Quick and Realistic Water Shader for Lakes and Rivers

Different bodies of water behave and look differently. An ocean inherently has different visual attributes that are different from a lake or river, and again as a puddle. In 3D, creating rendering realistic water can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be if you are trying for the look of lakes and rivers. How does one go about making a realistic water shader?

[Pull quote align=“right”] a look at how to quickly setup a realistic water shader that looks great for flat bodies of water such as lakes and rivers[/pullquote]

3D Artist Greg Zdunek (Vertex Library) offers a good look into how to set up a realistic water shader for flat bodies of water. Greg is using Autodesk Maya with the Redshift renderer for describing the technique, yet any software or render can be used to achieve the same result. That is, any tool that allows you to generate peril noise, which is key to this effect.

Redshift is a really fast GPU renderer, so Greg’s scene only take 35 seconds to render. The water shader created here should be a quick render no matter the renderer. If you are setting up a lake or river scene, this simple and easy to use water shader not only looks great under different lighting conditions, but it also ban be animated without too much trouble.