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I am in the process of creating a large ocean, which I would like to use the ocean modifier for. My scene currently consists of a plane being displaced by the ocean modifier, but I would like to have 5 repeats on both the x and y. With the detail I need, the amount of polygons will be absurd without adaptive subdivision.

Since I can not enable adaptive subdivision when the subsurf modifier is first in list, how can I use the ocean modifier with adaptive subdivision?

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Unfortunately, adaptive subdivision (at least as it is now) works by applying the subdivision to the UV dynamically with respect to the view. It must be dynamic. However, the ocean modifier obviously radically changes geometry and it does so by modifying a known geometry. With ASD, the geometry is unknown and is in flux. For this reason, ASD must be applied last.

This is just a workaround and it may not even be applicable to your needs (and you've probably already thought of it). It's not adaptive but you can lock the camera to plane and maybe make it appear as if your subject is moving through the ocean.

Create a plane and subdivide it in sections:

enter image description here

Apply Ocean mod Set Geometry to Displace. Play with settings:

enter image description here

enter image description here

Sorry for the crummy sky hdri: enter image description here

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