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Raindrops on a Water Surface

Author: Stargazy

Tools Needed

* Bryce 5 or 5.5

Step 1: Create a water plane

Create a water plane in your picture. Open the Material Lab and give it a nice water texture. In my picture I used “Oasis” for this example. The surface is not too rough, so the ripples of the water drops will show up fine.


Now open the deep texture editor (DTE) by clicking on the pink button above the texture components.


Step 2: The Deep Texture Editor

The DTE shows at a maximum three components which can be combined to create the final texture (combination). You can see the three components in small preview windows. Each of these components can be used for color (C), as an alpha channel (A) and/or as a bump map (B). Three buttons on the left of each component indicate which components as used for which purpose.


The components can be blended by various blend modes. The text on the arrows between the components indicate the used blend mode.


The fourth component named “combination” shows the result of blending the three components. Note that not every texture contains three components. There might be some that are only using one or two.

I will not explain the full functionality of the DTE in the further steps. I will only mention the steps for creating the tickling of raindrops.

If you are interested in getting more knowledge about working with the DTE, please refer to the manual.

Step 3: Work with Component 3

We will now use component 3 for creating a bump map for the tickling. So click on the title to activate it. A random structure will appear.

Make sure, that the button for the bump map (B) is enabled and C and A are disabled.


Because we want to blend the tickles with eventually existing bump maps, select 'Average' as the blend mode. Simply click on the text and a menu will appear.

So the ripples from the water and the drops will interact with each other.


Step 4: Open the Noise Editor

Now we are going to make some drops. Therefore we need some spots on our texture. This we will do by adding the appropriate noise to the component.

Open the noise dialog by clicking on the glassy top left button in the component or the Noise button at the bottom of the DTE.


Make sure the blue ball is in the third hollow (that indicates that we are working on the third component), and click the green corner on the dialog to open the Noise Editor.


Step 5: Making the Drops

To get the spots into your texture, select 'Spots' for the Type. Set the Octaves to 2. That will give us some spots in different sizes.

Set the Direction for XY and YZ to 0. As it is now, assigned to a cube, it would only cover the front. We will correct this in a further step, but now it makes it easier to follow the changes in the preview windows.

Set all three values for Frequency to the same value. Otherwise your drops will not be round. Select a value between 80 and 90.

At least set the dimension to 2D, because we want the drops on the top of the surface only.


Close the Noise Dialog by clicking on the checkmark.

Step 6: Creating the Rings

What's now missing are the rings around our drops. These rings we create in the Filter dialog. Open the filter dialog by clicking on the upper right glassy button.


The filter Sin(aX)+b will give us nice rings around the drops, so select this filter.

Now click on the Reset button in the filter dialog to reset all values.

Click and drag the number for 'a' to the right to set a value. Drag until you have a good number of rings around the larger spots; somewhat between 30 and 70.

Set the value of 'b' to around -0.5. That will make the ripples a little bit smoother. You can come back here later to adjust the value if you think the ripples are too deep or too low.


Step 7: Some more Adjustments

If you are satisfied with your rings, go back into the Noise Dialog. Decrease the frequency to get larger rings. A good value is about 35.

Try also to increase the Octaves to 3 or 4 and take the value you like more. In my example I used the value 3 for the Octaves.

To make the rings a little bit more intensive, switch the mode to Maximum.

The last thing we have to do is to rotate the texture. As it is now, assigned to a cube, it would only cover the front. But we want to cover the top. Therefore we have to change the YZ direction to 90. The spots will nearly disappear, but don't worry, they are still there.

So here are the final settings.


Close the Noise Dialog by clicking on the checkmark.

Close now the DTE. Don't worry if you can't see the raindrops in the texture preview of the Material Lab. As I mentioned before, that is because the drops are only visible on the top of an object.

Close the Material Lab as well.

Step 8: Render your Image

Render your water surface.

Here is my result:


If you like your water surface, don't forget to add it to your material presets.