I've always liked the album art for Audioslave's Out Of Exile record, so I decided to re-create it in 3D. Here's a comparison of the original album with my version:

The technological focus for this project was on Houdini's latest toolset for ocean generation; Houdini 16 introduced a new way of layering ocean spectra without tiling artifacts. The workflow is very similar to the copy-stamp workflow but instead of copying geometry onto points, each input point creates a patch of ocean waves which blend nicely with its neighbors. The ocean spectrum can then either be used to deform input geometry or used directly in a Mantra displacement shader at render-time.

I should note that none of this water is simulated in the traditional sense, but rather it's driven by a mathematical model of ocean wave behavior. What that means for the artist is that you could set your timeline to any frame without having to wait for the previous frames to cook.

This is a top-down view of the template points for the wave instances. I clustered points closer together near the camera (at the origin here) and further away in the distance.

This is a top-down view of the template points for the wave instances. I clustered points closer together near the camera (at the origin here) and further away in the distance.

This is a view of the template points from the render camera. Notice the subtle variation in rotation and scale among the points.

This is a view of the template points from the render camera. Notice the subtle variation in rotation and scale among the points.

A top-down view of the ocean spectrum being instanced onto the template points.

A top-down view of the ocean spectrum being instanced onto the template points.

The view through the render camera.

The view through the render camera.

Here's a great in-depth look at Houdini's ocean tools from one of the developers: https://vimeo.com/204806144

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