How to create a water trail for a ship on moving water?

Hey guys,

I’m currently trying to create a trail for a ship very similar to Zelda’s Wind Waker:

It is supposed to be drawn on top of a water shader, which uses vertex displacement for waves/buoyancy. I’m a little lost here, because my knowledge is more about particles and shaders, but this seems like a completely new topic for me.

I tried to do some research on the topic, but I haven’t found something that clicked with me yet. How can I approach this effect? It must be some kind of trail, which follows the ship around and also warp around when the ship is turning and changing direction. Also, it needs to be drawn on top of the existing water and be affected by the wave forms. This made me think to use decals. But I have never worked with decals yet and am not sure where to start.

I’m mostly familiar with Unity, but this effect needs to be done in Unreal Engine. My initial idea was to create something similar to a trail renderer from Unity, where I would put a scrolling material, but this would not work since it wouldn’t be drawn on top of the waves correctly, right?

This awesome thread: [Niagara 4.25] Particle Decals Mini Tutorial seems to solve my problem with the “drawing on the animated water” bit, but I’m not sure how to create a trail with this that reacts to the ships movement. Also, Wyvery mentioned that other actors cannot be excluded so I guess that would mean that, if another ship would pass such a trail, the trail would be drawn on top of the other ship?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

cheers! :slight_smile:

I believe in UE it’s called Render Target. Basicaly you use camera to render texture and place on top of water in shader. You can render trail on texture for example.

That sounds really interesting! I’ve heard about Render Targets in Unity as well to create some portal effects. What do you mean with “trail on texture”?

I will look into Render Target tutorials, thanks for the hint! :slight_smile:

You render target your trail in real time and this recorded texture blends on top of water texture in water material.