Ship Cabin



I’m making a pirate ship cabin because I need to make a generalist reel… :slight_smile:

Critique welcome and encouraged… need some help with composition I think. Kind of lacks a point of focus right now, and not too sure what I want to do around that, even a character sitting on the right-hand stool could work.

Also thoughts on the god ray, might be killing the image but I also want to make it work, it was part of the original plan.

Not entirely sure what else to add to the scene - working on textures and shaders at the moment.

Using maya. So far I’m actually very unhappy with it, and hoping some critique could help me out.


The textures on the foreground objects are a bit lacking, needs some displacement I think. And try putting a glow effect onto the god ray. ATM the edges are looking a bit sharp.

Good start though :slight_smile:



Cheers for that… another kiwi! :slight_smile:

I was staring at it wondering what the next thing to do was and what I hated the most and it was the textures, so I’ve started on that already - hopefully tomorrow I’ll have a much better update.

Still a little concerned about the adequacy of the composition, though.

I’ll work on some displacements too and see how much they help- a massive concern of mine is the render times… :frowning: I’m on a laptop with no other resources.


Personaly I would redo the barrels for more realistic one.

Also your wood texture on the wall remember me too much of the wood floor in general interior.


To be perfectly honest, I think you are right about the composition. If you hadn’t said in the title that the scene was a pirate ship cabin, it wouldn’t have been instantly obvious. Also, this scene doesn’t say anything to me. There is no real story to your image. I think you should construct some sort of narrative around this scene and think about what you are trying to show (other than just your generalist skills). Imagine this is a photograph. A technically well exposed photograph isn’t enough to make a compelling photograph, you need to say something or tell a story.
Yes you textures and lighting could be improved, but I think they should come after you have made a more compelling scene…

Hope it helps, keep it up! :slight_smile:



I really like the mood you have going here, and the modeling is quite nice. Perhaps the issue with the composition is that it lacks depth. Everything in the scene is pretty much the same distance from the camera. It might help to push some objects into the foreground. Like you said, there is no real focal point. There is nothing really leading the eye into the composition. Most of the elments have a vertical line to them, which just makes the eye travel upward and not stay in the composition. Maybe just try moving your objects and camera around and try to brainstorm entirely new angles and arrangements.


Thanks guys! I’ll revisit the composition and other stuff that’s been mentioned too.



I worked on the camera a bit, pulled some objects forward and changed the focal length. The part that’s getting me is how to add a story.

What I initially wanted is a ghostly figure sitting on the right stool stabbing a dagger into the globe which would instantly say it’s a ghost ship and they have a purpose. The problem for me is how do I make this ghost? Comp it in nuke, but then do I use fluids, do I just roto out the godray in the shape of a ghost, do I model a character and have it emit fluids, well none of these have provided adequate results because I have no real experience with any technique that would produce the result I want. Any ideas?

Please disregard the change in barrel texture color, it’s not a fix for them was just playing with the colors a bit before I even had responses. I also didn’t get to a result I wanted.

This is a quick render at 50% out of maya to show the new camera.


So I had a much better idea.

Instead of a ghost, going with the whole pirate ship thing, how about a figure made out of water, or even ice, maybe glass?

I’m going with ‘water’ for now, but this is only a start, will have to see what I can do to get a good water result…

I could have a water trail leading in from the window…


Hey Jared,

Not bad so far, but the texturing on the walls and floor could use some improvement. On boats like this, the planking in the floor and walls would be much thicker and more uniform. The floor planking would also run front to back, not side to side. Also, the windows on the back are called lights, and they wouldn’t open out, or else they could snap off in a stiff wind. They would normally slide upwards like a window on your house.

Try googling these ship names along with the word cabin for reference.

HMS Endeavour
HMS Surprise
HMS Victory
USS Constitution
USS Constellation
HMS Trincomalee

Hope this helps,


Hi AJ,

Thanks for that, huge help. I had a lot of trouble finding relevant ship cabin images, but I got a good reference for both the windows opening and the floor.



I’ll have to do some remodeling/texturing.

Also going to darken the wood texture for floor/walls.

It’s a shame that all these ships are so nicely done up and you can’t even see the wood in most.


Hey Jared,

Glad I could help. I would ignore those two images of the HMS Gannet. Its from the late 1800s, and had a frame made out of iron. The ships from the Pirates of the Caribbean and what not are from the late 1600s or early 1700s, and are all wood.

The HMS Endeavour could be your best reference.

Also, check out some images from the cabin on the Vasa. It sank about 300 years ago, but was recovered.

Hope this helps,


That Vasa is a gorgeous ship!

I’ve been working a way here and there and it’s slowly coming along. Overnight I will put out a full frame render and go back into nuke to see how it really looks.

What I’m not looking forward to is trying to render the whole 200 frames… it takes either 1 or 3 hours per frame, or somewhere in between can’t really remember. My scene is optimized rather well, in fact it needs slightly higher quality settings, it’s just that I’m rendering on a laptop and have no desktop or access to one.

I’d really like some feedback on the watery character. Definitely worth keeping because he adds some thought to it I think?

Hm the lightings taken a dive, gonna have to modify my shaders a bit especially on the floorboards, gonna have to up the reflectivity because changing the reflective color to get a deeper mahogany killed the value


Here’s full-res with the comp. Why does zblur look so disgusting? I have to ramp the DOF into size=100 to even get the filter size to kick in properly, defocus is amazing but doesn’t work with zdepth sigh.


You’ve gone a bit overboard with the DOF, it’s looking a bit minature now. For a scene of this scale you only need a fairly small amount of DOF, IMO most of the visual focus should come through the lighting and composition.

At the moment your key light (through the window) is directed just below the table, which isn’t drawing my eye to the figure (which is in the shadows). The window is by far the brightest thing in the render and it’s what I’m immediately drawn to.

Try turning the figure around and placing him and the table closer to the window so that the light from the window will pass through his back and onto the globe. That way the figure will be interestingly lit, and if you have caustics enabled in the render the globe should have some interesting light patterns on it.

And BTW there doesn’t seem to be any contact shadows between the floor and the barrels?

HTH :slight_smile:


Ah yeah I’m aware of the DOF, I was posting it up asking why it looked so disgusting with zblur, didn’t mean to imply it was the final result or something hah.

Good idea about moving the character, I’ll give it a shot. Not really sure how to comp in the godray with him there; maybe another pass with just a transparent alpha… So it comes through him partially :confused:

Dunno why there’s a lack of shadow, they’re enabled and should be present… I’ll look into that.

Edit: the rimlight (Where the fog comes from) actually had shadows disabled…


I defiantly agree with James about the placement of the character.

It looks a bit better, but its still almost impossible to pick up on the fact that the scene is set in a ships cabin. I would recommend getting rid of the rapiers on the wall, and maybe add a gun port in the hull with a cannon. You could hang a hammock over the cannon.

It might be a good idea to change the round table and bar stools for a proper square dinner table with full back chairs, like you would find in a ships cabin.

Also, try making the beams about twice as thick as they are now.

Sorry to be harsh, hope this helps,


Not harsh at all! That’s some good ideas, I’ll give it a shot.


Need to make a chair, hammock, and do some texturing. Unfortunately the character doesn’t look watery anymore.


Why a cannon in the captain cabin?? lol