How to Create Realistic Puddles

Written by Laurent Marechal - 22 october 2015

Classified in : Blender, Links - Tags : none

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Start with whatever material you’d like to make wet. In this case, we’ll use a simple concrete material:



For the layer of water, add a Glossy shader with the Roughness on 0, and mix it with the concrete material:


Since all materials are more reflective at the edges, add a Fresnel node and connect it to the Mix Shader’s factor input:


Now we need to account for a physical phenomenon known as Refractive Mismatch. Basically, when water is absorbed into a material, that material gets a bit darker.

To do this, just add a Mix node before the Diffuse shader of the concrete material, set the blend mode to Multiply and the bottom color to black. This allows us to control the darkness of the material using the factor slider:


Now we have a pretty decent perfectly wet material, but you don’t really get such a thing in real life very often. Instead, water usually collects in puddles!

So to make the puddles, we need to make some parts of the material wet, some parts dry, and some parts partially dry. To do this, we’ll start with a standard Noise Texture:


Then add a Color Ramp and adjust the sliders like this to make the difference between wet and dry much more noticeable:


Finally, plug the Color Ramp into the bottom input of the Mix node we added earlier (so that the wet parts are dark, and the dry parts are light), as well as into the Glossy Shader’s roughness (since the drier a material, the more blurry the reflections – see the video at around 2:19 for a more detailed explanation).

We also want the color ramp to control the overall influence of the reflections, so add a Mix node right after the Fresnel node, set the bottom color to black and plug our Ramp into the Factor input. This will have it use the Fresnel reflections for the wet parts, but have no reflection at all for the dry parts.


And that’s it! Here’s finished material:


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