I am trying to procedurally generated surface bubbles on coffee. I know that you can use a UV map to do this, but I'd like to have more control. There is a nice demo of doing this with animation is 3ds Max, but I haven't worked out a way to do it in Blender.


I have tried using metaballs, but without much success. Here is the look I'd like simulate.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Maybe some ideas - blender.stackexchange.com/questions/52834/…. It looks like more complicated here though as bubbles should be formed with 2 surfaces, water and wall. $\endgroup$ – Mr Zak Jul 23 '16 at 19:17
  • $\begingroup$ I did see that and tried playing with the metaballs. Just couldn't get very useful results. Also tried this Metaballs as Dew Drops tutorial from Sardi Pax. youtube.com/watch?v=5If5IFVK1cU $\endgroup$ – Dana Williams Jul 23 '16 at 20:13
  • $\begingroup$ UV map + particle system + metaballs will work $\endgroup$ – eromod Jul 24 '16 at 4:10
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks eromod. I do know that a UV map will work, it is what I am using now. Metaballs and the particle system will work too. I even mentioned UV and Metaballs in the question and included links. I just don't have the skills yet to get the results I'd like and am looking for some useful guidance. $\endgroup$ – Dana Williams Jul 24 '16 at 14:43

The new microdisplacment feature can help with that. Here is a simple node setup as a proof of concept: node setup render result

After duplicating this effect a couple of time you can obtain that:

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ nice idea! +1 well deserved. $\endgroup$ – aliasguru Oct 9 '16 at 15:38
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    $\begingroup$ would be nice to get a bit more insight on how to 'duplicate the effect a couple of times', and also to mention in detail how to use the microdisplacement (set to experimental, add a subsurf, tweak it, and set displacement to 'True' in the material) $\endgroup$ – aliasguru Oct 9 '16 at 15:44
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Vanitat. That looks very good. I will give it a try. $\endgroup$ – Dana Williams Oct 11 '16 at 0:15
  • $\begingroup$ how did you make the smaller bubbles on the second image be only around the bigger one's? $\endgroup$ – Lucas Leme Oct 5 '17 at 3:38
  • $\begingroup$ @aliasguru, Hi, I am new to blender and have struggled to do this approach, currently I have finally achieved the bubble look, though I had to add a Vector node before connecting to the final displacement. However, I cannot understand how they managed to make the final image, I have been tweaking the Voronoi texture but cannot make it so the high values go to the perimeter only, how was this achieved? $\endgroup$ – Ruri Sep 10 '19 at 3:41

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