Tutorial: How to apply displacement maps by using graphs.

The Graphs are very powerful tool in RealFlow 2014. They can help us to control each element inside RealFlow and this time let’s see how to apply a displacement map over the mesh we have created.


Applying displacement maps by using graphs 1

Applying displacement maps by using graphs 2

Applying displacement maps by using graphs 3

Enjoy RealFlow 2014!




    1. Hey,

      Unfortunately there is not sound. I would like to add sound but I do the tutorials when I’m doing some simulation and the system is slow to add sound. 😉


  1. Hello LuisM,

    I am trying to learn realflow and I was trying to build a simple scene of a pond with a fountain which spills water onto this very pond. I am using Hybrido and so far I have been able to make it work. I wanted to add some detail by generating displacement maps to achieve some ambient ripples by using RealWave (using static points and control points oscillations) on top of my grid fluid. I exported out the displacement map sequence and projected it manually on my bin mesh inside Maya and it looked great (I had to offset the displacement values because it seems like the point of no displacement inside Realwave when you use “Displacement mode.YYY.range:1” is 0.5 instead of 0 and I also had to mask the water column falling from the fountain so the displacement top projected would apply only on the surface of the pond and not to the water falling nor inside the fountain with overlapped UVs ).

    Of course my foam particles didn’t match anymore the height of the new displaced ripples, so I tried to use the graph editor to achieve two targets: baking the displacement into my HY_Mesh (so there’d be no need to project it inside Maya nor offset the displacement seq anymore) and snaping the foam particles to it. When I endeavoured to do it I came across a problem I cannot solve which is: the UVs of the displacement map sequence generated inside Realwave doesn’t match the position of my pond and therefore the ripples are offset from the right position. I tried to figure out why this is happening and I guess it could be due to the fact that the Realwave was translated and rescaled to fit the position/size of the scene geometry and the grid fluid. Since I could not find any UV toolset or projection tools I don’t see how I can make it work out.

    I would very much appreciate if you could give me some hints on this matter.

    De paso también aprovechar para agradecerte tu magnífica labor al frente de este blog.


    1. Hey Rafa,

      I advice you to do this scene in a different way, because now, in the last version of RealFlow, there are a couple of tools to snap the foam to the mesh or hybrido. Once you have the RealWave you want, you should export the displacement map for the realwave. Next, use the displacement maps from the Realwave in the hybrido mesh to create the displacement. There are videos to know how to apply a displacement map in a hybrido mesh in this blog.


      Once the displacement is applied, simulate the foam for your hybrido fluid, and snap it to the Hybrido mesh. I think it is a best option right now because the snap tool will help you in this issue.

      Gracias por tus palabras 😉


      1. Hello LuisM,

        thanks for your response. I know the tutorials you referenced by heart, but they do not explain how to change the position of the displacement map position onto the mesh, they only explain how to change the scale of the UVs. Unlike the examples given in the tutorials my displacement cannot be applied regardless the world position, this is: in my waterfall pond scene I have generated maps for boundry ripples and ripples around the water column in the middle of the pond aswell, all by using realwave on a different scene, so back in my grid simulation scene I need to place the displacement map matching those elements exact coordinates. Right now when I apply the displacement maps through the graph editor the displacement is offset, meaning the maps are applied on the wrong coordinates and therefore they are useless. The only solution is to apply them in maya but then I can’t snap the splash and foam particles to the new height. So my priblem is I either use displacement without splashes and foam, or either splashes without ambient ripples.

        Please help me out with this issue. I have been fighting it for months and I still do not know what I am doing wrong.

        Muchas gracias. Saludos!

      2. Hey Rafa,

        do you have the scene and displacement maps to check out?. Maybe it is because your mesh is loosing the UV for some reason.


  2. Hi,

    I’ve generated a displacement map using the OSS in Hybrido. I have then used this to displace my mesh. The mesh has then been imported into Maya, all ok. I’ve then tried to use the same displacement file to deform a plane in Maya (of the same size as the domain) and get a quite different result. What I want to achieve is to have a mesh’s displacement match a displaced plane in Maya, so that I can create a larger body of ocean to render, whilst keeping the mesh for my detailed interaction with another body.

  3. Hello Sir,

    Everytime I import bin mesh into maya and add displacement map it does not renders. I have noticed that my mesh looses UV maping. Is there any way to fix it. Please Help.

    I am using arnold renderer. Should I export mesh in (.ass) format??

    1. Hi Ashish,

      What kind of mesh are you trying to import?. Hybrido mesh, legacy mesh, particle mesh?. Try to apply a texture in RealFlow and it should be applied without problems. If not, make sure you have the correct setting for Texture>UV particle for your mesh.


      1. Sir,
        Thank you so much for replying :). Sir, I am using Hybrido mesh and I had activated the UV particles in mesh properties and in Hybrido domain it was Top projection. But still whenever I import the mesh into maya it comes with no UV mapping and I have to apply a projection mapping again which is not very accurate.

        One more thing sir, I had simulated “.ass” particles and it did not show in realflow’s viewport but the files were properly being saved on my hard drive, is realflow limited for not showing particles simulated in arnold scene source format? I cannot build “.ass” formatted hybrido mesh directly from “.ass” particles. why is it so?

        Sorry for my poor english. Hoping you will help me again.

        Thank you again. 🙂

  4. do you know how to add “rest” into realflow sim? don’t want to use UV to solve this, let me know if you know how to do in realflow

  5. Hi,

    I’ve just recreated your scene and graph from your third video here so I can gain a good displacement. I’m fairly new to Reflow and can’t figure out how to apply the graph function to the mesh to be built.
    If I click “Execute Graph” it just builds the mesh visually for the single frame I am on. How do I do this for the complete sequence?
    Currently hitting Build Mesh just builds the mesh without the displacement created in the graph.
    Many thanks.

    1. Hi,

      It depends on what you want to do. Do you want to apply the effect on a mesh which is in the viewpor?. If so, take a look at the left column in the Simulation Fluid, the checkbox for that graph must be checked. Once it is checked, set the fluid to cache and simulate the scene to calculate the mesh and apply the graph to it.

      If you want to create a mesh from graph and then save that mesh to disk, you will need to place a “mesh save” node, indicating the folder where you want to save the mesh and the extension. Also, it is important to place a node “GetCurrentFrameTime” for the frame input in the “Mesh Save” node. If not, all files will be saved overwriting the same file.


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