OS after the render is completed.
Close CMD Window After Render (Windows OS only) If enabled, the command line window will be automatically closed after the render is completed.

Related Documentation:

Geometry Node Tools

This section contains operations related to geometry nodes. These features require an installation of Blender 3.1 or later.

Initialize Motion Blur This operator will automatically set up everything necessary for motion blur rendering. This operator checks that the render engine is set to Cycles, that Cycles motion blur rendering is enabled, that necessary FLIP Fluids attributes are enabled, will initialize basic geometry node set ups on the fluid surface and whitewater, and will check that the simulation mesh objects have motion blur rendering enabled.
The operator will also display what changes were made to the .blend file in the Blender System Console window. On Windows, this window can be opened with Window > Toggle System Console or by running Blender from the terminal on macOS/Linux.
This operator is best used before baking a simulation, as the attribute data may need to be baked.

Related Documentation:

Beginner Tools and Tips:

This section contains options links that are helpful to beginners (and experienced users too!). Refer to the Preferences: Recommended for Beginners topic for documentation on these options.

Viewport Display Operators

These operators help you quickly control how the simulation results are displayed in viewport.

For the surface/whitewater display settings, refer to the FLIP Fluid Display panel Surface Viewport Display Mode and Whitewater Viewport Display Mode

Reload Frame Reload the current frame in the timeline.
Notes: If you have changed any display settings, you will need to click this operator (or set the timeline frame) to reload the frame and refresh the simulation results. Simulation results are not automatically refreshed as this can be an expensive operation to reload all of the simulation meshes.
Load Last Frame Load the most recently simulated frame into the viewport.
Auto-Load Baked Frames Enable this option to automatically load newly baked frames as they finish simulating. I like enabling this option to see how the simulation is running while I'm sitting on my couch away from the computer.

Simulation Playback

Controls how the simulation animation is played back in the viewport or render.

Playback Mode How to playback the simulation animation.
Timeline
    Use the current timeline frame for the simulation playback.
Override Frame
    Use a custom frame for simulation playback instead of the current timeline frame. TIP: The overridden frame value can be keyframed for complex control over animation playback.
Hold Frame
    Hold a single frame in place, regardless of timeline position.

Override Frame Settings

Override Frame Number The custom frame number to override. If this value is not a whole number, the frame to be loaded will be rounded down. This option is only available if Override Frame is selected. TIP: The overridden frame value can be keyframed for complex control over animation playback.
Make Keyframes Linear (operator) Automatically set the Override Frame interpolation mode to Linear. This operator is only applicable if the Override Frame value is keyframe animated. This option is only available if Override Frame is selected. TIP: The interpolation mode can also be adjusted in the Blender Graph Editor when selecting the domain object.

Hold Frame Settings

Hold Frame Number The timeline frame to be held in place. This option is only available if Hold Frame is selected.
Delete Other Cache Files (operator) Delete all cache files except the held frame. This option is only available if Hold Frame is selected.

Playback Offset Settings

Frame Offset Frame offset for simulation playback. For example, setting this value to -10 will shift the simulation playback backwards by 10 frames.
Current Simulation Frame (info) Displays the current simulation frame with the Playback Mode and Frame Offset applied.