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nickej
12-26-2004, 12:50 AM
I'm in the middle of a long-term project that involves a pretty extensive use of "underwater" scenes. I'm trying to figure out what the best plugin might be to get truly realistic underwater effects, particularly close-to-the-surface ripples, refraction, object bobbing, etc.. I've got Vue d'Esprit Pro 4, which does pretty neat water, but its animated water is kinda lame. I've looked at Psunami for AfterEffects, which looks pretty good, but seems to be problematic because I don't think it's possible to let it use the RLA'd camera data from Lightwave.
Now I'm looking at NatureFX 2, which seems to be based on the same core from Arete as Psunami for AFX and ought to be the ideal solution. But looking at their site and noodling around with the demo, I can't figure out whether or not it's even capable of doing underwater effects (although I'd be hard pressed to think why it couldn't...). Has anyone here done/seen/know of any web examples of underwater scenes done with NatureFX?
Failing that, does anyone have any recommendations for software or LW plugins I may not have heard of (definitely below $500, please, this isn't a paying project....)

Mylenium
12-26-2004, 04:37 AM
You won't get any particular underwater look from NatureFX or any other tool for that matter. The algorithms just aren't written for that sort of thing. The only thing you can use is the rippling, but it wont give you proper reflection/ refraction in the way you might want (it will also kill any caustics). Perhaps you could try to use Lume Tools which offer some more flexibility, but honestly I think you would do much better focussing on LWs internal texturing and rendering and than combining that with compositing techniques. After all, underwater scenes are mostly defined by a somewhat misty look with limited visual range in all directions.

Mylenium

nerdyguy227
12-26-2004, 11:20 AM
What I would do is set 2 texture bump displacement maps thet are refrenced by a null and have the null animated then put a light on top that does not affect the water, then have it project the water like pattern for the bottem.

nickej
12-26-2004, 12:03 PM
lThanks for the replies!
What I'm really looking for is that displacement map/bump map combination that allows me to get the undersurface of the water. I was figuring on doing the caustics, falloff, etc. from within LWs regular toolkit. The creature I'm animating (a trilobite--sort of like a giant brine shrimp or sea monkey) spent a lot of its time just below the surface in mid-ocean. So, I really need a surface effect that will be convincing in both texture and motion. Chances are I can just "2D" the refraction since it'll mostly be sky.
I've just never seen a truly realistic water surface effect without fluid simulation. Psunami seems to do it, but only the top?

Mylenium
12-27-2004, 05:48 AM
Well, I think you are thinking in the wrong direction here. You do not need such a plugin as Psunami to create a convincing look - both in texture and motion. There are enough simple and efficient techniques to do just that in LW and I'd wager to say that in most other productions people also resort to using the standard methods and then beefing up things with compositing. Fluid (surface) simulation really only helps when viewing it from outside the "water" and you need a wake and depth attenuation (but even those can be faked quite satisfyingly).

You see, the only point where your Trilobite is going to interact with your water surface is the splash/ ripple when it enters the water and you could do that with Dynamics and PFX. Your main concern should be getting the look right, mainly in selling the right relations between sizes. For the rest I'm not quite sure if it is that important at all, since Trilobites weren't that big and would not be affecting the overall look of the scene so much. In about 20 m depth you would also already start "running out" of light, which would also render a lot of the other effects neraly invisible.

Mylenium

toby
12-27-2004, 09:31 PM
This underwater shot was done without any fluid sim :
http://www.christopherdesantis.com/relay.htm

nickej
12-27-2004, 10:46 PM
Are you sure that entire jellyfish shot was 3D, and not a 3D jellyfish on practical water? If so, dayyyyyummmmm.....Heck, even if "just" the jellyfish was 3D.....Whooooooo.....Nice.

toby
12-28-2004, 11:02 AM
It's 100% Lightwave - done by a friend of mine, I'm pretty sure he only used procedurals for displacement ( and 'Lazy Points' for the jellyfish ). I'll ask him -

nickej
01-04-2005, 10:43 PM
Thanks for the inspiration and the spine transplant. I did some searching and found some great tutorials on the way water surfacing works, most notably an extended tutorial by Peter D. Hunt in Keyframe #30. I did a pretty straight workthrough of his method, and got this:my water test (http://www.nickjainschigg.org/Trilobite3.html)
I'm going to keep tweaking and tweaking, but I'm on the right track--no plugins required.

nerdyguy227
01-05-2005, 07:12 PM
cool but the viscosity looks too high

nickej
01-05-2005, 07:27 PM
I know....I know....but I'm getting there!! It's all the test renders....they take forever since the important stuff is in bump maps....
Somebody once said that animation is the art of revision....I'm really feeling it, now.
Thanks for the crit, I'll be posting a liink to the revised-revised version as soon as I can.