Modeling TugBoat Fenders

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  07 July 2013
Modeling TugBoat Fenders

First post (always a nerve racking!)

So, Im currently working on a project that requires pretty accurate CGI reproductions of props from an old British kids TV show, 'TUGS'.
Basically thing 'Thomas the Tank Engine' but with Tug Boats.
So far its not going too badly, the project is going at a healthy speed and we even have access to the original props, for measurements/ reference images that type of thing.

The thing Im getting stuck with however, is modeling the fenders.
Fenders on Tugboats are like bumpers, these days they are made using tieres, but the series is set in the 1920s and Tugs in those days used big clumps of rope.

Here is a picture of the fenders on one of the props

So after searching the net for tutorials on how to model rope and knots and not finding anything satisfactory, I thought I might ask,
does anyone have a good idea on how they would go about modeling something like this in Maya?

Any hints and tips Welcome!
Cheers Jon
  07 July 2013
Looks like a modeling challenge... I'd start by searching for some better reference. Once you can decipher what the rope is actually doing you can begin planning your model.

From Google images it looks like there are many different styles/techniques to weaving these fenders. This affords you the choice of modeling the least complicated. (unless the art director wants a specific type).

You should definitely check online script resources, there may be a script that creates weaved patterns, which could serve as a starting point.

If you end up having to do this by hand, I'd try a modular approach to creating the fender. For instance, a vertical section that composes the body of the fender, and an end piece that tethers to the boat. This way you can create multiple fenders of varying length.

You could use curves to create these sections, then extrude a circle curve to create geometry. The rope itself could be modeled using the original curve as a center point for two other helix curves, of which two smaller extrusions could create the rope. I'd be surprised if nobody has written a script to create helix curves from a base curve.

This looks to be a very time consuming task no matter how you approach it. If able, please post your progress.

Here's a tutorial for creating the rope based on a curve

Last edited by jgibz : 07 July 2013 at 04:57 PM.
  07 July 2013
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