Road to a short #5: a Kissaten Scene with multiple shots Part 1: Hand-dripping with a Hario v60

animated short
May 2022

Needing a lot more practices on storyboarding, shot composition, layout etc etc etc, but at the same time I also want to make stuff that I am excited about. Why not making a Kissaten scene? that'd be awesome. Started from the hand dripping shot, and thought maybe could extend it to a scene inside a Kissaten, then more stuff brewed from there.
I saw this compilation of Ghibli food scene on Instagram (the algorithm..) and there was a shot of hand-dripping coffee. Water is poured from the kettle in circular motion, and the "effector" is the coffee bed with a left over track of the trace of water in a blooming fashion. In a way it looked like a snake following a circular path with the head inflated, and tail extended while moving along curve and gradually dissolve (lifetime). The shot contains:
  1. A Dripper (static)
  2. A stained filter paper clinged on the dripper (static)
  3. Coffee bed (scaling up)
  4. Water stream (dynamic with some sort of uniform curvature)
  5. Neck of a Kettle (moving along the circular curve)
  6. The bubble track (moving along the circular curve, changing length, changing size)
  7. Invisible curve that both kettle, water stream, and bubble track follow through

Water Stream

This was the part I spent time on understanding what this water stream is supposed to be like. I started by modelling it with fluid simulation. It is pretty straight forward in blender to do so, with an inflow source, domain, and an effector. By parenting the "inflow" (where the water starts being streamed out) with the kettle outlet, the stream looked very realistic. And by adding transparent shader with glossy effect (glass toon shader essentially), and outline in white to wrap around the stream, the result was quite satisfying, except that the stream itself looked very detailed. I wanted to find ways to model this motion in a way that looked smoother, less realistic, but still looked like a stream).
Then I went pouring a cup of my own coffee :laugh: and observed what the stream actually looked like. I was reading the book "Elemental Magic" the other day, and there was a line somewhere describing the nature all moves with a pattern, a mathematical pattern. I found out the stream from my point of view was more like a screw, screwing down with multiple "stream" intersecting each other while being affected by gravity at the same time. Like 2 people hugging each other while swirling down the sky. Using screw modifier of triangular path with the rotation being animated produced this effect! Really with the right shader, this looked like water being poured. (Which later I realised the curvature was totally missed. Later compensated in the action of coffee being served out from a server.)


The main part of this little animation is definitely the bubbles following through the water stream on the coffee bed. It was really a journey of multiple experiment. Particle system was handy at first, but I reckon might as well start with geometry node. The idea I had was to use Geometry Proximity to scale the bubble (the further away, the smaller the bubble so they looked like dissolving). The mesh where the "bubbles" are distributed is basically a snake like shape. It turned out alright but it didn't look great. The shape was too restricted, and I hadn't got the shader right.
The motion is a snake like object being stretched along the path. A sphere is sufficient for this purpose, with a few shape keys to model the change of shape (snake head), and the "stretch" can be modelled by applying a curve modifier in X direction. So when the curve is being moved in x direction, the stretch happened along the "curve", as long as the curve has sufficient resolution.
It was smooth......and pretty stoked over the result! (time to add audio)
There was another issue with the bubble follow through. The coffee bed was supposed to rise (bloom) with water being poured down, so the spiral curve must be shrinked-wrap to the coffee bed. The coffee bed is a plane with noise displacement, the contour needs to be respected by the curve, and it'd create a more 3 dimensional motion for the bubble stream if it actually moves up and down according to the contour. Finally I figured out adding a shrink wrap constraint to the bubble stream does the work!!

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