T45 destroyer helicopter shot

3D-CGI shot of a T45 destroyer at sea. Particle based (FLIP tank) water / object simulation remains a difficult and computationally intensive challenge in 3D. This shot uses animated texture maps and displacement for a faster and simpler approach suitable for medium to long shots.

In the video the ship is not actually moving at all! The motion is created totally by the combined animation of the sea surface and texture maps.

Tech notes

Particle based water / object simulation using CG  ‘Fluid Implicit Particles’ (FLIP) can deliver impressive results, but requires considerable scene set up and development time. It’s also extremely demanding in terms of computer memory, CPU power and rendering time, so it’s far from ideal for every shot.

This shot uses animated texture maps and displacement for a faster and simpler approach suitable for medium to long shots.
A procedural RGB vector texture map was used to establish the base ocean surface. This was combined with a custom created 32bit displacement map based on researched ‘Kelvin wake’ patterns, which is the characteristic standing wave pattern created by a moving ship. This was further combined with simulated prop wash displacement mapping at the stern. Animated texture maps were created for the white water disturbance running along the sides of the ship and for the trailing wake, both of which were synchronised in speed with the overall wave speed of the ocean surface.

Birdseye still image of T45 destroyer at sea.
Displacement map illustration for T45 destroyer 3D CGI image