On Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales I have done varying FX work.
My main task here was creating a trail behind the ships in the ocean surfaces. Using Python and VEX I created a trail set-up which would procedurally create a trail behind the moving ships, with user control for, among other things, fall-off and trail length.
Using colour mapping I then mixed in the trail surface with the existing ocean surface, to seemlessly blend the two together. The trail surface being flatter and more turbulent than the ocean surface.
To create the correct motion on the foam and white water in the trail, I used FLIP simulations to create a bespoke velocity field for the particles to follow and mixed that into the surface of the trail. This I then added to the surface and velocities of the ocean surface before simulating the white water.
For lighting to be able to render the changes my team and I made to their surfaces, I had to also develop a masking tool that would store the displacements of my trail set-up into attributes, or primvars, so lighting could pick it up.
Other than foam and white water I am working with particle effects and converting them to volumes, to then light and render them with Mantra, then mix the particle effects together with their volumetric counterparts.