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Quicksilver Animation

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

Today ACME.CODES released a new animation to our public library: Quicksilver

This is one of our simulation based animations; rather than keyframing the tiles of a QR code to different positions over time, the animation is created by calculating the physical behavior of a mercury-like fluid flowing between the tiles of a QR code.

If you choose Quicksilver, we animate your QR code slowly immersing itself into a pool of mercury, which eventually settles down to a reflection of your custom image. Then the mercury splashes up through the image and back down through the QR code. It's... literally a splashy QR code.

Normally our animations are implemented so that the creation time is very short; usually less than two minutes. However, fluid simulation animation requires much more time than other animations for two reasons:

The Simulation (calculating the fluid movement), and

The Rendering (calculating the pixels of the animation).

The Simulation:

This simulation requires a time consuming amount of computer calculations because simulating natural effects of liquids requires it.

A particular result of this style of animation is that each animation is completely unique to each and every QR code, since the QR code is interacting directly with the fluid simulation, and small differences in the QR code tile placement largely effect the movement and shape of the mercury animation.

The Rendering:

The image creation requires more time than usual because calculating the surface reflections of the mercury requires a much more computationally intense software ray-tracing renderer (like is used for animated films) rather than our normally used very fast hardware renderer (like is used for computer games).

It should be noted that these are exciting times for real time ray-tracing in our industry; Nvidia's RTX line of GPUs and other suppliers have recently started supplying robust and fast ray tracing on their GPU accelerated cards. Ray tracing has been implemented on GPUs in the past, but never at such industry-wide availability as now. In the not-too-distant future, GPU based rendering will be as realistic as more traditional CPU based rendering. We look forward to taking advantage of this new technology soon.

Despite the longer time needed for both simulation and rendering, ACME still provides an un-beatable turnaround time for such a complex simulation customized to anyone's recently defined QR code. Our fully automated framework can create this animation at high resolution in about an hour for 1/10 to 1/1000 the cost of attaining a custom QR code animation from traditional animation creators.

Most importantly: these animations are pleasant to watch. There are few things as satisfying to the eye as light glimmering off the smooth waves of a perfectly reflecting surface.

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