How to Animate Waves

Example video





This is beeing done using the Displacement Plug-in in Rhino 5. The Displacement Plug-in reguires the RDK (Render Development Kit) in Rhino 5 in order to work. This means that it can only be rendered using renderers that support the RDK feature in Rhino 5.


You can download the example model from here:

How to do it?

  1. Open up the model parallelogram.3dm
  2. Open up the Texture Panel (see Rhino help for more info about the Texture Panel)
  3. Create a new Noise Texture and rename it ‘Wave shape’.
  4. Set Spectral Synthesis Type to Turbulence and check Invert. Check WCS and set Size to (10.0, 40.0, 10.0).

If you have a bitmap texture of waves, you might also use that.

  1. Select the the plane you want to apply the waves to.
  2. Run the command: ApplyDisplacement
  3. In the Displacement Settings window, pick ‘Wave shape’ as the texture.
  4. Select Extremly High as the Initial quality and click OK.

Preview the waves in Rendered viewport mode.

As seen there aren't that big waves with the default settings. The settings needs to be tweaked a bit

  1. Go to the displacement settings in the Object Properties Tab.
  2. Set the White point value to be 3.0. (The White point value sets the amount of displacement for the white color in the procedure or image).

The waves still look a bit flat to look real, to get that sharper edge we need to tweak the displacement settings a bit more.

  1. Go to the displacement settings in the Object Properties Tab.
  2. In the Advanced Settings section, start by increasing the Mesh memory limit. 512 MB should be enough.
  3. Change the Refine sensitivity to 1.00. (This specifies how sensitive the divider for contrasts on the displacement texture is. Specify 1 to split all mesh edges on each refine step. Specify 0.99 to make even slight contrasts on the displacement texture cause edges to be split. Specifying 0.01 only splits edges where heavy contrast exists).
  4. Set the Refine steps value to 3. (After the initial subdivision and displacement texture sampling further refinement takes place. The value specifies the number of refinement passes).

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