Houdini Ocean Toolkit for Maya


Hi, I ported the Houdini Ocean Toolkit some time ago to Maya but completely forgot about posting here. So even though some of you already found it, here it is again.


Compiled for Win: Maya 8.5 64, Maya 2008 32/64, Maya 2009 32/64, Maya 2010 64, Maya 2011 64, Maya 2012 64, Maya 2013 64, Maya 2014 64, Maya 2015, Maya 2016, 2016Ext2, 2017, 2018
Arnold Shader and Deformer also compiled for lx64 Maya 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
Vray Shader compiled for Windows: Vray 3.10.01
(Sourcecode is included. Not all compiles are made by me and I couldn’t test them all)

It consists of a mental ray shader, arnold shader, vray shader and a maya deformer. For example you can setup your waves in the viewport with the deformer on a small plane and render them as displacement with the shader on a large plane. Or do some collisions with the deformer etc.

The simulation magic comes from Drew Whitehouse, I just ported his stuff to Maya.

Cheers, Nico

Some tests and stuff:

PS: It would be really terrific if someone here could do a mac compile.

[08 Oct 2017] Added Win64 Maya 2018 compiles for deformer.
 Deformer works with parallel evalution mode now. Vertex colors too.
 Updated 2107 deformer too.
  Ported Arnold shader to Arnold 5. Added compile for Win64. Should work with mtoa 2.x

[06 Dec 2016] Added Maya 2017 compile for Windows

[11 May 2016] Added Maya2016Ext2 Windows compiles for deformer and MR shader.

[27 Feb 2016] Added Vray Shader and examples.
Added 2016 Osx compile thanks to Oliver Markowski

[02 Aug 2015] Added Maya 2016 compiles (At the moment the deformer does not work with the parallel evaluation mode in Maya 2016.
Please set Animation Preferences -> Evaluation Mode to DG for correct results.)

[15 Jul 2014] Added Maya 2015 compiles for Win (deformer and shader) and Linux (deformer only)

[20 Mar 2014] Made the deformer weightable. You can now paint weights to weight the deformation. Dropped 2012 support.

[14 Jan 2014] Memory leak fix in arnold shader. Compiled for mtoa 1.0.0

[23 Okt 2013] Added Arnold shader. Win and Linux compiles. Deformer Linux compiles.

[28 Apr 2013] Added 2014 64bit compiles

[06 Jan 2013] Imre Tuske and Szabolcs Horvatth added support for vertex colors and cleaned the code.
Dropped support for everything before Maya 2012
fftw is now static linked, so the .dll is not needed anymore

[08 May 2012] Added 2013 64bit compile
Added object and tangentspace deformations to Maya 2012 and 2013 version (tangent
only for the deformer, not the shader)

[17 Apr 2011] Added 2012 64bit compile

[18 Dez 2010] Added 2010 32bit and 2011 32bit compile

[18 Aug 2010] Versions 2009+ are now multithreaded, esp. the deformer is much faster now.
Thanks to Christian Schnellhammer

[11 Mai 2010] Added 2011 64bit compile

[28 Nov 2009] Added 2010 64bit compile, thanks to Moonangel

[13 Nov 2009] Added shortnames to mi files

[11 Nov 2009] fixed a bug in the deformer, it now matches the shader on all frames
reworked the shader, added an displacement input
added compiles for Maya 2008

[22 Oct 2009] Initial Release


good post man,

by the way how to compile the software, could u explain me a bit that would be appreciated.

thanks in advance
charan mamidi.


Thank you!


Nice work.

One thing that always gets me about CG oceans is they always look slightly plastic/acrylic/oily. This example you’ve given is nice but still has that slight plastic sheen on the surface.

It’s almost like ray tracing isn’t penetrating the surface of the waves enough times/not enough rays etc. If you look at the ocean surface in Finding Nemo Pixar seem to have got it just right (as always :rolleyes: :wink: )


I always thought the water surface in finding nemo looked terrible except the night shot. They really got everything down pat when it came to underwater, but the short scene where Marlin was on the surface when Nemo was just captured by the divers it was almost like they just gave up on that entire scene. The water surface looked like moving clay and even the particle spray just looked terrible. And when they zoomed out the sky looked like a sky dome with color ramp I really thought it looked like their previs version of that shot. I still think the best ocean surface is in Surfs Up. Their water looked perfect!


Hi, everyone i am new to dynamics

can u guys help me to get out of the installation problem , i have just created one folder in c:\program files\autodesk\maya2009\bin . folder name is “mrshader” , i’ve pasted the both “dll,.mi” in that .

Next thing i did is ,i just opened the maya .env file in wordpad which is in “documents\version\users” , i gave a path like,

“MI_CUSTOM_SHADER_PATH = C:\Program Files(x86)\Autodesk\Maya2009\bin\mrshader; $MI_CUSTOM_SHADER_$MAYA_LOCATION/mentalray/lib;$PATH”

is this correct process or not? i don’t know this particular method of installation , i am
confused guys please help me in detail .

thanks in advance
charan mamidi.


Hi Nico,

I’m having fun making ocean waves with this plugin. Thanks for including the example files as well. Do you think you’ll be able to compile a Maya 2011 version when that becomes available?



Wish I knew how to compile. Can anyone create a Mac version of this sweet tool? :shrug:


Hi guys, glad you like it.

I absolutely know what you mean. I think it’s because of the hard edged reflections, creating those near black areas in the foreground. Anyway, that pic was just a quick render with a mia shader I slapped onto the mesh. My shader is all about the displacement and deformation and not the surface shading.

If they didn’t change too much it shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll look into it when I get 2011.


awesome tools! :applause:


Looks great thanks!


Well Nico ! Thanks A LOT for this ! i was waiting for a Tessendorf solution in Maya for a long time …

i’ll test this as soon as i can !


Just been using this and it’s great!

One thing though on really long ocean shots I get a lot of repeat pattern starting to show… Are there any suggestions to reduce this…

Also do you know if there is a way to reduce the amount of displacement based on distance from the camera so the ocean becomes essentially flat in the distance to reduce noise and repeating effects?


For big oceans try using a high size attribute. The algorithm creates a wave pattern as big as the Size attribute and then repeats this. So if size is only 10 meter in your scene scale you will see the tiles.
Don’t forget to also increase the resolution to get enough detail into the bigger ocean.

Another way would be to layer multiple oceans. See the layered displacement for how to plug them together.

Since you can’t really map the ocean attributes you’d need to use a little trick to scale the displacement in the distance. Try multiplying the outgoing displacement vector with a projected ramp or similar and plug the result into the displacement vector input of a second ocean. Plug this into the displacement slot of your shading group and set resolution to 4 and wave height to 0. Now this second ocean will act as your vector displace node without creating waves of its own.


Hey thanks for the tip’s!

Increase the size did the trick! looks great now!

Man I LOVE this shader so simple but the quality is so nice can’t say enough thanks!


yea, +1 for mac compile please!



I can´t get the shader to work either. I´ve typed in more or less the same as “mckchrn1234” did. Can anyone that got it to work write exactly what you have in your maya.env file? And the steps for installing it maybe… Or maybe it´s something else, but any sort of help would be good. I think this plugin will be perfect for a project im working on.



A little update, I added a 2011 64bit compile for Windows.

Luke046: What error do you get? have you problems with the deformer or the shader? Did you try installing the C++ 2008 Redistributable Package? If you followed the installation instructions it should work.



You Rock!

The 64bit compile for 2011 is working well.

Thanks again!


I would like to thank you for this amazing plugin. It’s realy helfull in production.