Let me show you in 12 easy steps how you can create realistic looking water for your 3DS Max scene.

In this sample I will create an ocean-like scene, but you can use the same steps to create any water scenery.


1. Create a new Rectangle Shape

2. Add the "Garment Maker" modifier to the rectangle

3. Switch on "Edged Faces" in the current view, so that you can see what the mesh is doing

4. You can adjust the "Garment Maker" "Density" parameter to end up with a smaller general mesh size

5. Add the "TurboSmooth" parameter to the shape (again, adjust the parameters to resize the mesh)

6. Add the "Wave" modifier to the shape

7. Adjust the "Amplitude 1", "Amplitude 2", and "Wave Length" parameters until you have a realistic (still) scene

8. Add a material to the shape, I used "Autodesk Water" and changed the default properties to match an "Ocean Type" material

9. Set the first Key in the scene ("Auto Key" switched on)

10. Jump to the last key,  set the "Phase" parameter of the "Wave" modifier to "1.0" (or whatever value you like. Smaller values = slower motion)

11. Open the "Curve Editor" dialog and select the entire "Phase" curve and click on the "Set Tangents to Linear" to make it a linear path

12. Close the "Curve Editor" dialog and play the scene!