Water Drop Tutorial

Editor's note: This tutorial assumes you have the basic knowledge of the software you are working with. It's meant to be a walkthrough of one technique to recreate the effect of a drop falling into a water tank, rather than a detailed step-by-step tutorial.

Hi, here is my little tutorial, it's my first tutorial, so be patient please.


The scene consists of 2 objects:

1. The drop.

2. The water tank (where the drop will fall).

The drop is a simple primitive.

The water tank requires special attention to the topology for correct deformation. In this case, the general shape should be concentric circles (for the ripples). The simplest way that I found to model the tank was this:

Notice we have 4 morphs, the first one is when the drop falls and the following ones are progressions of the subsequent behavior. We have also made the weightmap, it will control the displacement amplitude, very strong in the epicentre and subtle toward the ends. If you don't like weightmaps, this can also be done with a gradient and distant to object (in x and Y) in Input Parameter, alpha mode.

In Layout we load both objects and add a Null for setting the depth of field later.

We go to Surface Editor and make the water surface, nothing complicated in fact:

Besides this I've added fast fresnnel for the reflection and edge transparency of 1.

I've used edge transparency because it blends the water tank with the background and also desaturates the object's edges.

Here is the gradient in color channel:

For the illumination I've used 2 lights. 

Fig. 006 d_z006.gif

Fig. 06 d_z006.gif

A distant light to back lighting and a spotlight that will only give a nice specular glow to our drop for what should just affect this object. Here the parameters of both lights:

For the animation we begin with the drop that falls to the tank center. At 1/4 of the path we use squach to simulate the superficial tension (this can also be made with an endomorph) the other 3/4 of the path return to its original state. When the drop has passed through the water we dissolve it to 100%.

Then we go to the water object and we add morphmixer, trying to coincide the beginning of the first morph with the the drop fall; and then we animate the subsequent behavior with the other three endomorphs, something more or less this way. 

Here the envelopes.

Once we have animated the drop interaction with the water tank, we solve the ripples with displacement texture:

We use a gradient (alpha mode) with our weightmap for setting the displacement.

We add an envelope to the weightmap so that when the water is quiet the weightmap is to 100% and when the water moves it is to 0%. This is so that the displacement doesn't affect our endomorphs.

The following is a Turbulence to give it some irregularity to the surface (you can use your favorite procedural).

What continues is Underwater (yes underwater, no ripples). ;)

For the ripples with an envelope that begins when the drop falls, it grows in the moment of bigger reaction of the water and vanishes at the end.

Once we have the animation and the camera movement, we proceed with the environment.

The first thing (and here the key of the water surface) is to choose the HDRI that better adapts to the atmosphere and the mood of the scene that you want to achieve. Then we add a Texture Enviroment, in my case is something like that

Then we continue with a Gradient Backdrop that looks to texture enviroment (in fact the GB won't be seen, but it will serve us for the fog).

Then we add some kind of fog.

Since we are using ImageWorld for HDRI, we should make a render with the clean scene, only with the texture enviroment, for then to put it as Background image:

To give it that nice specular glow, we add Corona, since we are using a HDRI and also our spotlight has a high value, the filter would be something like that on the left.

In my case also I've added X-dof for depth of field:

Since we are using reflections and refractions, we activate them in the render panel too.

Here is my original animation. As you can see above and in this animation, I've improved the technique a bit, now the drop bounces and sepparates from the water tank. Besides this, I've played in a composition software with the image tonalities, filmgrain, brightness and contrast, etc.

I wanted to thank to Julez4001, thanks to his generosity is possible this tut. And to all those that offered help, thank you!

That's all! :)

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