Dr. Bridson’s Story

Hollywood turns to UBC Prof's software to simulate water in films

Dr. Bridson’s Story
CategoryFaculty
NameDr. Robert Bridson
ProgramDepartment of Computer Science

 

From the Lab to the Silver Screen

If you’ve watched Avatar, Quantum of Solace, or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 2), you’ve seen Dr. Robert Bridson’s fluid-simulation software, Naiad, in action.

A professor with UBC’s Department of Computer Science, Dr. Bridson co-founded start-up company Exotic Matter four years ago and developed the Naiad software, which is now used at major film studios around the world. The software simulates the physics of how fluid flows so that animators can realistically portray what moving liquid, gas, smoke, or fire would look like.

“There’s a scene [in Avatar] where the main character jumps off a cliff into a river, down a waterfall, and the water that’s flying around as he’s struggling out of the river is computer-generated,” said Dr. Bridson, who calls his work “an interesting mix of physics, math, computer science, and a little artistic appreciation.”

Avatar was a turning point in the development of the Naiad software.

“We hadn’t even really finished the beta version, let alone released the product when they started using it, and they really pushed hard to accomplish things that hadn’t been done before,” said Dr. Bridson.

Most recently, the Naiad software was used in the film adaptation of Life of Pi. It has also been used in advertisements to simulate the movement of shampoo, vodka, molten chocolate, and more.

Always on the Lookout for New Talent

Currently, Dr. Bridson is working with graduate and undergraduate students to determine easier and more cost-effective methods of simulating fluid movement. He encourages undergraduate students who are interested in carrying out research to learn about what their professors are doing and ask if there are any opportunities available for them.

“Getting to know professors and checking out their research on the web is a great way to start even before you actually meet face to face,” he advises. “The main thing is that it never hurts to ask. Every professor is always on the lookout for bright students, particularly those who they’ve already seen in class.”

Latest Stories

Previous
Danielle G UBC Okanagan Geography student

Pursuing a second degree in Human Geography

Danielle’s experiences as a Geography student UBC Okangan
student

Pursuing a second degree in Human Geography

"As someone who is interested in the humanities and social sciences, an Arts degree at UBC was perfect for me as it allowed me to broaden my knowledge through a variety of different classes, while gaining the necessary requirements for my career goals and graduate school." - Danielle G., Geography
Sophie H. on the Okanagan campus

Exploring cultural theory and social change

UBC Okanagan Arts student Sophie on the power of a Cultural Studies degree
student

Exploring cultural theory and social change

“It is one thing to identify what is wrong with this world, but it’s another to see how people are managing to live and finding joy within it. Because this is where the changes are happening.” - Sophie H., Cultural Studies

Choosing research in Nursing at UBC Okanagan

How Nursing student Dresya is tackling late detection of breast cancer to improve patient outcomes.
student

Choosing research in Nursing at UBC Okanagan

"The program pushes me to redefine what it means to be a 'nurse' daily. There has not been a day where I have not learned something new. Whether it is delving into the pathophysiology of a disease or acquiring a new clinical skill, the learning never stops. In my experience, the program at UBC Okanagan also understands the profound importance of people in nursing. It pushed me to look beyond mastering the scientific basis of nursing, and incorporate the patient's lived experiences into the care I provide." - Dresya D., BSN

Helping Indigenous communities through Nursing

How Ashley made the career change from marketing to nursing, with the aim of making a positive difference within the Indigenous community.
student

Helping Indigenous communities through Nursing

"Once I complete my schooling, my aim is to work closely within the Indigenous population. My passion lies in patient-centered care and ensuring cultural safety, and I'm eager to make a meaningful impact in these areas." - Ashley H., Bachelor of Science in Nursing

An artist's journey to building community

How UBC Okanagan Fine Arts student Ziv fosters community among UBC's international students as an International Peer
student

An artist's journey to building community

"As an International Peer, I aim to introduce the supportive and inclusive environment UBC has for new students to thrive in. I hope to foster a sense of community and belonging among the international student population, because building connections and relationships is crucial to a positive university experience." - Ziv W., Bachelor of Fine Arts

Having a blast getting to know UBC Vancouver

Bachelor of Science student Kayree on taking part in Jump Start Vancouver, Imagine Day and Collegia
student

Having a blast getting to know UBC Vancouver

"Jump Start helped me transition into university life by introducing me to people that took the same classes as me. The orientation leaders for Jump Start also did an amazing job touring us around UBC despite it being so big. I got used to the map of campus within a week." - Kayree R., Bachelor of Science

Getting ready for university

How Academic Essentials prepared Rajalakshmi for life at UBC Vancouver
student

Getting ready for university

"[Academic Essentials] was a great way to get a taste of university life and explore different aspects of academic work. I was able to see how the same content taught to me can be approached and understood in different ways. The feedback and support from the peers and mentors in the program helped me feel more confident in what I knew, while allowing me to learn and grow." - Rajalakshmi N., Bachelor of Applied Science

Finding confidence as a first-year student

How UBC Okanagan’s Orientations helped Soumil feel comfortable and confident before classes started
student

Finding confidence as a first-year student

“Jump Start was incredibly helpful in helping me to make friends before school began. Through the program, I was able to meet a lot of new people who were also incoming first-year students. We participated in a variety of activities and events together, which helped us to bond and get to know each other better. By the time classes started, I already had a solid group of friends who I could turn to for support and advice.” - Soumil C., BSc in Computer Science
next