18th Century Man-of-War

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  12 December 2012
The problem with making it a model ship is that a display model looks quite different to a faithful model of the real thing. A real life model ship has missing detail, coarser details and larger radiuses in the timbers, thicker fabrics, thicker ropes, etc. Your 3D model is looking much more of a model of a real ship not a "model"

I can't wait to see the completed 3D model in a raging ocean!

Nice work.
  12 December 2012
@Pixanaut: Thanks! The model was actually started a while back in XSI around 2008. I imported it into Maya earlier this year, and started detailing it up and adding the rigging.

@Goran: Thank you sir!

@Adam: Thanks!

@Yuri: Thanks man! I appreciate it!

@gogole: Cool! Thanks for sharing that link. Ill definitely add a few of those paintings to my reference collection.

@Herbert: Thanks! I've trolled MSW quite a bit, and have gathered a good amount of reference material there. I do have a thread in the 3D/CAD forum, but Its really inactive. I haven't posted on it in years, but I might go ahead and update the thread with these new renders.

@Dubbie: That's a good point you make, and something I learned only after I started the model. I was using mostly models as reference when I started, and the model wasen't looking too sharp. Earlier this year, I started using HMS Victory as my main reference, and the new details have come out looking much sharper.

Here is another small update showing the two stunsails that flank the foresail. I also got the lower gunports rigged, so they're now open. The main yard is also tilted at a 10 degree angle, and all the ropes that handle those three sails are all skin weighted up. Sorry about all the hovering ropes and missing blocks, I'm still trying to get things worked out and make sure everything goes where it needs to.

I've also got some collisions issues with the sails and a few ropes. Since I'm just going for a sill image, I might try to freeze the model at certain frame and use soft select to model the rope collisions into the sail canvas.

Thanks again to everyone for all your feedback,

click to view fullsize


Last edited by AJ1 : 12 December 2012 at 08:29 PM.
  12 December 2012
This is some amazing work! I bet it's all those ropes . So many ropes...
Thanks for sharing how you did the sails though. And yes, please put this ship in a majestic sea battle or something or risk getting keelhauled
I was just wondering how you did all those planks on the hull? Is that modeled as well or did you use a bumpmap or something? And are you using Zbrush for the figures?
Very cool!
  12 December 2012
Thanks Pauwel! I don't even think I could put an exact number on the ropes so far, but there's at least 150 between the foremast and bowsprit. I made several rigs for different types, so its all must a matter of copying the rig and fitting the new rope into place. I haven't added any slack to any of the ropes yet, but I will soon. All of the blocks, cannons, hull fittings, timber heads, and other small parts are all instantiated, and of course the other half of the hull is a mirrored instance. So when you break it down, there really isn't much to it.

The planks are just a bump map. I haven't done any Zbrushing on the figurehead yet, but I probably will at some point.

Here is another small update detailing the boats. These would be stacked in the middle of the ship, and put in the water via cranes that attach to the mast. I haven't have a very disciplined work flow on this so far, but Ill try to get focused and get the figurehead and bow carvings done before I go any further with the rigging and other accessories.

Thanks again for having a look!

click to view fullsize

Nothing new in this one, just a straight on shot. Click to view fullsize.

Last edited by AJ1 : 12 December 2012 at 09:49 AM.
  12 December 2012
Wow! that is some incredible work, very very detailed. I am ready to seek that bloody white fish to the ends of the world after seeing this
  12 December 2012
Wow what an outstanding model! I love the attention to detail and the job on the rigging with the ropes is just awesome!
How are you planning to texture the whole ship?
Will the ropes be ready for rigging as well so they can move in idle wind or under tension?

I bought the blueprints of 4 ships a year ago but never had the time to model them so far... (Golden Hind, USS Constitution, Mayflower and HMS Victory)

Looking forward to see the progress!

  12 December 2012
Are you going to rig it as well? (Sorry; someone had to.)

Looks great!
  12 December 2012
Looks incredible! Nice work! Out of curiosity what was your workflow for creating all the ropes?

And I agree this piece definitely deserves a live action shot! I look forward to seeing more updates!

  12 December 2012
@Andre: Thank you sir! Your work has been a huge inspiration to me, and I really appreciate the feedback. As far as the texture, I'm thinking a multilayer material on the hull with a base bump map, paint, salt corrosion, and then rust run-off on certain parts. I want it to look like its been out at sea for a few years. For the ropes, I'm thinking just a simple diffuse map and bump. The sails will have a diffuse, transparency, and bump. In the mean time I've got a whole lot of UV work to do. I've already got the hull and rope UVs worked out, which were the most difficult, but I've got around a hundred smaller parts that need unwrapping.

If your looking for a real challenge, check out some pictures of Santisima Trinidad or Commerce de Marseille. I really wanted to model one of them, but I couldn't dig up enough reference material. They're both larger and more intricate than the Victory.

@EBOLI: Ha ha, thanks man. I think this ship might be a little slow for whaling though.

@Simon: Thanks man!

@Ryan: Thanks!

As far as the rigging goes, here is what I've been doing:

I make a CV curve on linear, and use 4 CV points when the rope goes through a block, and around 7-9 when it wraps around something. I then place locators at every bend, and use aim constraints to make them look at each other. I use clusters on the curve to weight the points to the nearest locator. Next, I place the instantiated blocks at the bends, and parent them to the respective locator. Then Ill move the locators into place in the scene, and parent them to the yards or the hull.

For the ropes themselves, I extrude a circle with 4 Cvs as polygons, Then I turn on smoothing with 1 iteration, and use crease to harden the bends. Having only 4 edges on each rope makes the Uving easier.

So far I've been making each rope with no middle points so they're all straight. I figured out that I can just add a new knot in the middle of the curve, and use a cluster to weight the new knot to a new locator when I want to add slack. I then use a parent constraint in the X and Z axis on the new locator, so it stays in between the two end points, but I can still move it up and down.

Here is a screen grab of my base rig. If anyone has any thoughts on how I might be able to do this better, I would greatly appreciate it!

I've made some good progress on the bow carvings and figurehead, and Ill post an update here in the next few days.

Thanks again for having a look,


  12 December 2012
Your rigging is a bit stiff however, even ropes under tension tend to sag due tot he weight of the ropes, and the wear of the rope itself

you might want to add another point mid length to add some slight curvature

its not period correct but this image shows what im pointing at

in general when you have point to point cables you get some sag,
when you have a cable that splits (a pulley between two angles ropes, feeding off one single rope) you can sometimes get one single tensioned wire, with 2 sagged wires, or sometimes even 3.

this is some tedious and fiddly stuff, you mainly have to estimate the strain and weights on each individual cable to get it feeling just right.

Aircraft carrier : Graf zeppelin
"pain is temporary, glory is forever"

Last edited by Archetype : 12 December 2012 at 04:52 PM.
  12 December 2012
Fabulous attention to detail! Almost as good as the real thing I love those old ships She deserves to be shown at sea, I have to concur with others. Splendid work.

  01 January 2013
@Jeroen: Thanks for the feedback man! I've been thinking about it, and I think your totally right. My original plan was to just add slack to a few ropes, but I think your correct, I need to do it to all of them, even if just a little bit. I rebuilt my rope rig with mid sections, and applied it to a few of the ropes on the bowsprit. It seems to take me about 2 min per rope to add the mid sections. I've already got well over 100 ropes, so I've got several hours of work to do.

@Magdalena: Thank you very much! Would you be willing to share a few thoughts on my figurehead attempt?

Here is another small update showing my progress on the figurehead and bow carvings. Things are still very raw, and I'm trying to figure out what goes where before I start adding to much detail. I'm still not sure what the lowest figure might be. I think Its a mermaid, or maybe some kind of fish boy thing.

click to view fullsize

Zeus/eagle/clouds ref - click to view fullsize

Here is also the new rig for the ropes, as shown on the spritsail lift. I can add slack by moving a locator up and down, and the blocks will all adjust accordingly. The whole rig is parented to the end points, so as I move the yards around, everything stays lined up. I know I need to name things better in my scene.

click to view fullsize

Ill probably hammer away on the figurehead for a few more days, and then go back and retool the rope rigs, starting at the front and working my way back.

Thanks again for having a look!
  01 January 2013
Much respect. That is fantastic work
  01 January 2013

Might help some folks in their shipbuilding endeavors.
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