Creating realistic water drops in Blender

Blender expert Mattias Lind talks us through the creation of realistic raindrops.

Play with the Size, Random and Clump settings to get natural-looking droplets

First we need to create the water droplets. So, start by creating a sphere and scale it on the Y axis so that it is about 50 per cent as tall as it is wide. Now, add a glass shader in Cycles, change the IOR to 1.325, and move the object to another layer.

Next it's time to add the particles, so select your helmet model (mine's a recent Stormtrooper fan art) and add a new particle system. Click on Emitter and change it to Hair.

Change from Path to Object under the Render tab, and select the name of the drop-object you created earlier. Under the Children tab, select Interpolated and change Display to 5 and Render to about 10. If the drops look too large, go to the layer of your drop model and scale it down.

Realistic result

To gain a more realistic result, we need to have the drops look spread out in an uneven manner, so in order to make the drops look more realistic, we need to randomise their position and scale. Experiment with the Random, Size and Clump settings under Children so that they look naturally scattered.

The next bit of process is to set up the lighting. Use an HDR image for realistic lighting and reflections, or rig the light in the scene using planes with emission shaders. In my scene, I used both in order to have more control over the highlights in the reflections.

Words: Mattias Lind

This article originally appeared in 3D World issue 187.