Water Shader Tutorial Help

I’ve been following the Water Shader tutorial here from the Wiki,

But i’m not sure if if the result is right. I was under the impression that it would create a water material with colour. I’ve followed it exactly and all the nodes are in the right places. The only issue i’m having is that the entire thing is black.

Hey MaxDiehard,

Have you attempted to apply it to a plane within your scene yet?

If you set it up properly, I would suggest creating a material instance and use the values below to get your desired look and feel. Below is an example of the values I have created for a very blue like pool water.

Material Instance Values

Overall Look

The reason the your water material is black is because the diffuse is not at a high multiplier by default, so it is essentially clear water. Let me know if you are still having trouble getting your water to render correctly.

Thank you,

That helped, thanks.

One more thing though, how would I go about making it more opaque?

Something closer to this.

If you created a material instance then you can change the metallic, refraction, and fresnel parameters. This shader is meant as a translucent water shader, so if you would rather have opaque water then you can download the ‘Water Planes’ samples from the ‘Learn’ tab within the Launcher.


I am also having trouble with this. This is what Im ending up with:

Im a mega new to this and just trying to get some landscapes going so I could be doing something really dumb but no matter what I do, it just looks broken. I used some of the parameters used to get it less translucent which helped but I cant figure out all the holes.

And I dont know if this will help because its so small to read, but here is my version of the blueprint.

Any insight is massively appreciated


Hey Tremor,

Instead of copying the values I have set for my water, try changing the Fresnel, Depth Fade, Refraction, and Depth Bias values. Since you have it set up as a material instance you can easily edit the parameters without having to recompile the entire material after each change. If you set up your material correctly, then you will eventually find the correct look. Sometimes it is easier to reset everything to their defaults and work from there.

Let me know if you manage to get it looking correctly or if you need more help.


Thanks Andrew! After messing with the parameters in the instance like you suggested, I found the fresnel to be really picky and found a happy place that pulled it all together. So it works now and looks pretty good, thanks a bunch!

My pleasure. That is why I am a fan of material instances because you can quickly edit values while it is updated in realtime to see the changes instantly. Really helps with iteration times and fine tuning materials!

Good luck and let us know if you need any more help!

Hello, I too have a problem getting the color nodes to have an affect on the shader. No matter what, I get transparent water deleting these nodes also don’t have any effect, in fact disconnecting the entire output from the base color of the material doesn’t produce any effect. I spent about half an hour checking that the nodes are properly connected and they are.
Controlling it through a material instance also doesn’t make a difference. I’m stuck :frowning:

Attached are screenshots of the result and my base color setup.

Is this shader not compatible with UE 4.13.1?

Could you provide me with a screenshot of you Material editor graph?

More specifically I need to see your material’s details panel and the sections of your material graph that deal with opacity and color.


Hi Andrew,

Attached are some screenshots and the copy of the actual shader. Thanks a bunch for your help!

Hey fttudo01,

I went through the shader and made some edits as Refraction and Opacity were not being derived correctly since we made changes to both of these behaviors within recent releases. I have put together a test project and attached it with the fixed and modified shader.

I will be sure to update the tutorials with the changes I made so users can continue to utilize the shader. If you have questions or need additional assistance after opening and reviewing the provided test project, let me know and I will do what I can to assist you.

Water Shader Test Project


Hi Andrew, thanks a bunch for fixing it, It works properly now!


Hey Andrew, but what should I apply in place where are texture samples in Normals. it compiles error, as I dont have texture in it, its empty, you didnt specify what to put there ?

I need more context as I have no idea what you are referring to. Did you try downloading the test project I provided in my answer, and using that as reference.

I would honestly look at downloading the Water Planes example project from the learn tab. The shaders there are more intuitive and have a lot more controls exposed.

well. the two ripple normal maps are in the project, I couldnt build the shader without them from scratch. They are in the project. I will play with project to see how it works. For now, the ripples go too fast

Any way to change the direction of the waves, they kinda dont go in direction of my river? Changing the angle of the plane doesnt solve it

Yes, you need to modify the X and Y panning directions.