The Never-Before-Mentioned Liability of Including Waves and Ripples

Think about a glass-bottom boat. I was in one and saw all the intriguing sights under the water. Now think of an aquarium and recall the great underwater scenery. Now think of swimming underwater and looking around. There's something about seeing through water and checking out all the great sights that has great aesthetic appeal. The problem with translucent or opaque water modeling is that it sacrifices a lot in the quest for the accuracy of muddiness or a nicely rippled surface.

Those of us who go to the trouble of creating nice underwater scenery (I'm one of them) and then use EnviroTex, with no attempt at amending the flat surface, even if the scene suggests that waves or ripples would be appropriate, are making a value judgment: enjoying underwater scenery is more important than simulating water's surface action. Method 3 n the chart is an attempt to have one's cake and eat it too, in that it tries to combine the transparent, 3-D feel of real depth—gotten with one or two EnviroTex pours—with the real water surface action simulation of an acrylic gloss medium like Polyterrain. But even though I highly recommend it, it is not without reservations, since any amount of surface texturing distorts the view of underwater scenery.

Note: in N scale, ½" = 6.67', so one can have, in one or two EnviroTex pours (double that for HO), a scale 6.67'-deep pond or river. Note that much water modeling  (e.g., acrylic gloss medium) is based upon creating the illusion of depth, not the reality. But, having used E-Z Water at 7/8" deep and EnviroTex at ½" deep, I can say that having water that is truly six to ten scale feet deep looks even better that a ¼"-deep EnviroTex lake I did where lake bottom color was used to indicate depth. The major factor at work here is obviously the fact that one can see appealing underwater space and features only when there is room for them and actual rather than apparent modeling depths are used to make that space. For the same reason that backdrops will never look as good as actual 3-D layout scenes, 3-D underwater scenes simply look better than nearly 2-D underwater scenes. My conclusion: when necessary and appropriate, use illusion and 2-D; but whenever it's feasible, use the always-superior, true-to-scale, 3-D modeling mode.

And here's an even bigger issue: Notice that when you look at still, flat EnviroTex, E-Z Water or casting resin water, there are no cues that the water isn't real and that you're seeing a model. With textured surfaces, the entire surface is a cue to the fact that the water is a model of the real thing. Visitors to our Deep Rock Railroad usually ask what our lake is made of because it looks so real.
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