Ocean Animation

With this project I wanted to capture what summer means to me: the beach. From the sun's shimmering reflection off the ocean's waves to the slowed-down relaxation it represents.

This is probably the easiest project in the Macro course (so far. Here's the main things you'll learn:

  1. Ocean modifier. This tool has been around a long time and it's still amazing; a one-click solution to generating a believable ocean surface with animation. Of course we'll click more buttons to refine it a bit. While it's not a dynamic fluid simulation, it's perfect for the low-key "average" ocean we're aiming for with this project.

  2. Shimmering Bokeh. I commonly reference bokeh blur as a useful artifact for cutting corners on foreground and background. But in this case, the dazzling sun-reflection bokeh shapes are interesting in their own right. They become an active feature of the animation.

  3. Looping the animation. The ocean modifier delivers wonderfully random wave behavior. But there's a neat trick we can use to seamless loop two ocean modifiers together.

Having trouble keeping up?

Blender has a steep learning curve and it's a lot to keep track of, especially if you're new. Here's some tips for getting the most out of these lessons:

Slow down the playback

Our video player has the ability to slow down play back speed to 0.75x or 0.5x. This can be very useful for catching every detail of the workflow.


Watch each video twice

I highly recommend this approach to get the maximum informational value out of each lesson. Watch once for a broad grasp of the workflow, concepts, and techniques. You don't even need Blender open for this. Great for a commute or while you're prepping dinner.

Then watch through a second time with Blender open to follow along. Having an idea what's going to happen next will enable you to track the information much better.

Depending on how comfortable you are with Blender, you could even watch the entire chapter once before the second viewing.

Optional Pre-requisite Courses

Though this course is designed with Beginners in mind, it still assumes you're at least familiar with Blender's UI and basic concepts about 3D creation.

If this is your very first time opening Blender, it might be best if you watch some of these courses first:

  1. Blender Basics
  2. Fundamentals of Materials and Shading
  3. Fundamentals of Digital Lighting

Learn more like this?

Shader Forge: Bodies of Water is an older course, but the material concepts are still entirely relevant and compatible with modern Blender / Cycles:


For more bite-sized projects, watch the first SESSIONS course, Minimalism:


The seed that led to SESSIONS was actually planted years ago during livestreams. Kent recorded a bunch of projects to fit within a 2-hour streaming window and they're all collected in this Playlist! 👇


Animation Materials Modeling Rendering