Filo: Sketch #9 WIP


I’m planning on doing a toon waterfall effect in Unreal based on the style of one I did for a small Unity project a couple weeks ago:


This time it will be a more standard waterfall instead of some circular thing, and as an extra challenge I’ll try to make it as lightweight as possible.

I’ll show some progress soon!


It looks tasty, i just see the edges 2 flat, maybe adding more movement ^^.
Good luck!


Thanks! the gif is from my previous Unity project that I’m using for reference, though. I’m currently doing the blocking in unreal and will upload some shots as soon as there is some progress.


I’ve done some blocking and I’m currently working on getting the water movement right:

I’m still not happy with the water texture but I’ll add the foam areas before tweaking it. I’ll probably make some assets too like stones and vegetation to blend the waterfall with the environment.


I changed the waterfall mesh and added some foam:

Next step would be blending the waterfall with the pond, and I’m thinking on doing some dynamic meshes in a similar way Simon did on the Rime waterfalls.


i liked your color palette in the orignal round one, and it looked like it has subtle vertex or texture color gradients.

i did a small paint over (might have gone too far in gradients but this is my direction) ; mind you only doing this because your work is looking so solid as-is


I’ve been trying different colors before doing any gradients and I just wasn’t getting anything I was comfortable with, so I just took your advice and went ahead with the gradients. As it turns out, that was the right thing to do all along, I’m experimenting with different colors for the moment but it looks much more promising!


Close up of the foam material:

I’m using a similar mesh as the semicircle for the pond but with a higher polycount (~1k), and the same texture that displaces it serves as an opacity mask.


I’ve tweaked the colors and refined the foam materials and I’m getting to a point where I don’t know what can be improved so I’m totally open to suggestions!

I will try to add some assets later so I can see how the waterfall would blend with the environment.



here’s suggestion. make the waterfall noise have the falloff you use in other places so there is less noise until the bottom

also break your edges
and see if you can make a flowy edge to the fall that is a highlight


I’ve tried a slightly larger frontface culled copy of the waterfall mesh with some warping on it and this is what I got. It doesn’t work perfectly since depending on the angle the edge is not as aparent.


From the side the wall trumps the edge:


Added the foam fade to the waterfall and lowered the strength of the top edge foam:


I love how the fade gives it much more depth, I didn’t go for it at first since real life waterfalls don’t have that, but it does work better with it.


that looks fantastic!


I’ve experimented a little bit with some volumetric faking for the underwater foam. I’m currently calculating the distance from the view line to a point under the waterfall, adding some distortion and lerping it to the foam and water colors. I’ve been tweaking values for a while and this is what I’ve got, if you see any obvious problems with it please do tell:


I have the feeling that the foam area is too bright, any opinions on that?

Edit: I’ve also noticed that the Unreal tonemapper was activated, that explains the difference between the values I was selecting and the actual colors on the screen which was driving me kind of nuts. Should I learn to work with the tonemapper switched on or is it better to deactivate it so I can get more control over my colors?


Hello everybody!

As the challenge is coming to an end and I’m probably not going to modify this further, here is a quick breakdown of the effect elements. Some of the meshes have more polygons than needed but as I probably won’t be using this in any project soon, I left them as is, not that they are much of a problem anyway.

All the materials use some mix of these two textures by panning and multiplying them. Both of them are pretty basic Substance textures.

Perlin Texture:

Fiber Texture:

River plane:
Not much to it. There is a fade in the amount of waves as it reaches the fall

Waterfall edge:
Moving textures with an UV fade in and fade out.
top foam

Waterfall mesh:
Similar to the river plane with different material values

Waterfall silhouette:
Modified version of the waterfall mesh with a front-culled material and world displacement
edge break

Semicircle mesh with world displacement and cutout transparency.

Another semicircle mesh with just enough polygons to allow a smooth UV animation
pond foam

Pond + Underwater foam:
The base color is a simple UV lerp, and the underwater foam is calculated inside the material.

The foam effect is view dependant.

The material takes the center of the effect as a float3 parameter. First, the distance from the view direction line and the parameter is calculated and this value is then modulated by applying the world position of the point where the line is closer to the parameter as a texture coordinate. I’m not super stoked about the result, but with all the meshes turned on it sells fairly enough.

I took it as a challenge to not use transparencies nor volumetric rendering for this particular effect, and it served me well as a geometry exercise. :grinning:


Final effect:
Thanks for all the feedback and the guides and resources all over the forum. See you in next month’s sketch!

Bonus red wine waterfall:
Or is it blood…

VFX Sketch #9: Winners and Badges!
Portfolio critique

The way you did the foam under the water is super impressive. This is awesome stuff!


Thanks! I think the idea is cool but I’m still not quite convinced with the result. I’ll try to repeat the effect once I have more experience with materials and see if I can improve on it.


nice works well done


Hello Filo, love your work and thanks for the breakdown, i am currently a student that is trying to get into VFX and i am hoping if you can answer a question for me. How did you get the waterfall edge to do that im trying to play around with shaders but i can get it right, anyway you clarify on how i should approach it?

thank you :slight_smile:


Hey filo that’s so awesome. The underwater foam is Incredible!!! Could you do a material breakdown for us?


@legoobs I masked the panning texture with the UVs, probably something like multiplying the panning texture by the distance to the center of the vertical UV.

@TitanLeGrand You can check out the project if you want and you can see the material in UE here

I just realised i have multiple things in that project, so the waterfall materials are in this folder: