"Rhino" is my favourite 3D modelling program.
Note: a lot of my renders are done in "Maxwell" while modelling,
then in "Vue Infinite" when finally importing & texturing for art renders.

2012 WORK


Rebuilding this, again! To get it much better than ever before :)
Started October 25th

improving the materials, adding dirt, and varying the textures used for panelling so not too obvious they are the same. again, the UV mapping of main hull shows issues, but that's for later.

small image version

Added "scuppers" where water would pour out if deck gets a wave splashing over it.

Much of the railings now done! REAL pain in arse tricky work, headaches galore.

This shows the mechanism I came up with, for securing the detachable part of the ship's railing.
for letting cargo and passengers on/off easily.
no idea how such a thing would work in real life so thinking on likely materials etc I imagined using strap iron to build such a securing mechanism, as it needs to be strong, as such ships get involved in battle and high winds, seas etc.the panel is also damn heavy as it's made of 3" and 6" thick hardwood, it's protective bulwark in batle, another reason for strength, going with 42" high railings. :)



this shows initial design for holding the removable panels where cargo would be loaded

lot of the ship's railing now done :)
missed out one damn pillar on rear entrance, doh! :P

Basic work on rialings done, making two6inch thick top/bottom rails, with 3inch thick panels between them

whole ship, to date. start work on the railings :)

Improved the doors, well, they do have to keep pirates out ;)

tweaking it, altering testures, modelled "acron" style carving on sides of doors (which I later removed)

close up of rear entrance, showing the detail of the lights, and how I "chamfer" everything to give detail, and rebated the top of one post to accept the light
notice how the second, smaller scroll, acts as a strengthener, and makes it harder for the chain to slip off accidentally ;)

And, oops! this is test#27, doh, well, anyone can screw up :P

The rear entrance

Built a new frame to hold the door

close up details of the magic lights around the entrance :)
"Keeping the ship safe from the scum of the universe!" ;)

One of the many odd things in the "Spelljammer" universe is that between solar systems, is the "Phlogiston",
a vast region of rainbow coloured, highly INFLAMMABLE gas,
ie it's like sailing through psychedelic petrol fumes :P hence,
magic, non burning lights are a good idea!!

Created some lights for the entrances, and ornate ironscroll work to hold them up :)

front entrance done :)
I envision the roof can be lifted right off to help load cargo/items etc when required. still working on it though

now one eye is done AND the hole is cut through
I can then just "mirror" them so you get the exact same items on the other side of the ship! ;)
saves tons of time. you can also see the stairs I added
Note you can see in this pic and previous one how the "textures" just in front of the eyes doesn't line up right, this is what I reffered to earlier about UV mapping
It's a REAL pain to sort out precisely, so have only done it roughly so far, will sort it out later ;)
built the "eye" :)
this is a LOT of work actually, it's very tricky!
  it has a "metal sleeve" and inner and outer metal surround, each chamfered very thinly that adds to realism, the chamfer catches light on edges of objects, problem with 3D is that edges can be "perfect", infinately thin/sharp, so they do not reflect light, which is impossible in the real world, so you have to add a slight chamfer to edges to get realism, but that increases complexity and polygon count, but worth it in the end.

the inner sleeve (a tube) which lines the big hole cut out of the hull is important
because in renders up close, you won't see wood planks cut through (which looks odd).
Instead you see just clean, smooth metal, which looks better.
to get the wires onto the eyes requires drawing out the shape of the wires you want, extruding that out, like taking a line from a blackboard then pulling it out like cardboard so it sticks out in the real world
then you intersect the "cardboard" with the glass of the eye,
and where the cardboard meets the glass, it leaves a trace
you use that trace to grow the wires around ;)

tradesman 2012, test #19

This shows the method to support the cargo hatches, which are flush wih the decks, so are held up by a sort of "ring" underneath them.
Also shows the angle supports, plus the new decking on ballast deck and candles.

also shows the two "ribs" near cargo hatches don't "look" right, ebcause I had to rebuild them to fit new hatch/supports, I will need ot UV map them same as old ones, doh! this is why test shots are important

there, cargo hatches fitted flush with the deck, held up by big supprting sort of "collar" underneath, and support angle beams bracing those, so my "inner engineer" is happy with strength of the deck now, hehe.

then I added proper decking to the ballast hold, tricky, used individual planks rather than one large flat sheet to do that, because of layout, and way I like to let some of the ballast be seen, and can use in later renders, to pull up planks to show smuggled treasure or such hiding in the sand etc...or I can just delete it all to cut down on polygon count for renders showing no internals

another "glass" render, love these ;) that all looks pretty good now, so am happy with what's done so far plus I added block for the new mast to sit in, too. next I need to work on the hatches

And here that problem with cargo hatches is fixed! still leaves central deck support section bit weak IMHO but that gets fixed later on ;) also took out a wall Ihad accidentally blocking small part of room on back right side just in frotn of the "square" section at back, duh! lot of work, wears me out, but love making a good job :)

did this as a "beauty" and test shot...test shots are important...sigh, I'd forgotten to leave enough space for the damn big cargo hatches, DOH!!! the two horizontal beams in middle are in the way, necessitating much work in rebuilding them, ribs at that point etc had all been cropped to fit so, more work...c'est le vie! ;)

this shows the "ribs" that hold the entire ship together. In real life, these are made from many very cleverly interlocking pieces, as no single tree is ever big enough, or right, for such work, but that's too much work, even for me ;)

A simple shot showing the passgeway back of the bridge, with a human for scale. yes I know, his eyes are weird, low quality import jsut for test, not a fine art render! ;)


this render shows how I've added doorways with frames.
used simple latches as such would be likely, as locking doors as we know 'em would be uncommon, kept only for the captain's cabin or helmroom perhaps.
I "booleaned" (cut out) shapes from the doorframes and support pillars to let the swinging latch work,
I try to be as practical as possible with these most impractical of vessels ;)

this pic shows the lower hold
the original deck plans for the ship and it's statistics didn't mention much of this or take into account it's size! massively increases the ship's true cargo capacity

the "sand" is the ballast, ships used sand to weigh and balance the ship
it also absorbed blows of cargo being accidentally dropped on it so saving the hull from being ruptured and they often added bricks, metal ingots and other heavy, tradeable stuff as extra ballast down deep, that they could make profit from
interestingly, sometimes the sand itself was valuable, as some sands contained rare minerals, or was used for making special glass if of the right type.

think I'll make the plank walkway more even using risers

Added some simple candles and holders, in Spelljammer such would be magical due to high risk of fire form normal candles in such a hold!

there, much of the internals done, UVmapped.
Now onto the more trickier stuff ;)


this shows how I have "UV MAPPED" the model's exterior, this lets the "textures" (special photos of in this case, planks), fit properly to the model :)

Rendered this with a glass material to let you see inside :)
shows the "ribs" that support the ship

working on the interior
laying out the walls, main supports and spaces for the doors.
from now on I'm gonna add full internal supports etc, can always delete them out for exterior shots, but for interior shots, the detail is handy as you cannot add such detial in later on! (not easily anyway)

next will be the "ribs" that support the hull :)

temporary textures, the mesh has not been "UV mapped" yet so they don't align true

K, now I've made the rear (boxey) section and blended the hull into it underneath which is quite tricky

render of the initial hull shape, from curves and lines, to this :)

Initial start #1



All original art, writing on this site, copyright of Steven James, "Silverblade the Enchanter" ©2012