Mantaflow was pushed to Blender’s master branch on December 16, 2019. Now you don’t have to do all this stuff. It’s already in Blender by default! Hooray!

How To Build Blender With Mantaflow

Here’s what I know about how to build Blender with Mantaflow. Some software engineers may laugh, but I’ve legit been trying to build Blender with Mantaflow for about a solid month (very off and on mind you, but still). If you don’t know what Mantaflow is or why it’s worth building a new copy of blender for… check out http://mantaflow.com/

The capabilities of this new (in the Blender world, at least) method of calculating fluid and smoke simulations are insane. Unfortunately, it’s not available as a simple plugin, but you can grab it for FREE, if you’re not afraid of a terminal. (Also, I should note, there’s a new way to get FLIP fluids in blender and it IS a plugin, literally called FLIP Fluids, and it’s currently only stable for Windows and will set you back around $76) Regardless, FLIP fluids are highly efficient, and just all-around better than Blender’s default fluid/smoke simulator.

So how to I do this? Step one: open a terminal. Don’t worry, it doesn’t bite.

This is a screenshot of htop running in a linux terminal

What You’ll Need

First, you’re gonna need some tools before you can start building Blender with Mantaflow. If you’re on a Mac, there’s quite a bit of installing before you can actually start anything. For more info, check out this build guide for Mac OS Once you have Cmake and XCode development tools installed, you’re good to go. For Linux, you’re basically already good to go. Create a new folder in your home folder called blender-git.

creating a folder named blender-git in the home directory

Once you’re inside, clone Blender from the source.

cloning the blender code from the source repository

Next is the tricky part. Instead of continuing to follow the directions on wiki.blender.org, you’re gonna want to switch branches by running “git checkout fluid-mantaflow”. You should get a confirmation something like “successfully switched branches, you’re now on the fluid-mantaflow branch”

NOTE: The Blender source code is always changing, so double check developer.blender.org to keep an eye on the latest branch development.

checking out the mantaflow branch

Install Dependencies

Now you need to install/update dependencies for to build Blender with Mantaflow. You can do so by following the step 2 over on wiki.blender.org . All of the tedious installs that you had to do manually, one by one over on Mac can be done with one simple line in the Linux terminal (I’m not biased).

updating packages, installing build packages

Then there’s a special shell script that takes care of all your dependencies just by executing it. Simply run:

running 'install deps.sh'

Then you’re nearly ready! One last step! Make sure you can compile the code with Cmake by running:

installing cmake

Then you just need to make sure you’re inside the blender folder that was created when you cloned blender, and just run ‘make’.

building blender with cmake

if that doesn’t work, or if the build fails… try using the tag that sebbas suggests for compiling on Linux:

building blender with custom build options

And that’s it! Once the build succeeds, navigate to your build directory, cd into the bin folder and run ./blender

Tada! Enjoy the awesome power of FLIP fluids for free!