We saw the look in concerts, on Instagram, Tumblr, maybe even pinned it on Pinterest. Now let’s create the glowing Vaporwave look in Notch! This is a beginner-friendly tutorial where we use Raytracing and RT Mirror reflection to create a reflective water effect. Enough talking, let’s start creating!
Creating Frame Tunnel
Start with connecting a Cloner node to the Root node
Let’s start by connecting a Shape 3D node after the Cloner node.
Then we’ll change the Shape Type to Torus. We’ll change the Mode to Radius. We’ll change the Inner Radius to 0.05, set the Subdivision X to 4, set the Subdivision Y to 10, and the Axis to Z:
Now let’s change some of the parameters on the Cloner node. We’ll update the Position Z to 2, set the Mode to Iterative Cloning, and the Node Spawn Mode to all:
Let’s have the frames glow with an Emissive Material. You can change the colour to anything you like, but I will set it as pink.
Move the viewport so you can see the tunnel from the center. To move around the viewport, you can press Alt + right-click and drag.
Reflective Ocean Floor
For our next step, let’s connect another Shape 3D to the Root node. Then we’ll update it’s properties. Let’s change the Shape Type to Plane and increase the size and subdivision of the plane. We’ll set the Size X to 20, the Position Y to -0.2, the Subdivision X to 200 and the Subdivision Y to 200. This will give us enough geometry density for our deformer coming up!
Connect an RT Mirror Reflection to the Root node. You will notice the node being crossed out. We can fix that by enabling Raytracing on the Root node. You will start seeing reflections of the frames on the plane.
To create the “water” effect, add a Turbulence Deformer and connect it to the Shape 3D Plane that we created in the last step. It should look something like this:
Let’s slow down the Animation Rate of the Turbulence from 1 to 0.08:
Let there be Light!
Now let’s add some killer lighting and glow to our scene! We’ll start by adding an Area light to the network. We will move the light so it is on the top-right corner and pointing towards the water. You can eyeball it or you can set it to the same settings I did which are to set the Position X to 1.3, the Position Y to 1.5, the Rotation Bank to 50, and the Brightness to 0.2. We’ll also change the colour while we’re here. I chose deep blue, but you can choose whichever colour your prefer!
Now let’s make everything glow! Add a Glow Post-Fx to the bottom of the nodegraph. Change the Active and Blending Amount to 0.3:
Make sure to turn off the floor grids.
Moving and Grooving
If you’re happy with the result, you can absolutely stop here, but I wanted to add a little bit of motion and animation to the glowing frames. You can do that by controlling the Cloner’s Rotation Bank property with a new Continuous Modifier node. We can also change the Continuous Modifier’s Speed to 3 to have it rotate faster.
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Look through the Lens
Finally, add a Camera node to the Root node. Right-click the camera, go to Camera Options and select Set To Current View:
Ta-Da! You’re done! You got a groovy vaporwave water tunnel!
Hot Tip + Wrap up
You can make this look even more polished by adding additional Post F-X. Some great FX to experiment with are Depth of Field, VHS Scanlines, and Film Grading. You can go crazy and keep building on this simple and effective setup! Maybe add another spotlight in there or add dynamic controls for things like the glow levels. Whatever you decide to do with it, it’s great to be able to build great looking content quickly and easily in Notch. Have fun!