In using the mental ray renderer there were a number of things we did, or
tried, to produce the results we wanted.
To model the surface in the ray-tracing we used cardinal patches assuring
that each of the points we had modeled would in fact be on the surface of
the wave. The surface's color was generated using a painted texture map
that was a mixture of blue and green.
Foam and Spray
Foam was generated by exporting textures from the model. Whenever foam
particles were generated we overlayed foam over the color texture map, and
then texture mapped it over the surface during rendering. One of the problems
created by this was the loss of color of the foam, since the foam wound up
Spray was generated using small triangles. Unfortunately we ran out of time,
and any further work would probably render these as spheres or volume render
We used mental-ray's built in environment texture map to map a painted texture
of sky with light clouds on to a sphere surrounding the scene. A side effect
is that some pictures where the wave does not completely cover the view show
sky to the side or below the water.
To model the perturbations often seen on the surface of the ocean we used
a very high frequency noise function, Ken Perlin's, to perturb the normal
of the surface by bump mapping.