Tutorial 5 | Oceanic Water – Part 1


This tutorial will hopefully show you how to create oceanic water in Cinema 4D. I actually fell on to this by accident, but it’s actually been a pretty good way of creating that water look. The whole trick is creating an animated displacement channel, and deep inside the multiple color channels is a noise channel with the ability to be animated. And as a special bonus, I have attached the 3D file at the bottom of this tutorial. I hope you have fun with it!

In your materials channel, you should first start by making a realistic color channel. You can do this by switching your color channel to layer, and then inside, start dropping a bunch of different noise layers to create a convincing ocean texture. Don’t forget that the layer channels work the same way as photoshop, so you can lay one layer on top and set it to screen mode, or multiply mode, or hard light so all layers blend into one awesome material.

Once you get the material looking nice, then let’s do some animation. Add a formula effector to your plane and adjust some of the settings to get a wavy, rolling ocean look.

Color and wavy water is not enough to make a convincing ocean though. This is where sub-polygonal displacement is necessary. The idea is pretty simple, geometry will displace or move based on a color channel, where white is up and black is down. Apply an animated noise channel to the displacement channel, then you have yourself an amazing texture.

An ocean texture is cool, but it’s ineffective if there isn’t anything around to compare it to. In addition to making an ocean, learn to build a cool rocky ridge line for the water to splash against. I use a cool technique called offsetting you texture to make your material seemless.

Finally, oceanic water only works if there is that foamy good stuff that hits rocks, ridges or anything else. Learn how to “paint” on textures using a vertex map on different layer channels. A really cool and quick way of building a texture onto a UVW map without going into bodypaint.

And here’s what you’ve been waiting for. Click HERE to download my oceanic water C4D file. Have fun and I’d love to hear what you do with this tutorial!


  1. antonio garcia solano
    09 June 17, 8:15pm

    muchas gracias , my friend

  2. 19 January 15, 6:13am

    […] them to work with what I was creating. The original cinema 4D ocean tutorial can be found here – I modified the water color and texture quite a lot but found this was a good ocean for the […]

  3. Trevelyan
    24 June 13, 3:44pm

    Mr Heck…
    You are a life saving genius.
    Thank you.

  4. Byron
    22 May 13, 7:58pm

    Thanks for the great tutorial.

    When I render it gives me an error… missing this file:

    rockmossytexture.psd (Mat)

  5. 05 November 12, 5:41am

    More tuts please 🙂

  6. faisal
    08 August 12, 2:56pm

    HI, this is a great tutorial but im having an issue, after finishing colorizing the texture right before the reflection my render shows differently from you a big difference as if its just a noise map with colors but no actual waves, it looks like its crystilized, i download ur project files and rendered it it was perfect, i copied ur texture from the project file and pasted it in my material in the previous project to see if my texture was the problem it, it gave the same resault as my texture!!! i am reallly confused, can anybody please help me…

  7. 01 May 12, 5:24pm

    The rock texture is located in the final file at the bottom of the page. Awesome job and good luck!

  8. 26 April 12, 2:04pm

    Hey dude, great work-this ocean texture is wonderfully!-very dense and realistic-I do have a question. When I render, I am missing rockmosstexture. Is it possible to reupload?-I guess I can always make one, just saying!-thank you, CZ

  9. 17 March 12, 12:02am

    It was by the Penguin Cafe Orchestra and its called Perpetuum Mobile.

  10. Quincy
    12 March 12, 2:04pm

    Awesome tutorial…can I ask what music you used for the intro scene with the waves? I’ve heard it before and love how perfectly it with the visuals.

  11. 13 January 12, 9:52am

    Even as a long time c4d user I still learn something new everytime I work with c4d. I never would have thought of using vertex maps as an alpha channel in the Layer shader. Thanks a lot for this nice tutorial.

  12. ALPER
    17 December 11, 9:21am


  13. 08 November 11, 6:43pm

    Awesome dude. Thanks!

  14. 05 November 11, 2:49am

    Hey first off ur very good at what you do. I’m fifteen and just started working in c4d about a week ago as I plan on using it in my video editing, or in video game design if my interest takes me in that direction. I find the best way to learn a new software is to mess around with it for a bit and than do something fairly difficult that involves quite a few steps. Through this I learn a lot of functions. Your tutorials are by far my favorites and you have helped me a lot, thx.

  15. 29 October 11, 4:28pm

    Sweet, killer dude!

  16. antonio
    15 October 11, 5:37am

    this is great tutorial =)

  17. 07 September 11, 3:18pm

    Sweet stuff dude!

  18. 26 August 11, 2:35pm

    Thank you!

  19. Jacobite
    23 August 11, 1:37am

    Well What! Al it does not get any better than this. The complete dedication, research and sleepless nights involved in this project.
    Plus including the Project file.
    You are the King of Kings.
    All the very best in your quest in recreating our natural world!


  20. 25 June 11, 8:37pm

    Hey friend can i publish some paragraph of your article on my little blog of university.I have to publish a good articles out there and i really think your post Fits best into it.I will be grateful to give you an source link as well.I have two blogs one my own and the other which is my college blog.I will publish some part in the university blog.Hope you do not mind.

  21. 16 May 11, 2:55pm

    THX that’s a great anwesr!

  22. 16 May 11, 2:50pm

    BION I’m impeerssd! Cool post!

  23. 16 May 11, 2:37pm

    That’s way more clever than I was expetcnig. Thanks!

  24. 16 May 11, 2:11pm

    Wow! That’s a relaly neat answer!

  25. 15 May 11, 1:45pm

    Good point. I hadn’t tohhugt about it quite that way. 🙂

  26. 15 May 11, 11:18am

    Now that’s sblute! Great to hear from you.

  27. 15 May 11, 7:58am

    Fell out of bed feelnig down. This has brightened my day!

  28. 15 May 11, 5:06am

    Great thinking! That rlelay breaks the mold!

  29. 15 May 11, 3:33am

    Walking in the persecne of giants here. Cool thinking all around!

  30. 14 May 11, 7:02pm

    You need to install the plugin into ae. Go to your maxon app, and inside, there is a folder called exchange plugins. Copy the correct plugin for ae and paste into your aftereffects format plugins directory. You should be set from there!

  31. nat
    12 May 11, 10:24pm

    thx for this tutoria. I rendered the scene in rpf format but AE can’t open rpf files. Please help me how to open rpf file formats with AE.

  32. 07 April 11, 4:10am

    Sweet, glad you enjoyed it! Leave your link and I’ll check it out!

  33. 06 April 11, 9:08pm


    Just wanna say that i LOVE your tutorials!
    Specially the ‘oceanic water’ tutorial.
    check out some of my ” C4D Is Sexy” episodes on my channel, i tried the ocenic water ettect there ;D
    keep up the good work!

    – Daniel

  34. astovlBMB
    11 March 11, 9:11am

    Awesome!!! tnx

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