Quick guide to animating water

Steve-LSteve-L Posts: 7
edited October 2013 in Bryce Discussion

I rarely get time with Bryce these days and rarely pop in here either, but I today I logged in and happened on a posting which queried whether Bryce could easily animate water using terrains. I did this a few years back and somewhere in the old forum I posted a guide so I thought I'd post the same guide here for ease of reference and in case it's of use to anyone.

I won't claim it's 100% realistic (Bryce just won't be able to do proper fluid motions etc.) nor did I refine it beyond what you can see in the video. It was more of a technical exercise to prove to myself I could do it.

So, feel free to have a look at the test scene video I made and I'm sure the more experienced Brycers will be able to refine this technique (probably have already!) or have better techniques than mine.

http://youtu.be/ScX_utz41wE

First thing is don't use a water plane at all, you have to create a new terrain and give it one of the water textures. There are two methods to make it watery, the first method I'll describe gives you more "sea-like" waves, for river like waves (like the ones in the video) I'll describe the different steps at the end this posting.

Here's a quick guide, have a play around and you'll see what I mean:

1) Create a Terrain, don't worry that it looks like a mountain, we're about to change it

2) Go into the Terrain editor, click on "New" and then in the Terrain Canvas window set your brush size to maximum, and wipe it all over the Terrain Canvas to create a large square block of terrain

3) Now click on the triangle next to Fractal and pick one, doesn't matter which as you can play with them to see the differences each makes later on

4) Now click on the Fractal button and if you've got real-time linking set up in your 3D Preview window you'll see the terrain change to something which should look like waves. Make the preview size large in here too. You can alter the height of your water using Raise/Lower, and you can smooth large lumps etc. to get it looking more watery if you need to

5) Click on the big Tick to take you back to the main Bryce window, click on Edit and assign it a water texture, say "Tropical Delight 1" and click on the Render button to see what it looks like.

This should give you a proper wavey water with height that you can manipulate back in the Terrain editor to create what you want. Obviously it's not a water plane so it's not infinite in it's dimensions, water creation like this is only suitable for rivers, lakes, pools etc. i.e. it needs physical boundaries. I've not yet discovered how to do it on an infinite ocean scale...

To animate it, continue as follows. Animating it needs two elements - 1) movement from A-to-B to simulate a flowing river and 2) changing the wave shapes to mimic natural ripples/waves as the water flows. So:

6) Drag your "scub time" bar at the bottom along a few seconds

7) Using a "top down" view, move your water along a few metres (play with steps 6 and 7 to alter the speed the water moves to suit your needs)

8 ) Go back into the Terrain editor and repeat steps 2) thru 5)

Now when you render it you'll see the waves/ripples have changed shape, because the effect of pressing the fractal button is quite random and won't create the same wavey surface twice

Now render your animation and view it. You might want to use a simple plain flat grey texture instead of water initially because this will speed up your animation renders. Once you're happy it'll look OK, go back to your 1st frame (only ever apply textures here if you don't want Bryce to morph from one texture to another!!) and select one of the water ones and render your final animation.

If you have a bend in your river, centre your water-Terrain on the bend and instead of moving it as in step 7), click on it's Attributes and rotate it on it's Y-axis, the water will appear to flow around the bend much better. (You can also use the round brush in the Terrain editor to create a "disc" of water instead of a square if that suits your scene better).

I said I'd describe how to do more river-y waves, instead of the sea like swells the instructions above can create. Simply ignore the bit about Fractals above and first lower your terrain a little in the Terrain editor. Then instead of Fractals click-and-hold on Height Noise and drag to the right a few times before letting up on the mouse. Then Smooth the peaks this generates. You will need to play with the amount by which you drag the Height Noise button and the Smoothing but it will give different results than the first method, and more suitable for rivers too as it's less likely to create large peaks and troughs - those work better for seas/rough weather.

Enjoy,
Steve.

Post edited by Steve-L on

Comments

  • mermaid010mermaid010 Posts: 2,519
    edited December 1969

    Thanks Steve, I'm copying and pasting it on a word doc so I can play with it this weekend.

  • Rashad Bryce-CarraraRashad Bryce-Carrara Posts: 1,706
    edited December 1969

    Steve L,

    This looks amazing! I love the wetness along the edge and the drifting tree trunk. Looks incredible in every way. Thanks so much for showing this based on a post I made in the other thread about the need for an ocean primitive. I still think we need one so that this type of task is easier for the average user, but it is still good to know that it is already possible today in the right hands. Bravo!!!!

  • mermaid010mermaid010 Posts: 2,519
    edited December 1969

    I tried this tutorial, and got interesting results, but soon realized that I don’t know anything about animation in Bryce, that’s an area I still have to explore. I enjoyed using the method to get some nice wavy seas. Thanks for sharing.

  • Steve-LSteve-L Posts: 7
    edited December 1969

    Steve L,

    This looks amazing! I love the wetness along the edge and the drifting tree trunk. Looks incredible in every way. Thanks so much for showing this based on a post I made in the other thread about the need for an ocean primitive. I still think we need one so that this type of task is easier for the average user, but it is still good to know that it is already possible today in the right hands. Bravo!!!!

    Thanks Rashad, coming from someone with your experience that means a lot to me!! And yes, I agree an ocean primitive would be ideal in any future release of Bryce. The wet look was another experiment. As I recall, I took a terrain, copied and pasted it directly on top of the other and gave one some reflection. Then used the terrain editor to slice down the top of the one with reflection exposing the non-reflective one underneath. Bryce got a little quirky about which of the two was "on-top" when it came to rendering but most times it was OK.

    I tried this tutorial, and got interesting results, but soon realized that I don’t know anything about animation in Bryce, that’s an area I still have to explore. I enjoyed using the method to get some nice wavy seas. Thanks for sharing.

    I'm glad you found it useful, mermaid010, especially as the technique can be used for normal still images too.

    Regards,
    Steve.

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