any stream or river, we can tell that the water flows through the landscape irregularly.
It turns, flows over rocks, round bends and forms to the contours of the banks
of the river. Ripples and slight waves also flow along itís path, being deformed
to the contours of the land as it moves, with slight foamy waters next to the
banks. Using these observations, we can attempt to transpose this information
into our 3D scene.
banks and waters start off as simple long and thin Plane primitives. Create a
the bank plane and clone and offset it to create the water. We need only model
one bank, as the other can be created from a simple mirrored clone (later on you
may wish to deform the clone further to avoid similarities in the meshes). By
using FFDís and Noise modifier(s), create an unevenly shaped landscape in the
Z direction, so one side of the plane dips down vertically to form the curved
bank. Donít worry about the horizontal deformation to create the cut-out landscape
for the minute, weíll tackle that later on.
water plane should have a Noise modifier or two to create the ripples and waves
as the water flows down it. Create a noise modifier for the waves with a small
deformation in the Z axis and rotate it so it is almost at 90 degrees, facing
lengthways down the stream. Finally, clone the bank plane, mirror it and position
it on the opposite side of the water plane. Now comes the interesting part. To
add more realism to the shape of the landscape, we need to deform the banks and
the water exactly the same, to prevent any wayward overlaps and holes showing.
Select the bank and water planes and create a Noise modifier. This modifier will
then be instances across the three objects; whatever settings you apply to one,
will automatically be applied to the other objects. Set the size to a very value,
check on Fractal and crank the X spinner up until you feel the stream has been
now got our deformed stream, but if we look directly down itís path, we may be
able to see the end of the planes, which isnít good. Therefore, with all three
objects still selected, create a Bend modifier and amend itís settings so that
all three planes bend round to the left (or right depending on preference). This
will therefore hide the end of the planes.
create the flowing water, ensure that a separate UVW map has been assigned to
the water plane before any deformation to itís surface, and animate the Gizmo
moving downstream. A simple Gradient Ramp map assigned to this plane will therefore
conform to the deformations further up the stack! Also, in Track View, copy and
instance copy the UVW mapís Gizmo position to the Noise Wave modifier we rotated
ealier on. Therefore the gizmos will move in unison, and deform and texture the
surface as they pass down the plane.
published: 3D World magazine,
Issue 25, May 2002.
Draper, May 2002. Reproduction without permission prohibited.