This was done during my time at TX MOTIONMEDIA in 2013. I did the modeling, scene setup, texturing, shading, lighting & bubble simulations. My colleague Clinton Ford handled the liquid simulation aspect in Realflow. Theo Le-Roux Preis did the final comp and grade.
For this job we focused on adding as much detail as possible with the amount of time given. 500,000 grains of sand were scattered around the cups and foreground. Sand was then also scattered towards the bottom of each cup to help make them feel naturally grounded.
As well as the grains of sand, high reflective pieces of geometry were placed around the out of focused regions of the render to achieve simple bokeh shapes. The liquid (by far) was the most difficult aspect of the job as it was a fight between realistic interactions and achieving a splash shape the client was after. With the approval of the splash, bubbles were simulated with standard maya particles to create the effect of effervescence within the liquid. The liquid particle count reached just over 400,000 particles. Wet patches of beach sand were easy to achieve by baking out an AO map and animating it at moments liquid impacted the ground and then multiplying the newly baked animated AO texture back into the shader network to give the added wet look.
Below is the final pack shot sequence as well as some earlier WIP images below that.