I can do all sorts of these things in Freeform Pro, but I've never used Psunami beyond trying the demo and thinking it sucks... All sorts of foam patterns can easily be created using Cell Pattern combined with Turbulent Displace and Roughen Edges, driving its appearance would depend on re-using the displacment map as a matte. At least in FFPro that's how one would do those things...
thanks for reply. so far the wave examples I've seen on the internet for Freefrom Pro haven't looked very realistic, but your technique sounds promising. I'll look into it
Psunami will do everything except breaking waves. You can introduce any kind of secondary displacement (ripples) you want with a gray scale map. It takes a bit of fiddling but Psunami can do just about everything except whitecaps and breaking waves because it is a distortion mesh system not a particle system.
Someone expert in Psunami, displacement mapping and Trapcode Particular may be able to simulate whitecaps fairly well but it would take a lot of work.
To simulate real breaking waves and a big storm you'll need something like RealFlow (expensive) and the horsepower to run it. They used RealFlow in movies like The Impossible.
Thanks for tip regarding greyscale map for secondary displacement.
Yes RealFlow would be great. I've dabbled with it in the past and found it very unstable, but maybe I was creating too many polygons for my machine to handle.
I would love to use it if we had more time and budget
Houdini can do really good fluid simulation including crashing waves I think.
There is a plugin for 3ds max that's been ported over from Houdini called Ocean Toolkit for Max.
It can do waves and foam but not crashing surf type waves.