Creating a downdraft effect from a helicopter over water?


Has anyone got any good tips, advice or suggestions for creating a downdraft effect on water from a helicopter?

I’ve attached my scene as it currently looks.

Cheers guys.



I would say use your ocean mesh (but seeing how large that is you might want to use a smaller surface with the same ocean displacement) as a DP canvas (set to waves) and use a strong wind force-field parented to your Heli.
If you want it to also have that wispy vapor effect on top of the water, try using a circle with a particle system emitting a spray outwards and use that as a base for a smoke sim (I would imagine low-rez to get the nice big vapors, but with a high number for High rez to keep it smooth).
Let me know if this works :slight_smile:

If you want the smoke to be thinner and look more “on” the surface of the water, try scale the height down in edit mode. that way it will be stretched thin in that direction. and the voxels will no longer be square. it should look more realistic.
Oh! and don’t forget to keep the material’s reflection up to keep it bright and the transparency down to keep it thin. :wink:

Hey NFP! Thank you for the reply and suggestions. I can’t seem to get force fields to affect the DP canvas, I think it might work having an object in the sea parented to the helicopter though. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Thanks again.


that seems to look more like a submarine right under the surface.
try using a low-poly mesh as a particle emitter.
it gives a better effect in my OMP. :slight_smile:


Are you thinking of still shot or animation? Here is how it should look like: circular ripple with forming wave crest, radial form streaks with some sea spray mist by the surface. Tough!

Hey Nick, yeah I used a low poly circle with a particle system pushing down towards the water, I think that might work.

@ridix - It needs to be animated, yep that is ideally how I would like it to look but I haven’t got much time left in my budget to workout how to get something close to that so I think the client might need to settle for more of a ripple type effect.

Nick - yes that is a sub hanging from the heli, can’t really say much more than that…

Cheers guys.


Hi chaps! I’ve attached a wip image, one of the main problems is the height of the water from where the particles hit the DP plane. Any suggestions on how to reduce the particles impact?

Any suggestions are more than appreciated.




By looking at the reference picture of what ridix posted, I think you could try to pre-render the effect for water ripples, and use the resulting video as a normal/displacement map. Then do the same thing for the white foam (with turbulence forcefield for the white strands), and use it as a separate material map. Then maybe in the final scene add some particle emitters on the border of the affected area to get the water mist.

Do you mean add a wave modifier to an ocean (so having 2 modifiers)? I can’t seem to get the wind to interact with the ocean. I’ve very new to blender so please forgive my ignorence.