I truly believe that most 3d-artists do not really know what to do with the Vray Distance Map. But you can do amazing things with it, if you know how to wire it. We would like to show you one way, how you can use it to create procedural waves.
Some feature I was always missing working in our 3d-plattform was the ability to make a water plane react to its environment. This little workflow for Vray might help to give these 3d landscape visuals a natural little extra touch.
What we do, is to integrate the Vray Distance Texture into a gradient ramp to create some basic waves. The whole thing needs a lot of refinement but it should lay the base for effects, that were previously pretty tough or needed a lot workaround. One thing is, it is incredibly fast, especially if you compare it to an AO-approach, which kind of does something similar.
To do so, you need any version of 3ds Max and at least Vray 2.0.