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I have no idea what they call this so I'm not having much success with searching. But lets start with an example at this site:

waveform

Any idea how to make the choppy sea like wave they're using? I had limited success in Maya but I could work on it more, however I was wondering if there was a quicker alternative? After effects maybe. I had a play with trapcode but didn't have the results I was after.

Maybe there isn't a quicker way to do it in which I'll use maya though ^^

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I don't know what to call the style, but a search term that might help for After Effects features for things like this is particle systems. This tutorial might be relevant: videocopilot.net/tutorials/energy_wipe (taken from naldzgraphics.net/tutorials/…) –  user568458 Jan 21 '13 at 16:05
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I was able to find some similar effects by searching for wireframe waves. I also found a tutorial that might help: Creating a Stormy Ocean in Maya. Perhaps you could use that as a guideline and export a wireframe render instead of the polished render –  JohnB Jan 21 '13 at 17:34
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up vote 6 down vote accepted

The fastest way to do this is to create a noise texture for a height/depth map and use it on a Terrain object or as a displacement map for a Plane/Polygon object. Here is a sample map that I made: Depth Map

At this point you can use the app of your choice, Bryce is free and makes terraines out of grayscale images. For this example, and because this is a design question, I used Photoshop CS 6 Extended and the Mesh from Depth Map > Plane and create this object (after deleting Diffuse and keeping the auto-generated Opacity Map): Plane mesh from Depth Map with Diffuse removed

I then edited the opacity map and create a black fill and then dark gray lines, to produce this effect: Opacity Map with black fill and dark gray stripes

You can also turn off the Surface and enable Lines and Points in the 3D panel's Scene object to get this effect: Surface disabled with Lines and Points enabled

This may be an effective way for you to create this effect, assuming you have Photoshop CS 6 Extended. You may be able to do it with other version of Photoshop CS 3-5, but probably not as easily. I hope this helps. Cheers!

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Brilliant. I had toyed with the idea of using a map in my head. I can use maya to create the displacement. I had gotten a great wave effect with a transform of a wave but couldnt render the transform itself or export it. –  Astarin Jan 22 '13 at 12:37
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Also pleased it's about the photoshop part. Haven't really toyed with the new CS6 features. –  Astarin Jan 22 '13 at 12:38
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