Blender Water Search For The Best Settings

I am working on a scene that includes a sea scape. So I am after the best water shader settings I can find.

Here is my starting place made from following a couple tutorials.


This is where I am now. This last one includes:

Diffuse:Lambert R .35 G .41 B .20 set for .561 intensity
Specular : Blinn RGB set to 1.0 intensity 1.0 Hardness 150 IOR 10.00

Raytrace transparency
the correct IOR value of 1.333 for water
fresnel of 2.57
a blend factor of 1.25
filter and falloff set to 1.00
limit to .4
depth 2

relectivity .4
fresnel factor 5.0
blend 1.25
gloss 1.0
depth 5
fade to sky

IOR 1.333
scale 1.0
color 1.0
texture 0.0
scattering color R.58 G.50 B.28
RGB radius
R 1.5
G .5
B .25
front and back set to 1.0


Thanks for posting this jimtuv. Keep posting this really helps. What about the sea modeling, displacement?

The displacement is a high poly plane where the the concentration of faces is highest at the camera and is reduced dramatically as the distance increases from the camera view. I have tried baking the normals onto a low poly plane and that works really good for steep angles but shallow angled views it becomes evident that the plane is flat so I would only suggest that from a height looking down on the water. Anything at the surface all most requires a modeled plane.

A little sea foam would look good too. I am replicating your settings and try to add foam and see if it works.


I like the water texture in the first image too. Reducing transparency could improve it. There isn’t much in real open see (as weird this sounds). Its always a really dark material, highly reflective (in a way) high ambient (some variations). Its the color of the sky what we see in water. Now I’m learning how to achieve this in blender. Thanks, once again.

One thing is the sky is super important to the look of the water. about half waters color comes from reflections of the sky so pick a good one.

It may be easier for you to simply post the BLEND file with the material in the file. Then others and yourself will not have to type in all those numbers.

I like the second one better!

I will have to build a blend. Right now the file I am using has a bunch of linked library files so it’s not just one blend file. It has a lighting, material, and model blend files linked into a scene file. So it’s just not as easy as popping out a single blend.

I finally got the models and materials set up in blender 2.52 so the rest will be done in there. One thing I noticed is I had the scale of the SSS set way wrong. I actually forgot to set it actually. The scale unless they changed it is .001 makes 1 blender unit a meter. So I need .00329 for my scene because 1 blender unit is 1 foot. I will have to change the RBG radius too but I will have to do some research about what to set them too.

Here is the front part. I need to make a new water plane as this one is at the wrong scale and doesn’t include stuff like wind direction and surface tension.


Looking good. I like the darker color of the water.

One thing I’ve noticed about Blender is creating distant horizons can be tricky. If you create a plane object that is large enough so that the horizon looks “flat” then you need to create a gigantic plane and if you have subsurf and displacement then the render times go through the roof.

In your second image (with cubes) how big is your plane object? It must be 100 x 100 or something. Did you map the water to the whole plane with displacement and subsurf and if so doesn’t this take a long time to render. In your second image with the cubes you have a nice flat horizon. How did you accomplish this?:slight_smile:


It’s actually a triangular shaped square radiating outward from the camera. There are no faces behind or to the sides of the camera but there are 1.2 million faces most are close up they fall off dramatically as you go away from the camera. I used a texture and displacement modifier for the larger waves then applied that and smoothed the whole thing then added another texture and displacement modifier for the smaller sub-waves applied and smoothed it. I also have set smooth on but no subsurf.

Render times are huge. a couple hours on 2.52 and as long as 18 hours on 2.49b.

As I said I am going to dump this plane and try something new. I am thinking of painting the displacement texture by hand and giving that a try.


Thanks, that’s what I though. Pretty big render times. I am interested because I am also trying to determine the “best” way to build distant scenes that look realistic. I think maybe there must be a way to do this effectively so the render times aren’t too bad.

If one were to only use the water texture (displace & subsurf etc) on the polys directly in front of the camera and then "add a plane for distant water with only a texture to “Fake” the water in the distance this might work. I also always turn off "Ray Tracing when rendering preview scenes and that helps tremendously.

I am curious as to why are you thinking of painting the displacement map. Is it so you can achieve more randomness to the water? If you do this please post the map so we can see it? :slight_smile:


About the displacement map. One problem with using the set up I have is stretching of the cloud texture. It ends up stretched in the y axis and looks odd. So I though either to bake the texture and then use that as a displacement that way I can change the size of the texture in the y direction to compensate for the stretching. Or just go and paint one by myself. I want to add things you cant get from a procedural texture like the surface tension ripples where the water and objects meet. Also wind direction and surf. I think I can make a texture that can do this by painting it but I will have to test that out first.

Here is a blend file with the water material in it. You will have to make your own water plane. It needs a sky texture for reflections and looks way better with raytraced AO environmental and indirect lighting on.

This would look like crude without raytracing on so render times will be extremely long so be warned.

It is a Blender 2.52 material I am not sure is backward compatible.


Water.blend (89.4 KB)

Yeah. It’s good to be yourself. Same with you, I will try to do something. So I support your decision!