A tutorial on how to make an animated giant whirlpool with foam and spray. Inspiration from Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End.
1. Start by creating a NURBS or a polygon plane. NURBS is propably best, but I used polygons on this one. Make it a high resolution, like 80×80.
2. Go into Polygons>Mesh>Sculpt Geometry Tool. Or if using NURBS go into Surfaces>Edit NURBS>Sculpt Geometry.
3. Model a valley in the middle of your plane.
4. Select your plane and go to Animation>Deform>Create Nonlinear>Twist. Resize the deformer, so that it fits just like on the image to the right.
5. Start playing with the Start Angle under the derformer’s attributes. After finding a suitable value, then start sizing the plane. As we scale it through the y-axis, the deformed plane will now twist like a whirlpool.
6. Go to frame 1 and extend the duration of your timeline. I went with 400 frames. At frame 1 keyframe the scale of the y-axis. Size to the point, where you want the shape to begin. Then go to frame 400 and scale the y-axis out, so that the malstroem will be at its final state. Key- frame and watch the animation. Simple, but if done properly it looks cool.

Download pdf How to create a dynamic maelstrom in Maya 8.X