Aquarium effects

I am developing an aquarium with interactive fishes. I would like to put some good looking effect there.

I have basically the fishes done and would like some environment effects. I plan to put some rocks and the ground with normal maps, some interactive grasses, …

In particular, I want to put in water shadow effect (any reference ?), water bubble effects (any reference, shall I implement with particles ?), fog like effects (for better depth view).

Any good references, advices, examples you can recommend ?

Thanks in advance.

Well, I have the fishes, animation, simple AI, ready:

I am looking for the water shadow effects (something like Nalu demo from NVidia. Any ideas ? Can the volumetric light effect be used ?

I assume you’ve already looked at, which is always the first place to look for such things.
Crytek’s presentations are always useful, too. The “Crysis Next Gen Effects” presentation from GDC 2008 is probably useful to you, it discusses some water effects.

Thank you very much for the pointers. I have not visited there before. It is great !

simple water caustics and terrain added :

wheee :smiley: that looks nice.
about the water caustics. how bout using 2 layers of them and move them using uv-offset?

keep up the work :slight_smile:

that’s a good idea ! will try out later ! Thank you !

Well i was gonna suggest a few things but looks like you’ve already done them all. 1: A wide FOV will help the effect (already done) 2: Use a particle effect for bubbles i think. and 3: You’ve already got caustics as well :stuck_out_tongue:

Thank you for your suggestions.

Yes, I am thinking about particles also…and some god rays…and some other sea animals…

Volumetric lighting in the water is a must.

I believe the Crysis effects paper covers this too.

As a potential consumer of this product may I ask:
Could you add some plants- I am really in aquariums (have three aquariums in my home) and I enjoy the plants as much as the fish- especially if the fish interact with the plants nibbling etc.

A real virtual aquarium with all the problems of real ones would be a great sim! Mysterious fish deaths, infestations, alien abductions, lethal nitrogen levels, Clown fish with pebbles sabotaging the filter.

Great job

JB SKaggs

I am thinking about modeling jelly fish and other non-fish animals also…

I have not much idea on water plants yet, it sounds a great but difficult subject.

Jelly fish are cool! Maybe a rock or submerged boat beam for mystery?

In my real aquarium I have several plants that do not move even in strong current- so wouldnt be any animation to speak of. But your app is nice just as it is.

My tank has snails, skunk loaches, ghost shrimp, red tail sharks, two types tetras, angel fish, glow fish, koolie loach, sucker fish, moss, sword grass, dwarf angel hair grass, mint charlie, duck weed, floating lichen ferns, drift wood and a root tangle. The ghost shrimp are wicked cuz they will hunt in packs and kill and eat slow or dumb fish.

I have two types of light, co2 device, bubbler, power filter, and heater.

When I get stressed I will just sit and watch the world in the glass and let the stress go… I could see you app being the same way. Helping to relax and destress.

BTW I saw your boat and water effects video very nice.


I like aquarium very much also. Do you have any photos of your aquariums ?

The boat and water demos are all in demomaster. You can try it out if your video card is powerful enough.

Where is the Demomaster?

Never thought of taking a photo of my aquarium. All we use our camera for is filimg our Aikido classes here at the children’s home some of which are on youtube. Look for Kame-Do Aikido and you can see us and the kids I work with. ALthough I must be honest I hate the videos with me- cuz I look bizaare with hakama cuz I am Sumo size.)

I will take some pics of my aqaurium soon.

I aspire to make water art like yours one day- Years ago I made a rpg design doc called Bravery, it was a about a goldfish who becomes a dragon based in the japanese legend that Carp if they are brave enough can become dragons. Thus the Japanese Brave Boy day and the Carp flags everywhere.

But I lacked the art skills then to pull it off. Instead I made it a marble game like Zuma but played with dragons.

But maybe in the future I will try again as your app has reinspired me to think bigger. :slight_smile:


In fact you don’t need art skills to make an aquarium demo. It is pure programming skills.

You can take a look on demomaster here:

I would have tried to add it. I test it on this demo first: … directlink

It is working well.

Then I test it with the fishes: … directlink

It seems not the effect I want. I would like to have the ray cast out from the light source (like the first picture). How can I make it / adjust it accordingly ?

Well, that’s tricky and I render the scene twice to fix that. One renders only the stuff that casts the rays, and theres a commonfilter rendering for that buffer (invoke CommonFilters with that buffer instead of
The other renders the scene normally. The result from the filter is applied on top of the usual render.

I think I’m adding a trick to use the stencil buffer in 1.7.0 - that will be compatible with ancient GPU’s as well.

Thank you for the hint. I will try it out then.

How about the rays in (not the water caustics): … ustics.jpg

Any suggestion on how to create this effect ?

Trickier, when the water line itself is out of view. Note though that even crysis doesn’t have that.

You could use the volumetric lighting for that, but the rays will only be visible when the water line is in view.

Otherwise, you could draw planes in the water with the rays on it - similar like you would do rain.