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I would like to create a character made of water.
To do this, I am trying to do it with a simple sphere first.
I tried to apply modifiers to the sphere to get it to move and undulate like water ripples. This tutorial is good for creating waves, but it uses the "generate" geometry setting of the Ocean modifier, therefore making the shape flat.
When I use the Displace option of the Ocean modifier on a sphere or cube, it moves up and down and bends slightly but doesn't create the effect I am looking for.

I also looked at this tutorial, which helped me understand the Wave modifier better, but produces results that are not exactly what I'm looking for (cf blend file). The ripples appear on top and bottom but not evenly around the shape, and don't have the sharpness and strength that I'm looking for.

I haven't tried to combine real water simulation, force fields or particles. Ideally, I would love to be able to save this texture and apply it to the character and/or of the scene.

This is a good example of what I am trying to achieve (unknown artist):

enter image description here

Blend:

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I got a pretty decent result by using an ocean modifier and a displace modifier.

enter image description here

I find that icospheres lend themselves to displacement better than UV spheres due to the more even geometry. So for the above example I used an icosphere with a subsurf modifier to give it some more geometry.

The basic wavy fluid look is produced with an ocean modifier. The key settings to change are to set it do Displace the geometry instead of regenerate, increase the Choppiness and Scale, and adjust the Size to fit the scale of your scene.

Here are the settings I used (for a sphere with a diameter of 25 Blender Units):

enter image description here

The smaller bumps are created by a normal displacement modifier. It is placed after the ocean modifier in the modifier stack and uses Global mapping coordinates for a clouds noise texture. This is so that as the geometry is moved around by the ocean modifier, the displacement texture changes too. Make sure the noise texture is set to a high Depth value as well to get a more detailed look.

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! My bubble keeps moving up and down when I apply these settings, do you know what makes this happen? (also, could you share your blend? thanks!) $\endgroup$ – MicroMachine Apr 2 '16 at 8:45
  • $\begingroup$ @fabriced Could you post a screenshot of what it looks like? I'm not quite sure what you mean by the bubble moving up and down. $\endgroup$ – PGmath Apr 2 '16 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, sorry: i.imgur.com/l82V8IM.gif $\endgroup$ – MicroMachine Apr 2 '16 at 20:52
  • $\begingroup$ allo @PGmath? I'd love to know how you got that result... Ocean modifier makes my mesh bounce up and down... $\endgroup$ – MicroMachine Apr 6 '16 at 8:10
  • $\begingroup$ @fabriced Try playing around with the Scale parameter. $\endgroup$ – PGmath Apr 6 '16 at 12:11
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What you are looking for is probably a regular displacement modifier. Most options you tried are "generative" and create geometry or alter it profoundly, making them unsuitable for applying on more complex geometry like a character.

Just use your regular mesh character, a sphere or any other more complex shape, add some subdivisions to it with a Subsurf modifier and then at the end of the stack add a displacement modifier.

Use any of the built in procedural textures to drive the displacement of the modifier, like Musgrave or Stucci, Voronoi worked fine for me.

Change it's coordinates to Object, and use an empty or any other object to drive the texture coordinates. You can then animate its position, scale or rotation to suit your needs for the animated water effect.

enter image description here

You can add finer detail to the water ripples effect to your mesh at render time only by simulating finer disturbances in the surface with a material based bump map or normal map or displacement without affecting the amount of geometry as heavily.

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