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How do I properly use refraction on water and how will i create water depth?

Hi, I ran into some problems with a translucent water material. I want to make some kind of pool water.

  1. Reflection: Since I didn't manage to get reflections with translucent material types, i used a RenderTarget which is not accurate, but works somehow. Is there a way to make translucent materials reflect without render target?

  2. I get visual artifacts with refractions, which seems logical, since the whole under water surface displaces too much against crossing geometry. however, i do not need real refraction, i only need a distortion effect based of the normal maps, that make the small waves on the surface. how will i stop the refraction from displacing my whole water surface?

  3. I think i didn't get the concept of depthfade vs. refraction. when i use greater values in the depthfade-fade distance than ~250 i get some water depth effect, but also heavy refraction issues around the geometry that is inside the water and when i use a pixeldepth node it won't work also.. how would i use the depth fade with refration?

any hint appreciated! thanks in advance and greetings! sascha

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asked Apr 14 '14 at 01:28 PM in Using UE4

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[PB]Aphexx
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3 answers: sort voted first

Hi [PB]Aphexx,

Reflection: Since I didn't manage to get reflections with translucent material types, i used a RenderTarget which is not accurate, but works somehow. Is there a way to make translucent materials reflect without render target?

Reflection on translucent material should work without render targets. I followed the official guide (https://docs.unrealengine.com/en-us/Engine/Rendering/Materials/HowTo/Refraction) in a default scene and in an empty scene and it works.

I get visual artifacts with refractions, which seems logical, since the whole under water surface displaces too much against crossing geometry. however, i do not need real refraction, i only need a distortion effect based of the normal maps, that make the small waves on the surface. how will i stop the refraction from displacing my whole water surface?

Maybe you are sending a wrong value into the refraction node, try to not send values less than one not more than ten.

I think i didn't get the concept of depthfade vs. refraction. when i use greater values in the depthfade-fade distance than ~250 i get some water depth effect, but also heavy refraction issues around the geometry that is inside the water and when i use a pixeldepth node it won't work also.. how would i use the depth fade with refration?

any hint appreciated! thanks in advance and greetings! sascha

Maybe you should try to tune your opacity instead of trying to emulate the whole water effect with the depth fade and refraction. What I'll try to do is:

  • Use the depth fade to have soft or rough edges when the water hits a surface.

  • Use refraction (in this example the value of IOR is 1.5) to give the idea of water.

  • Use opacity to emulate how much clear/opaque the water is.

My test material: Mat Example

And a sample scene: Scene Example

I hope this helps you!

materialexample.png (187.0 kB)
shaderexample2.png (245.4 kB)
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answered Mar 13 '18 at 01:45 AM

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Anhhkk
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@Anhhkk Well, that was quite a necropost. This question is more than 3 years old.

In any case, I've discussed cause of artifacts with depth fade and potential solution in this forum thread.

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answered Mar 14 '18 at 10:42 AM

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Deathrey
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thanky ou all for your help. and the solution for the wrong refraction is here: https://docs.unrealengine.com/en-us/Engine/Rendering/Materials/PixelNormalOffset we just have to use "pixel normal offset" as refraction mode for large flat surfaces.

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answered Jul 09 '18 at 10:50 PM

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[PB]Aphexx
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