Closest Point Turbulence for liquid surfaces

Theodore Kim, Jerry Tessendorf, Nils Thürey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


We propose a method of increasing the apparent spatial resolution of an existing liquid simulation. Previous approaches to this "up-resing" problem have focused on increasing the turbulence of the underlying velocity field. Motivated by measurements in the free surface turbulence literature, we observe that past certain frequencies, it is sufficient to perform a wave simulation directly on the liquid surface, and construct a reduced-dimensional surface-only simulation. We sidestep the considerable problem of generating a surface parameterization by employing an embedding technique known as the Closest Point Method (CPM) that operates directly on a 3D extension field. The CPM requires 3D operators, and we show that for surface operators with no natural 3D generalization, it is possible to construct a viable operator using the inverse Abel transform. We additionally propose a fast, frozen core closest point transform, and an advection method for the extension field that reduces smearing considerably. Finally, we propose two turbulence coupling methods that seed the high-resolution wave simulation in visually expected regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15
JournalACM Transactions on Graphics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Fluid simulation
  • Liquid simulation
  • Physically based modeling
  • Wave turbulence


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