I'm really having a hard time trying to find SOMETHING on how to create a fairly decent water caustics effect for an animation. The only thing I've found is a program that generates textures for me (Caustic Generator), however with the free version of this tool the textures max out at 512px. I'm trying to get something like this:

Water Caustics

I own Adobe Creative Suite.

  • Would it be possible to just use a real water caustics image or video for this?
    – Alexei
    Nov 25, 2011 at 18:42
  • why is 512px a problem? What is your requirement?
    – horatio
    Nov 29, 2011 at 16:58

2 Answers 2


Try using the techniques showed here but instead of drawing the first shape, use Texture -> Mosaic Tiles (Use a large tile size and select stained glass) to get your starting shape.

If you actually want to create animated water caustics you are better off using Flash or some animation program and using a constantly changing Perlin Noise filter as a displacement map


As zachzurn said, you'll get the initial shape by using stained glass filter and then you can use Fractalius plugin to get the effect that you see in your example. If you don't want to pay for the plugin, you can probably get the similar effect by using glowing edges filter in Photoshop (or perhaps find edges and then glowing edges).

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