Wave modifier with textures and documentation ...

Hi folks … I’m pretty much a newbie here but having great fun playing around. I sat down last night and studied on the Wave modifier … great. I see that from Blender 2.44 onwards there is now an option to associate a texture with the Wave Modifier … se ethe 2.44 release notes here:
At that page I found the following:

Furthermore, you can control the Wave effect to some extent using a texture.

Ok … great … but … what troubles me is that I can’t find any obvious additional information beyond this one-liner. I checked the Wiki but the page pre-dates this addition. If I personally knew the details, I’d have a go at updating the Wiki myself …
So … here comes the question:
Given a one liner such as that above … how should I go about learning “more” about this new function given that the release notes are light and the Wiki info is missing? Would I have to trawl the source of Blender itself and try and reverse engineer what it does or simply “experiment” to guess the answer?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be mean or be “picky” … I personally work for one of the huge hardware/software companies. I used to be a developer there and I hated writing docs. Now I am in sales support and I get mad when the docs of the product I am trying to sell don’t describe in anywhere near enough detail how to use the product. When I talk to developers I simply ask them:

  1. How much time did you spend working on your feature area?
  2. Are you proud of your work?
  3. Does it make you happy when people use it?

and then I say …

Do you realize that no-one is using it to its full extent because they don’t know how? …

Remember … I’m a newbie here and learning as I go … but I get an “impression” that a huge amount of effort goes into the refinement of Blender but not as much goes into the associated documentation. I have signed up to be a Wiki editor for our Blender Wiki and wherever possible I try and polish, clean and add … but for an area like this … I am looking to grow my own understanding and then “word smith” the relevant pages so that others can benefit from what I learned and I can learn from others.

I can easily recognize your situation. Just like with any advanced software, Blender can be very frustrating, and manuals tend to be PITAs to at least that extent.
However, it’s not really fair to urge developers to also be responsible for documentation. I’d rather see them spend their time on new cool features. The rest of us will have to do the documenting.

That said, I don’t really see your problem here. Have a look at the images below.
Here is a cube subdivided many times. I made a vertex group for the top verts called TopVerts. I then added an empty under the camera to tell the modifier from where the waves should start. Lastly, I made a simple material for the top verts and added a texture (Tex) to it.
The settings for the modifier is in the first image.
In the second image, the texture affects the shapes of the waves.
In the third image, the texture is removed from the modifier.
Fourth image, waves without a texture.

Let me know if it helped
/ Mats


Thanks Mats, that helped.
On the subject of documentation … I am 110% with you that with an Open Source project we (the community) have a responsibility to add documentation. Our Wiki model of documentation is fantastic … I’m trying to contribute as much as I can. But that said, we still need some “seed” information/knowledge to start the documenting process. If a new feature or function is added with no corresponding knowledge, then it becomes a task of trial and error to guess and reverse engineer what was the desired meaning and semantics. Although this can be done it has to be (opinion) far far less than optimal compared to the 10 minutes it would take someone (developer, designer, release administrator …) to write up some quick and rough notes. The final polish for documentation into the Wiki is then left up to us (the community) to add the final documentation, screen shots, samples and tutorials.
So … back to this example … what I think I am seeing is that a texture is used to perturb the normals of the wave. Does this apply to the whole surface or just a perturbation of the wave crests? What about the troughs? For this example I’ll follow your own examples and try and make guesses about the functions and try and update the Wiki page.
Again … I am sincerely not trying to throw rocks at anyone and hope to be a great citizen in our community. Just trying to learn the ropes here and was wondering if there was a process where I could go “deeper” into the knowledge of a feature. I wondered if there were deeper release notes or feature documentation in the development trees.


Does this apply to the whole surface or just a perturbation of the wave crests What about the troughs?
Only to the crests, as far as I can tell. Also note, that the wave modifier is dependent of both time and space. So, if you play the animation in a 3D view (Alt+A) you should see the waves propagate over the top of the cube. If your animation is 250 frames long you can go to, say, frame 125 and drag/scale your cube in different directions. This will also cause the waves to propagate over the surface (but actually not in space).

…we still need some “seed” information/knowledge to start the documenting process […] I wondered if there were deeper release notes or feature documentation in the development trees. …
I’m still new to Blender and how the community works, but I know there are release notes published now and then. There is also a list of Wiki Tasks where potential contributors can pick a subject to update.

Anyway, I don’t think of your questions as “throwing rocks”. Keep posting them or drop by any of the Blender IRC channels to get quick answers to simple questions. (I’m riorio when available there.)

See you around
/ Mats

EDIT: If you give the waves a negative height, the texture will only affect the troughs.