Create realistic ocean waves


Client: Digital Domain

Outlet: 3D World

April 25, 2023

In Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the sweeping aerial shots of the Royal Sea Leopard against the Atlantic Ocean set the stage for the dramatic final battle on the water, but most audiences never realised these shots were entirely CGI. Shooting a scene like this on the water would be complicated, expensive and impossible to control.


In the time it takes to set up a camera, the sun could begin to set or disappear behind the clouds, making continuity next to impossible. Directors would rather be able to say just how choppy the waves are or what time of day the scene is.


Enter the 3D FX artist. Because oceans in 3D and in real life vary quite a bit, there is no one-size-fits-all-solution. To make the scale of the ocean believable, you need large rolling waves and tiny surface ripples. You need to vary size, speed and direction. And notably, nothing can appear to be repeating or tilling.


Order issue (June 2023).