Anton Balazh has an amazing relief map with the best ocean material I have ever seen. This link has several examples: http://unofficialnetworks.com/2014/06/detailed-relief-maps-show-worlds-mountain-ranges

Amazing sea material!

I am close to recreating the land (although more than happy to accept recommendations on improving that as well!) but the ocean is well beyond my current capabilities.

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I have found several tutorials on creating some good looking procedural ocean materials (some of my favorites include avoiding a tiled looking ocean simulation and Prevent ocean from behaving like a mirror) with one of the best being https://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?320054-Test-Tutorial-Realistic-tropical-water-shader-in-Cycles

The challenge is I'm using images from NASA (http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_cat.php?categoryID=1484&p=1) to both texture the land and create the height field. NASA has posted a bathymetry map and a ocean mask, but I can't figure out how to combine all of these to get the subtle ocean bathymetry effect and depth coloring effect. To complicate matters even more, I prefer using the highly detailed images which don't have a premade ocean mask.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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    $\begingroup$ Maybe it makes sense to combine the ocean height map with the terrain height map, then add the ocean geometry at the correct level. They seem equally exaggerated or intensified, too, so don't be surprised if you need to increase the intensity of the displacement. $\endgroup$
    – Jeff Lange
    Commented Jan 22, 2018 at 15:12
  • $\begingroup$ you can use the tif bathymetry as a mask with a math node set to greater than 1. I'm also trying to use it with a color ramp to get shades of blue relative to the depth, but it doesn't give any good result :( $\endgroup$
    – Bithur
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 17:57

1 Answer 1


I think the simplest solution here is to use your ocean depth map as a transmission input on a principled shader node. Apply it also to Subsurface Strength. Then you can change the subsurface color to that pretty cyan shade. For additional depth, duplicate the node with the depth map only applied to transmission on the second one, and play with the strength slider and base color until you get that really dark blue you're after. Then mix the two together using the depth map again to drive the mix shader.

Alternately, if you don't have a separate depth map, you can come close enough for your purposes by making a black-and-white image based on the satellite information you have. You can always adjust the strength with a color ramp in Blender.


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