by Hammer Chen
If you try to render out water with photo HDRI or V-Ray sky, it's not easy to get a clean looking. It is because the ground is always dark or black from those two sources. I like the looking when I was doing a Maxwell preview inside Realflow.
Here I have realflow imported in 3dsMax. I use a custom gradient map in my background:
These values are copied from Maxwell rendering. I make the Output Amount to 20 to a mimic high dynamic range.
With this environmental map is not enough. You need a high reflection source to give a highlight. So I place a V-Ray light (disc) and put another gradient in it.
This is my water material settings