Making realistic Oceans in Cinema 4D

Photo-realistic Oceans in Cinema 4D

Published on
April 28, 2023
Operation: Deli Platter

Achieving realistic depth in your water renders

For Operation: Deli Platter we had to figure out a variety of ways to achieve realistic oceans.
There are 3 main use-cases in the film for which a different setup is required.

  1. Moving camera — Top down view
  2. Still camera — Horizon view
  3. Collision Volume — Any view

This tutorial covers the first use-case. For this we will simply create a cube that we can give a volumetric water material.
Then we will use a Vector Displacement Map to generate the waves.

A work in progress render of the ocean in Operation: Deli Platter with the soldiers in a speedboat on the ocean. There are no waves in this 3d-render.
Base render for setting up lighting.

A 3d render of the ocean using vector displacement maps for the ocean waves to create realistic water in 3d. A work in progress for Operation: Deli Platter.
Vector Displacement Map for the ocean gives 3D Geometry.

A work in progress 3d render of the ocean with a speedboat with soldiers in Operation: Deli Platter. The 3d render is showing the normal map pass.
Normal Pass + Z-Depth pass.

A 3d-rendered still from Operation: Deli Platter of soldiers in a speedboat crossing the ocean.
Still from Operation: Deli Platter

Creating an Infinite Ocean

The next use-case is when you need the ocean to extend until the horizon.
In our case we only had a single tile of Vector Displacement for the ocean waves.

The best solution we found was to apply the texture map to a variety of disks.
Each of these disks is then offset with rotation. That way you can create the illusion of a seamless ocean from the horizon.

A 3d-rendered still from Operation: Deli Platter of a speedboat by the glass box in the middle of the ocean.
Still from Operation: Deli Platter with the infinite ocean.

Cinema 4D viewport with an example of an infinite ocean using discs.

Chaos Corona material editor setup part 1 of making a realistic ocean material shader.

Chaos Corona material editor setup part 2 of making a realistic ocean material shader.

Creating an Interactive Ocean

The final use-case is one we haven't tackled yet ourselves.
But creating an interactive ocean that collides with your 3D-objects is achievable within the Chaos Ecosystem.

The tool is called Chaos Phoenix

And similar to a tool like Houdini you can create great looking particle simulations.

Good luck with your 3d-ocean renders! 
Would love to see what you make :) 

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