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So i'm creating a pond hopefully and just experimenting with nodes to get there before i actually add it to my scene.
enter image description here

Tutorial i was following used voronois and displacement maps but this was rendering v slowly and didn't quite get the look i was going for.

So i played around and went for something much simpler. To me this seems quite nice and renders quickly

enter image description here

However, as newbie i have a few questions.

  1. At the moment it's a square, subdivided plane. WHats the best way of making it an irregular curvey natural-looking shape/plane? (like a splat shape)

  2. Ideally, i would almost like it to have like a little depth to the surface. almost a transparent top.

  3. ANy other suggestions on how to make the material more pond like?

THanks very much

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To make the pond shape, start by subdividing a plane (the less the better - you will see why later). Make your rough "splat" shape by selecting the faces that won't be part of it and deleting them.

Pond1

Because the plane is subdivided, it will become "blocky looking" if and when we add a Subdivision Surface Modifier, so the first step is to reduce the subdivisions with a Decimate Modifier set to Planar. (This is also why it is better to have less subdivisions, because the points around the edge contribute to the interpolation of the edge (or lack thereof) and will also cause unwanted blocky-ness - fewer points means smoother curvature )

Pond2

Next add a Subdivision Surface modifier to smooth out the edges as just discussed:

Pond3

For the material, I suggest using this setup for your water surface. The "depth" of the water can largely be altered by changing the IOR of the Refraction Shader. Don't forget to change your Blend Mode if you're using EEVEE. I also notice after I uploaded the image, the top Node that serves as the Mix Factor between the Diffuse and Glossy shader is cut off - it is a Fresnel Node.

You can see as well that I made the surface by using a Noise Texture, with it's effects softened by being mixed with white using a MixRGB Node_ before connected to a Bump Node and then a Displacement Node. The settings for the Noise Texture I left largely at the default, but play around and see what kind of surface looks best.

Pond4

If you want a more "real " extruded look to the surface, you can actually select the whole plane and extrude it downwards slightly if you don't mind the extra geometry.

Pond5

Here is a final result (lit with an HDRI). In this example, I increased the mix factor with white on the displacement to further soften the surface to create a more realistic look. (This can also be achieved by changing the Detail and Roughness on the Noise Texture, as well as controlled somewhat by adjusting the strength or the distance of the Bump Node - play around and see what looks best for you).

Pond6

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  • $\begingroup$ Amazing. Thanks so much Christopher. Properly love the explanation as well to your shader. $\endgroup$ – BuddingBlenderer Jan 15 at 18:36
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks so much. Really nice explanations as well. I'm newish to nodes but kinda thought that bumps and displacements kinda did similar things just displacement moved the mesh and blender altered the shading. but you've got bump going into displacement. what's that actually doing? Thanks again $\endgroup$ – BuddingBlenderer Jan 15 at 18:41

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