Rendering underwater terrain - tips, tricks or suggestions?

Started by macmapper, July 10, 2009, 05:17:29 pm

Previous topic - Next topic


Has anyone created submerged underwater terrain/scenes using real world bathymetry data?   Or just underwater scenes from generated heightfields.   I am curious how these look and if there are any special tips or tricks to doing this.   I know that the Nat Geo show, Drain the Oceans used real world bathymetry data but I am interested in creating underwater scenes/animations that are actually submerged.   If anyone has links to UW images it would be great to see what can be done.

Thanks for any advice or tips!

Henry Blewer

It would be hard to do this. You could export the terrain data after the 'dry' landscape has been rendered. Use a projection map to texture the terrain in a different app.
The reason I think it would have to be done externally is the way light behaves in water.
Forget Tuesday; It's just Monday spelled with a T


One of the hardest things to produce in TG2 is the "Bottom/Underneath of the Surface" of the water, that though it is transparent, but also reflective bend ing the light as it passes through. When I have tried to see the TG2 water from below the surface, it does not appear because the water is not of a volumn material :( I am sure there is a work-a-round, but I have not found it. Also, TG2 has either No or Very Little Caustic response to light on metal or in the water. To just create the scene though would not be that difficult. Thicken the haze to mimic underwater opacity or the relative capacity of matter to obstruct the transmission of radiant light energy. It is very doable!!!  8)


Theres been very little work with underwater so far, as its somewhat difficult to do with what we have right now. 

my one attempted i made for a bit:

i generally cranked up haze and changed the color.


Until there is a volume water object I don't think we'll really get anything that looks even half accurate. I don't know if you could create a box or something in 3ds max or maya that was a solid rather than a shell. All the objects in Terragen are shells. Then maybe you can apply the water shader to it and by some freak coding bug it just happens to make it look like water, I dunno. :D
Figured out how to do clicky signatures


Thanks for suggestions and tips.   Good to know.  It would be a very cool thing to do in TG2 but I realize the difficulties inherent in making true underwater rendering possible.   Thanks for posting the UW shark scene neuspadrin.    Nice to see what other's efforts have been like with UW scenery.


I think you could probably fake it with a thick atmosphere and a plane with a caustic pattern above the scene (with the Visible to camera switched off) to get the volumetric rays.


Henry Blewer

That's a start. I would use a lot of haze. The atmosphere quality samples at 10, for a grainy look. Turn on the water shaders shadow option. Maybe turn on the atmosphere raytraced shadows.
Forget Tuesday; It's just Monday spelled with a T