View Full Version : Creating Giant Ocean Waves in LW 8

06-24-2005, 06:55 PM
Can anyone give me a good tutorial in creating giant ocean waves in LW 8?

I have seen a few tutorials and things using plugins that create a "floor" so to speak, of ocean with the dynamic waves rippling. But what I have in mind was more of the big surfer type waves you would see at the banzai pipeline on the Northshore of Oahu.

I would like to get a good model going and then be able to vary it and the camera angle around to build a library of render big wave scenes.

I would also like to be able to go under the water surface and back up into the day again. I figure I can set a "gound level" and use Sky tracer for the background to cut that work down to an easy task. But my "gound" or "floor" will have to be water. I have not worked with water/liquid before. I have been doing alot of explosions and particle movement blowing up 3d objects.

How bout it? Surfs up! Can you point me in the right direction.

06-24-2005, 09:46 PM
I would model the wave as a heavily sub-divided subpatch mesh, then animate displacement through it to make it look like it's rolling. Then use particle emitters at the point where the wave rolls into itself, and animate the whole wave object sideways so you see the wave travel down the shore.

That's what I would try anyway :p I've never done it...

P.S. A good trick to make the water surface look really fluid is to animate a bump texture in the opposite direction of the displacement. Otherwise it looks like jello.

06-24-2005, 10:14 PM

The concept of a large mesh sounds good. It can give me alot of control. The second object effecting the mesh sounds good. I am hoping that others will join in this thread and we can all get some more ideas.

I found a good tutorial today at


for using Skytracer and creating a normal calm ocean suface.
It has good details and settings for the surface (it starts with the ocean as a plane) then details the "Reflections" and "Texturing".

I have found that when I work with Lightwave I always do things many different times. Each time I make it better and add more to the final scene. You learn one thing and then learn another thing, then combine both things together and add a third discipline.

I will try to post back some of the renders as I try to learn fluids. I am going to download realflow as its free and try it. But I liek to start with basic LW and see what I can do on my own first before I lean on plugins.

http://www.nestlimit.com for RealFlow 3 you can demo the whole thing and there is a LW8 plugin.

But I will be trying straight LW first before I pull this in. Supposedly it has mathmatical dynamics for waves. I'm not a engineer so the math behind the waves and things like the melting snow mass in Antartica is beyond me.

06-24-2005, 10:17 PM


http://www.neXtlimit.com for the RealFlow 3 plugin.

06-25-2005, 12:22 AM
I did this once with a surfer and a shark chasing her (years ago so nothing left now), but here's how I did it.

Make a plane (hi poly), you'll see how high as you make it so you may have to restart a few times but the effort is worth it.

tab object

From here on in is working as a morph (and there is a reason for it)

make a morph as a wave.big

now, hilite a cross section for the full width as wide (ie; front to back and not side to side) with either points or polys.

now using your magnet, begin pulling untill you get the shape and curl you want.

when you have the shape you need, deselect all points or polys that you used.

now hilite just the points at the tip of the curl, or where the curl goes into the water in front of the wave.

COPY them to a new layer.
Save object

In layout load it.

give it a crumple texture so that it moves on an axis from front of object to rear and not side to side (so it hits face of wave).
The reason you did it as a morph will now become apparent.
do the morph mixer and set morph to 100%.

as you now see, because of the morph, the texture will come into view,hit wave and curl around WITH the curl of wave AND THEN it will crest the wave and flow on back to the back of wave. :)

now on the layer with the points;

set HVs to the points so you make a spray type effect to your likeing.

Texture water to your liking.

when rendered out it will look like the wave is really screaming along (depending on your texture speed), with spray flying everywhere. :)

06-25-2005, 06:00 AM
www.simplylightwave.com look for the ocean tutorial. :)

06-25-2005, 12:00 PM
another link too

06-26-2005, 12:05 AM
I found a good tutorial today at
I'm following this tutorial, but I'm using LW 8 and have problem finding some options:

Go to Effects>Image Processing. Activate SkyTracer. Hit Options for SkyTracer. I won't go into the details of the settings to use, so use this file: oceansky.skt.

I have opened Image Processing but can't find where to active Skytracer?
I also have downloaded "oceansky.skt" but how do I use it?

And then:

Hit "Render Warp Images."

Can't find it anywhere.

06-26-2005, 12:15 AM
He should have said "Go to Effects>Backdrop/Add Environment/Skytracer" and I think render warp images is in there.

06-26-2005, 12:46 AM
Ok, I can only add a "Skytracer2", but can't find any "render warp images" in the option. There is a "Sky Baker", are there anything to do in there?

06-26-2005, 02:51 AM
Yes I've looked now that I'm done rendering - I don't have anything like 'render warp images' or anywhere to load a .skt file. I'm sure this tutorial was done with an earlier version, skytracer 1, and it looks like there's fewer options than before? I think Sky baker has replaced what he was talking about where it rendered 6 images for each direction - but I've never used it...

06-26-2005, 03:00 AM
Wow, cool. Sky Baker can generate a light probe - render one of these images, save it as an .hdr, and load it into the Image World plug-in, right next to where Skytracer2 is (turn that off). A light-probe mapped with Image world is the most accurate way to map a sphere into a scene. Definitely better than the cube he was talking about.