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How To Create An Animated Water Material in UE4

Animated Water Material in Unreal Engine 4

Hey guys, today I’ll be showing you a simple yet effective technique for creating a realistic animated water material. This material will have simple waves passing over it in a loop to simulate water surface such as in a pool.

I used these 2 textures to create my animated water material with UE4. Just right-click, download and we’ll begin:

Base Color Map

Normal Map

Follow the steps below to create your very own animated water material:

  1. Create a new material, open it in a new window and add these maps to the Base Color and Normal slots by importing them as Texture Samples.
  2. Set the Blend Mode of this material to ‘Translucent‘ and Lighting Mode to ‘Surface Translucency Volume‘.
  3. Add a constant with a value of 1.0 to the Metallic slot.
  4. Add another constant with a value of 0.8 to the Specular and a constant of 0.0 to the Roughness parameter slot.
  5. To make our water look cool and eye-catchy, we’ll give it a little glow of its own. We can add a ‘Constant 3 Vector‘ to Emissive Color and give it a Cyan hue.
  6. For the Opacity, we need to add a ‘Fresnel‘ node and connect a ‘Constant‘ to its ExponentIn parameter to control the strength of the effect.
  7. Also, we can add the same nodes as Opacity for controlling our material’s Refraction.
  8. Next up is the animation part. We’ll manipulate our normal map to create the illusion of waves on the water surface. It’ll work best if we animate 2 patterns going opposite each other. Duplicate the normal map and plug them both through a ‘LERP‘ node (A and B) which in turn connects to the Normal parameter of the material.
  9. In order to animate the normal maps, we’ll add a ‘Panner‘ node to each Normal Map’s UVs input slot. Set the X and Y values for one Panner to 0.02 and 0.03 and for the other add -0.02 and -0.03.
  10. That’s it, you now have a cool animated water material.


ENJOY! and stay tuned for more tips, tricks, and tutorials.

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