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Creating 3D Ocean

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James RothCreating 3D Ocean
by on Oct 28, 2016 at 8:57:24 am

Hey guys, I've imported a huge bridge into Element 3D, and I want to create a realistic ocean under it.

The 3D model is a bought C4D file (I do not own the full C4D program), that was imported into AE through Element 3D. The file itself has issues rendering in C4D Lite as it was designed with the full program and the scene looks pretty screwed up on just the Lite version. Almost all ocean tutorials for C4D involve using tools exclusive to the full version, such as the Random effector and various MoGraph tools. The only programs I have to work with are After Effects with Element 3D, C4D Lite, and Blender if I download it (I am not familiar with Blender). The placeholder ocean I inserted is just a 2D plane with a texture added with an exaggerated bump map to give you guys an idea of what I want. It is not animated.

The key things I want are...
1. Animated ocean (even though it is far away in the frame).
2. Sun reflection (so the ocean looks real as the camera tracks across the bridge).
3. Large ocean (the model is huge, the ocean has to be also).

I see three approaches to this situation...
a) Animate the bridge AND the ocean together in one file in C4D Lite or Blender as one big scene that I can move the camera around in and maybe even render outside of AE.
(the model was paid for and downloaded as a C4D file exclusively, and Lite does not allow export to OBJ, could perhaps request a conversion)
b) Animate the ocean separately from the bridge in another 3D program then composite the two into a final image in AE.
(could be tricky matching the elements and the lighting, perhaps not as free to zoom around the scene as the first option)
c) Do it all in Element 3D and After Effects.
(could be the most limiting but the simplicity could be just what I need)

I would like to create a huge scene I can then explore with the camera, but if this is not feasible with my limited 3D skills then I can settle for compositing the shots I need. I have very basic skills in C4D Lite but I can follow and extrapolate on tutorials pretty easily. I downloaded RedGiant's Psunami but due to the 3D nature of the scene and lack of camera support in that plugin it's not a good option at all. The final art style will be very minimalist, the ocean will be some shade of blue but the sky and bridge will remain white. No concerns about hyper-realism, although the way the waves mesh with the bridge supports could pose a problem.

Any advice from the vets? :)

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Michael SzalapskiRe: Creating 3D Ocean
by on Oct 28, 2016 at 2:00:14 pm

You can definitely use Psunami with AE's camera. See this:

Alternatively, you could use the distortion tools in Element on a plane or a cube to make your ocean. I mean, this really depends on your shot.

Psunami rocks for creating oceans though - even though it's old and renders slowly.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.

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Roei TzorefRe: Creating 3D Ocean
by on Oct 28, 2016 at 2:15:55 pm

this plugin is very good for 3d terrain and ocean in after effects:

Roei Tzoref
After Effects Artist & Instructor
♫ Ae Blues Tutorials

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Chris BobotisRe: Creating 3D Ocean
by on Oct 28, 2016 at 2:38:57 pm

Thanks Roei. Here is the URL for the Product you see used int he demo:

And here is a link to a Bundle that includes The FreeForm Pro Aqua Pack & The Terra Pack. These project files that use FreeForm Pro to create amazing things including Ocean and Terrain Scenes.


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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: Creating 3D Ocean
by on Oct 29, 2016 at 9:59:06 am

One quick tip regarding the interaction of the water with objects (the bridge): you can add an animated elements layer (or a few) in the depth map comp (on top of what's already there) and position them to match the position of your bridge. This way you can simulate interaction - like in the demo video for AquaPack when the logo comes out of the water.

You can also add texture to the texture map comp to have the base of the bridge pillars come out of the water in FF Pro and then comp them and blend them in the ones from Element 3D or C4D bridge.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist

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James RothRe: Creating 3D Ocean
by on Oct 29, 2016 at 10:17:00 am

Hmm, sounds complex, I'll definitely try a lot of these options out. Funnily enough the pillars of that bridge sit on land and not water, the real headache is somehow creating an accurate silhouette of the landmass and skylines on both sides of the bridge. The model is standalone so it's like making the Brooklyn Bridge without New York in the background. The pillars don't have to sit on land (I can make an abstract shot) but the skyline in the background would probably ground several shots in the video much better than stark white. At the moment I'm using heavy fog to mask the absence of the city on either side. Continuing experiments, I'll keep you guys posted, thanks!

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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: Creating 3D Ocean
by on Oct 29, 2016 at 10:29:32 am

Depending on what you need, how much detail you need to see, you can either get away with 2D cards spread out in 3d space to create the illusion of a city or go full blown in Element 3D - use the Metropolitan model pack .

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist

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