3D Water – The Ocean

In this tutorial we will create and render a 3d water surface in 3ds max that can be used like any body of water. We will use the Mental Ray and Daylight System renderer on the scene.

Step 1

By default, 3d max uses the Scanline renderer. Change the renderer to Mental Ray. Go to Rendering-> Render Settings-> Common Tab -> Assign Renderer -> Production.

Step 2

We will have created a geometry. Create an airplane. Go to Create Panel -> Geometry -> Standard Primitive -> Plane.

Set the length to 500 and the width to 500.

Step 3

Create a target camera just above the plane. Go to the Create panel -> Cameras -> Target. Activate Perspective view and press C on the keyboard to activate Camera view.

Step 4

Open the material editor and pack an ocean material.

Click on get material and select Arch and pattern

Select Ocean Plane and assign material to it.

Select the Water, Reflective surface template.

Step 5

Now we will illuminate the ocean with the daylight system. The daylight system is a simulation of the real world sun. Go to Create Dashboard -> Systems -> Daylight in the upper window.

Daylight Parameters

  • Sunlight: we will use mr Sun
  • Skylight: Mr. Physical Sky
  • Position: We will configure it manually.

Step 6 First 3D ocean rendering

We have the ocean and the daylight system, so it’s a good idea to check what the rendered image looks like. Your image should look similar to the following. In the background, you will see the mr Physical Sky environment map that was added automatically in the previous step. The brown line represents the ground on the background map. Thanks to the Metal Ray lume shader, the plane already looks like an ocean in 3D. However, there are a few things I would like to change:

  • The horizon must be lowered to hide the ground.
  • Smaller waves
  • More blue and saturated colors for both ocean and sky
  • Image a little brighter

Step 7

The color, saturation and brightness of the image can be adjusted in the daylight parameters:

  • Mr Sky Parameters
    • Multiply: 1.1 (increases the intensity of the sun)
    • Mr Sky advanced parameters
      • Red / blue tint: -0.1 (changes the hue of light and sky)
      • Saturation: 1.3 (changes the saturation of light and sky)

And if you feel like it, do some color corrections in Photoshop:

  • Brightness: 35
  • Contrast: 25

Now our 3d water is complete. Next, we will see what else we can get out of the natural light system.

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