Here’s why the fluid sims on ‘The Perfect Storm’ were so hard to do

VFX Notes has a special guest — Habib Zargarpour – who discusses his role at ILM on the oceans for ‘The Perfect Storm’.

They had done tornadoes, but could they do oceans? This was something associate visual effects supervisor Habib Zargarpour and the team at ILM faced on Wolfgang Petersen’s The Perfect Storm, released in 2000.

In this fun chat with Ian Failes and Hugo Guerra on the VFX Notes podcast, Zargarpour breaks down the CG work on the film, from the original test to the swirling ocean sims. We have lots of amazing behind the scenes videos to showcase, too.

This episode is sponsored by ftrack, the Academy Award-winning project management, production tracking, and media review platform for the creative industry. Please visit ftrack’s website to know more:


00:00 – intro
01:08 – sponsors
01:52 – podcast begins
03:59 – CG water
05:07 – the test shot
08:20 – filming reference plates with the coast guard
12:55 – state of play on fluid dynamics in 2000
18:16 – elements and AOVs in compositing
21:54 – names of elements pipeline
26:15 – resolution and render time
28:32 – match move and compositing
32:40 – what software where used at the time?
39:06 – Maya’s Secrets of the Pros book
42:25 – the Oscar nomination
48:02 – Patreon and Members credits

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Photo gallery

Below, check out a gallery of images showcasing a model ship Zargarpour made during production – “I wanted to understand the ship design more, and this really helped me while I was writing the sim code. Especially the depth of the hull.” Also in the gallery, the ILM crew gift and helicopter shot.

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