Can someone tell me how to make a waterfall come down the side of a hill or mountain and splash into a pool of water beneath, making a rippling effect in the water?
A whole lot depends on how much work you want to put into it; or, I should say, how much work you need to put into it. (And the amount of work may vary from one camera angle to another.)
You don’t have to “mimic reality.” You also probably don’t have to impress your friends at DreamWorks. What you need is “something that looks plausible.” Animating a couple of textures (IPOs can control anything…) can produce a good-looking river, as can a very long plane that is simply “pulled” along for the duration of a shot. A little bit of particle-based “spray” can add to the realism of any effect; it can also cover a lot of sins.
If people are going to stare at the effect for a long time (or if you do want to impress your friends at DreamWorks ) then you might need to pull out all the stops in coming up with your effect … and there are lots of on-line tutorials, not all of them Blender specific.
The fluid simulator will also do this nicely. A good free tutorial on fluids can be found here:
You might want to check out Jason van Gumster’s video, which has a good in depth tutorial on exactly this waterfall effect. It’s not free, though.