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Moon in water reflection?

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Óskar EricssonMoon in water reflection?
by on Sep 14, 2012 at 1:16:55 pm


First of all, thanks for an amazing site. As a video artist with big ideas and little time, Creative Cow has been incredibly insightful and has helped me out in numerous occasions.

I normally try not to bother forums like this with my own questions, but instead search the web for answers, or figure it out on my own. However, I am facing a task at the moment that I can´t find a solution to, and hopefully someone here could give me an answer.

I have a still image of a full moon that I would like to animate slowly into water waves, and then descend through the reflection into the water.

In other words, I want the reflection to be totally still in the beginning, letting the audience think it is a still photo, and then carefully animate it into water ripples, so that the audience sees that it was in fact a reflection instead.

I have been trying things with Psunami, but I can´t find a decent way to create a reflection with the jpg, at least not one that looks like a true light reflection.

In the mean time, I am looking at other solutions like good old Waveworld etc. but I am not getting good results.

If anybody knows a solution, or knows of other ways to create a water reflection, I´d be much obliged.

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chris brettRe: Moon in water reflection?
by on Sep 14, 2012 at 1:50:55 pm

I reckon the best way, if possible, is to use live action footage as a displacement map on your comp --- add little floaters / leaves whatever on top and animate to fit in and sell the shot .... this can look very convincing.

Use of this technique can be seen as per attached

chris brett // uk

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chris brettRe: Moon in water reflection?
by on Sep 14, 2012 at 1:54:12 pm

... obviously I dont get the upload piccy thing -- Ill have another try ........


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Kevin CampRe: Moon in water reflection?
by on Sep 14, 2012 at 2:20:19 pm

footage is always a great way to go (nice job chris)...

if you wanted to keep trying to accomplish this with effects, turbulent displace may work... if you want to animate the moon rise, you could put turbulent displace on an adjusment layer.

wave world can produce great gradient maps, but the waves are a bit simple... pond ripples vs ocean waves. if that isn't a problem, you can use that in conjunction with caustics and create very realistic water.

caustics is a compound effect, so you need to precomp waveworld and you can set the moon as the reflection layer (or it might be 'sky').

if the wave world gradient map is poor (i think it is only 8bpc), increase the bit-depth in ae to 16 or 32 and add a 16 or 32 bit blur effect.

fractal noise and caustics can also create nice watery effects.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer

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Mato KokoticRe: Moon in water reflection?
by on Sep 14, 2012 at 3:47:18 pm

...or you can use Psunamy layer as a Displacement map.

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Vishesh AroraRe: Moon in water reflection?
by on Sep 14, 2012 at 7:48:04 pm

Mr. Ericsson

Try out the methods which are showed in the tutorials below:

Also to use Caustic and Wave World in an effective way, watch this:

Vishesh Arora
VFX and Motion Graphics Artist


Demo Reel(3D):

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Óskar EricssonRe: Moon in water reflection?
by on Sep 15, 2012 at 1:53:43 pm

Thanks for all the great advice!

I was going to try out the Psunami displacement map as Mato suggested, but seeing as Psunami takes forever to render, I ended up trying Vishesh´s suggestion with the 3D Ocean and getting great results.

Again, thanks for all the solutions, I sincerely appreciate it!

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