Ocean / Ship Houdini to/from Terragen workflow?

Started by frankiejones, April 15, 2023, 08:31:58 AM

Previous topic - Next topic


Intermediate with Houdini but not familiar with Terragen. Interested in learning Terragen, but trying to understand what it can/can't do.
Want to do a test flying above cloud ocean like this: 

Through clouds to ship below:

Have the shot set up in Houdini, using Kelvin wake + simple whitewater sim as is long distance. Looks ok, but wanted to see what could be done with Terragen, for example if wanted ship to go into a harbor or something with mountains, as is just an shelf ocean plane currently.

Is it possible to generate simple wakes / whitewater for ships in Terragen?
What would be the workflow for moving a simple wake sim like this or a close up FLIP sim into Terragen, for background landscapes etc.?

I have no familiarity other than a few hours of tutorial glances in Terragen, so need beginner instructions.



Welcome to the forum. Sounds like an intesting challenge.

Wakes can't be generated in Terragen, but you can use an image map as mask for wake displacement and foam. This image map should be painted first, preferably with the ship in place (maybe from an ortho render in Terragen), so you can use the same coordinates and rotation for object and mask. Both can then be animated the same way.
The image map is best placed at 0/0/0 and moved/rotated and animated through a transform shader, using the coordinates/rotation from the ship.

For a little variation in foam distribution along the way, you could use an animated fractal, masking or breaking up the foam mask.

I hope this helps you on the way.


Does Terragen support Alembic / USD import or Cloud VDB Export?


Not to promote competitors, but is something like VUE better tasked for this kind of scene, is anyone has experience with both?


Ah, ok, it's pretty easy, to render out a cloud layer and then composite on top of a Houdini ocean. And Cards can be used to composit sections of clouds that overlap objects etc. Cool!

Kevin Kipper

Hi frankiejones,

Currently, Terragen does not support Alembic/USD import, but can import MDD files for geometry deformations.  You can find out more information in the online docs of the "OBJ Reader" node under Mesh Displacements:

Terragen 4 Professional can export Cloud layers in VDB format.  Here's a link to a video on that feature: