I have a scene with a stormy ocean, and I am trying to create this effect:

crashing wave

I've been looking for tutorials on "crashing wave" or "ocean spray" without much luck. As such, I've run up against a wall.

Can I get tips on how to accomplish this? Should I use a particle system or fluid sim? Material recommendations (cycles)?

Or perhaps I have missed a good tutorial somewhere, to which someone could direct me.

Thank you for any help you can offer.

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ I guess fluidsim could do that but not quite easily... it is a hell complex fluid motion you see there... you will need a lot of experience and computing power.. and if you need the ocean, I would suggest separate tools, ocean simulator for the general look, and some fluidsim for the spray. Professional (movies) CG is a lot about cheating, is to do what look best, cheaply as possible. $\endgroup$
    – m.ardito
    Oct 24, 2015 at 8:41
  • $\begingroup$ @m.ardito I've got the ocean set up nicely, and the scene is such that I don't need to see the "origin" of the wave, just the big spray. Is fluid sim the best way to do the big spray? Or is there a better option? $\endgroup$ Oct 24, 2015 at 17:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Peridigital Yes, fluid sim is the only way to get the splashes. If you want to add some fine mist spray as well you can use a particle system. $\endgroup$
    – Mentalist
    Oct 26, 2015 at 1:04
  • $\begingroup$ see also this blender.stackexchange.com/questions/1634/… $\endgroup$
    – m.ardito
    Oct 27, 2015 at 13:36
  • $\begingroup$ This might be possible with the new point density textures. $\endgroup$
    – PGmath
    Feb 21, 2016 at 20:09

2 Answers 2


A simple solution to get you started is to use a particle system and the smoke simulator. Initial testing on my end used a camera set high on the Z axis facing down to the emitter object within the smoke domain. Track the smoke within the domain to the particle system. Emit for about 20 frames with a lifetime of 20 on the particles. the object I used was an icosphere cut in half with the rounded side facing the positive Z axis also the object emitted from the faces. Under Emitter velocity, I set the Normal to 15, initial velocity on the particles per axis at X & Y = 0, Z = 5. As the particles move out from the emitter, the smoke will follow their path. As for the crashing of the waves exploding onto the dock, use an object within the domain as both a particle obstacle and a smoke collision object under the physics tab. Within whatever render setting you should be able to control the material and or color of the smoke to simulate water and foam. Run the animation and tweak to your needs. Hope this helps.


I would use a fluid physics simulation. Set a domain (just a cube) around the scene in which you want the water to flow. Keep in mind that the bigger the domain, the longer the bake times. You can also adjust the size the domain cube would be in real life so I would do that if you want realism. You can either create an inflow object for the wave (and give it initial velocity) or you can use an animated obstacle underneath the water to create a wave. I suppose you could fiddle with the smoke effects in blender to do it. Keep in mind that realism in any 3D program involving water is going to take a ludicrous amount of computing power to bake within a reasonable amount of time. Blender hasn't really got the "whiteness" of crashing water to work correctly, though. Large scale water isn't that great at this point.

Other programs are also a solution. I've seen people create good fluid crashing effects on programs like RealFlow.


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