Water Simulation Cases In Houdini, Unity & Unreal

Today we're going to look at some of the most advanced water simulation cases inside Houdini, Unreal Engine, Unity, and other toolkits. 


A stunning Houdini experiment with beautiful butterflies, fishes and a dinosaur skeleton by Lucas Stringhetti. The artist has presented his little experiment a couple of years ago. He used Houdini for the simulation and renderer the final result with Mantra. Learn more here

Quentin Lengele, another master of fluid simulations and the creator of awesome spheres in Houdini, uses FLIP and simulates particles with the Navier-Stokes equations to get the physics right.

"You’ll start by creating a simple sphere and apply the “FLIP Fluid from Object” on the “Particle Fluid” tab.

Quite easy, as it creates a DOPNetwork for you with a FLIP Solver in it.

Then, to be able to collide these particles inside a sphere, you need to create a hollow geometry that will be your fluid container. To do that, I use a simple boolean with 2 spheres."

Make sure to check out our exclusive interview with the artist here

This sim by Raju S will make you want to grab a towel and go sunbathing. The artist created assets for this scene with the help of Maya, Substance Painter, Photoshop, set up the simulation with Houdini, and rendered the whole thing in Arnold. Learn more here. 


We've featured this water editor by Jean-Philippe Grenier a bunch of times, but we have to do it one more time. The artist's goal was to recreate the mud and water system from Spintires MudRunner and Uncharted 4. He wanted to implement a small water system to study the challenges behind real-time water simulation.

The project is mainly based on Carlos Gonzalez’s Siggraph talk Rendering Rapids in Uncharted 4, a small demo of an idea called Wave Particles.

The project came out as a complex river editor with a number of adaptive parameters and features. You can learn more about the project in our article here.

Seeking a water system for Unity projects? Crest is a technically advanced ocean system with a number of features for Unity 2019.3 (HDRP 7.2.1 or later). The system features a number of customizable parameters that will let you set all kinds of projects. You can set wave shapes, change underwater dynamics, and more. 


  • Simulated light transport including reflection, refraction, scattering, caustics approximation
  • Completely dynamic wave shape with innovative 'equalizer' style wave authoring
  • Shallow water - light scattering and wave attenuation
  • Underwater with partial submersion
  • Dynamic object-water interaction
  • Foam simulated from waves and shorelines
  • Flow to enable horizontal motion of water volume
  • Physics interface with simplistic buoyancy implementations and support for Dynamic Water Physics 2

You can learn more about Crest here

Unreal Engine

You might want to grab this stylized shader by Adam Homoki. A year ago, the artist joined us to do a breakdown of his beautiful Cartoon Water Shader made in UE4. The artist discussed waterfall, waves, caustic effect, interaction, color, and more. You can find our breakdown here


Looking for guides to setting up caustics? Here is a couple of bonus materials for Unreal Engine and Unity users that will help you get started. First, check out an Unreal article by Timothy Cole. The artist did a detailed breakdown of his experiment with lighting in underwater environments, simulated with Unreal Engine. The artist explained all the essential settings and showed how you can get a realistic result. You can find the breakdown here

Finally, read an article by Florian Gelzenleuchter shared his workflow on recreating water shader for Zelda: Breath of the Wild fan project The Bells’ Arietta and shared a bunch Unity tricks. You can find the article here

Did we miss something? Make sure to share other awesome examples of water simulation in the comments below! 

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