Vue 7 Water Editor – Guide Part 1

Since the water editor posts of this blog is proving to be the most popular, I have decided to expand upon it over the next couple of days with some short guides, mostly renders of the water and the settings that they took to create them. Todays post will be extremes, i.e. settings as they are originally set as a control followed by one setting turned up to the max so that the effect can be seen clearly.

Firstly a few things that should be noted, the water editor can only be used with an infinite plane of water and it is populated with a meta water, it is opened simply by double clicking on the water surface or by right clicking on the water plane in the layer menu and selecting edit.

The following menu is displayed (assuming you have “default water” selected as the texture)


This gives the following result. Please note that all renders are done with the “default” atmosphere for clarity.


Not particularly exciting, so lets have a look at those settings in a bit more detail.

Surface Altitude:
Surface altitude affects the Actual Height of the sea surface above the 0 X,Z co-ordinate, for example, if it is set to 100, it is well above the ground plane, where as if you have it at 0 it will be resting on the ground plane.

Set to 0 Above

Set to 100 Above, Notice the position of the water element.

Displaced Water Surface:
This option creates a more realistic surface to the water by producing heights for the water and physically changing the shape of the object, This looks more realistic than with just textured surfaces because it allows surfaces to show shadows and gives extra depth. This is the same as adding displacement to, for example, a brick wall.

Bruno Memain pointed out that displaced water surface doesn’t use displacement. It transforms the water plane (2 polys) into an infinite procedural terrain (more than 2 polys …) This procedural terrain uses a set of nodes based on the “open ocean” fractal node we know since Vue5. So it isn’t as resources heavy as displacement, and since it is a procedural terrain, the closer you are from the surface, the more detail you can see.

Examples below are of firstly non-displaced material and secondly displaced material, with the Overall Agitation cranked up to 100.





It should be noted that displacement takes longer to render and vastly increases the number of polygons in the scene, in the second picture there are 7100000 polygons while in the first there are only 4.

Use Global Wave Control:

This is a setting which allows you to change the settings generically without going into editing the settings individually. In this section, all images will be duplicate, firstly with displacement active and secondly without displacement.

When this setting is active, the overall agitation option is useable, however when you turn the global wave control off, the Overall Agitation option is greyed, and the other advanced options are availiable.

Overall Agitation:
This is an option that uses preset settings to control the overall appearance of the water surface. Below are examples of the overall agitation at setting 0%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%

0% With Displacement 2 Polygons

0% No Displacement 2 Polygons

25% With Displacement 2140000 Polygons

25% No Displacement 2 Polygons

50% With Displacement 2560000 Polygons

50% No Displacement 2 Polygons

75% With Displacement 3350000 Polygons

75% No Displacement 2 Polygons

100% With Displacement 7100000 Polygons

100% No Displacement 2 Polygons

Wind Direction:
Wind direction depicts the direction in which the waves will move towards as in nature, the example below is waves moving at 45 degrees and then also at 90 degrees. (Overall Agitation is set to 50% in both images, Displacement is on)

Wind Direction 45 degrees,

Wind Direction 90 degrees,

You can see that the direction of the waves has altered, This is probably best used when creating shorelines and objects with waves moving towards them.

The following settings can only be used with the “Global Wave Control” deactivated

Wave Amount:
Wave amount depictes the quantity of waves that are present in the water plane, default is set at 1. Images below are firstly with displacement and then without, the settings are 0, 1, 5, 10.

0 No Displacement

0 With Displacement

1 No Displacement

1 With Displacement

5 No Displacement

5 With Displacement

10 No Displacement

10 With Displacement

This depicts the height of the displacement that is enforced on the waves, thus the displacement option must be active. The default value is 1, minimum is 0, the maximum is 100. Below are 6 pictures, set at 0, 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100

Height at 0: 0 Polygons

Height at 20: 2530000 Polygons

Height at 40: 3000000 Polygons

Height at 60: 3200000 Polygons

Height at 80: 3400000 Polygons

Height at 100: 3400000 Polygons

Height at 0 appears to cancel out the water altogether, which makes sense really as water can’t have 0 height.

Wind Intensity:
Wind intensity appears to dictate the amount of lashing that the waves take, i.e. how much foam is present on top and how agitated the surface of the water is.

The default value is 1. The following pictures use the values 0, 1 and 2. Non displacement mapping is first, followed by displacement.

0 – No displacement: 2 Polygons

0 – With displacement: 2443000 Polygons

1 – No displacement: 2 Polygons

1 – With displacement: 3000000 Polygons

2 – No displacement: 2 Polygons

2 – With displacement: 3600000 Polygons

Agitation dictates how much swell, and current the water has, or.. how agitated the water is…

The minimum value is 0.5, the maximum is 2.0, The images below show this set on 0.5, 1 and 2. Without Displacement is shown first, with displacement is shown second.

0.5 No Displacement 2 Polygons

0.5 With Displacement 2 Polygons

1.0 No Displacement 2 Polygons

1.0 With Displacement 2 Polygons

2.0 No Displacement 2 Polygons

2.0 With Displacement 2443000 Polygons

Choppiness dicates how choppy the water is, fairly self explanatory really. Choppiness is the number of small waves that appear in the water in fashion similar to ^^^
so greater choppiness means the waves will be closer together, i.e. ^^^^^ lesser settings will result in ^ ^ ^ and so on..

Default setting is 0.5, minimum is 0, maximum is 1. Below are images of 0, 0.5 and 1, no displacement comes first, displacement comes second.

0 No displacement

0 With displacement

0.5 No displacement

0.5 With displacement

1 No displacement

1 With displacement

The images that use displacement that appear blank are due to the lack of height, this part of a the guide however is to illustrate what each of the options do from a default metawater layer.

Part Two – Making Foam

Hope this helps, suggestions, comments or includes more than welcome.

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12 Responses to “Vue 7 Water Editor – Guide Part 1”

  1. Peggy Wingstedt (mcw1917) says:

    Wonderful information! I cannot wait until tomorrow’s addition …or edition! Thank you so much Richard! mcw1917

  2. Bob Nolin says:

    This is great, Richard. Looks like it was a lot of work. This will be very helpful in understanding the new editor. Thank you!

  3. […] latest post is a guide to understanding the Vue 7 water editor. With extensive renders and screenshots, he takes users through different settings, and how they […]

  4. Thierry Guinot says:

    Congratulations ! This is a great work, about a very new subject. Is it possible to control the foam on the top of the waves ?

  5. Admin says:

    Thanks for the comments! Glad to be of help!

    Thierry, foam is covered in part two of the guide.

  6. Thierry Guinot says:

    Yes, I’ve just seen it. Thank you again.

  7. Cosmic Truth says:

    Fantastic, do you mind putting this in a ad free pdf file and distributing it that way?
    has a vue group that needs you : )

  8. Admin says:

    No problem cosmic truth! ill get on this shortly.

  9. Cosme D. Churruca says:

    Thanks Rich. A remarkable and intensive tut. This week end waves everywhere! Regards.

  10. Roys says:

    Gracias por este breve pero buen manual … me sirvio de mucho para dominar este programa .


  11. Ariel Faust says:

    Hey there, i was jsut wondering, i’ve been following your tutorial and it works for me perfectly except for one thing. When I start animating the water, i can’t seem to be able to render, not even a single 640×480 preview! Vue crashes due to a lack of memory apparently. therefore i wanted to ask you if you don’t mind, what kind of computer you´re using to render, and which windows you recommend. Im using Windows XP 32 bit, 3.25 Gb of memory and a 8600 GeForce. Is it too outdated? Do you recommend a newer version of windows, more memory or a newer Geforce? Thanks for your time in Advance!


  12. Admin says:


    Im not sure why its crashing on you, it really shouldnt be….

    Im using an intel core 2 quad 9650 (3.0ghz) with 6gb RAM with gtx 9800 on windows 7 64bit. I would reccomend windows 7 64 bit and more ram, but im not sure thats the cause of your problem.

    If you want to please feel free to send me the scene to me and ill try rendering it to see if it crashes here too..

    Hope this helps – if not I suggest you post it at renderosities vue forum as there are a bunch of people there that might be able to offer some assistance.