Physical Open Waters generates oceans in Blender in real time
Physical Addons has released Physical Open Waters, a promising ocean generator for Blender.
The add-on generates photorealistic animated ocean surfaces suitable for motion graphics, concept art or VFX work, and is lighweight enough to run in real time on mid-range hardware.
Developed by the creators of Physical Starlight and Atmosphere
Although there are a number of existing ocean add-ons for Blender, Physical Open Waters has a good pedigree.
Its developer, Physical Addons, was founded by technical artist and lecturer Mārtiņš Upītis, and also develops the popular cinematic atmosphere tool Physical Starlight and Atmosphere (PSA), used by some well-known concept and games artists.
A lighteweight, photorealistic ocean surface generator
The new add-on, Physical Open Waters, is a procedural ocean surface generator.
It’s lightweight enough to run in real time on consumer hardware (the video above was recorded on a “mid-range laptop”), and is compatible with both Blender’s Eevee and Cycles renderers.
The larger waves actually displace the water mesh, while smaller ones – the add-on can generate capillary waves to add detail to close-up shots – use normal mapping.
LOD (Level of Detail) settings make it possible to balance interactive performance against visual quality at different camera distances.
Users can switch between presets ranging from calm water to stormy seas, using simple slider controls to adjust wave distribution and size, and the control parameters are keyframeable.
The add-on can also generate wakes for objects like boats moving over the ocean surface, although support for surface foam is scheduled for a future update.
Price and system requirements
Physical Open Waters is compatible with Blender 3.6+. It has a MSRP of $50 for a single seat, or $250 for a studio license.
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