Wk 13: Full Reference List


High Res Skymap [Image]. (2004). Retrieved from

Orange Cloth Texture [Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Seamless Wood Textures [Image]. (2012). Retrieved from


Cobratronik. (2011). Wind Artic Cold. Retrieved from

Dheming. (2013). Wood Creak. Retrieved from

Erokia. (2013). Elementary Wave 11. Retrieved from


Wk 13: Rigging, Scene Set Up and Animation


After being reminded to reset xForms and actually doing that I began the rigging. Because my model is a simple hard-surface vehicle it doesn’t have many movable parts so my rigging is mainly just establishing the hierarchies. In addition to this I also added a controller, just to make life a bit easier.


Scene Setup

For my animation I decided that my airship should be flying through a stormy, snowy sky. To do this, I needed to learn how to create a skydome and also how to use the particle system. This was a great learning experience although it was quite frustrating at times as I had no really knowledge and was working mostly from internet tutorials.

Firstly, I started with the skydome. I created a sphere, flipped the normals and used a free sky sphere map as the material. The image below shows the sphere, with the texture, before the normals are flipped.

I got the sky map from the following address: http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?24038-Free-high-res-skymaps-%28Massive-07-update%21%29


Next I began working on the snow. The particle I used was a very quickly and roughly created snowflake. It is not great quality but I needed it done quickly…


I used the blizzard particle system and the blizzard preset. I adjusted many of the settings so that the particles would vary slightly in size and rotation.

rsz_r03 (1)

I used a u-deflect and space-warped it onto the zeppelin so that the snowflakes hit the balloon and slowly slid off (I used a friction of 50).




I used a basic skylight for my scene. Because the model is meant to be flying through the sky, the surround lighting was appropriate. The other lights I tested did not work as they cast harsh shadows in wrong places. I tested different multipliers because I felt that the standard was a little too dark.


In the end I opted for a happy medium and settled for 1.75. The light also has the slightest blue tinge.


I started by animating a single flipper. This took longer than I expected because I messed around in the curve editor for a long time.


Using my extenstive and obsessive notes I copied this flipper and positioned the copies. For the right-hand side I mirrored the flipper. Unfortunately, this also mirrored my animations thus leading me to further note taking and imputing the exact animation (but inversed) manually into the curve editor. This actually worked surprisingly well…


The animation is very simple: the flippers move in a rowing motion, the propeller spins and the boat moves forward. There was not much else I could do as I only created an extremely basic model. However, I did animate the flippers to move in a wave motion. I just thought this looked cool.


I have two cameras in my scene. They are both free cameras linked to a dummy. One follows the model from a side on view while the other follows it from a low angle. At the moment (if I have time) I would like to render both and include both into the final video.


Now to update the textures and render…

Wk 13 (whoops): Texturing

Due to other assessment, work and procrastination I have once again left everything to the last moment. My plans for learning and buying Quixel and using on this model are now redundant as I do not have the time. However, I am still going to texture to my best ability in the time I have left

Initially I started by laying down the base colours. After a long time messing around with different shades, I stuck with the typical (boring but more realistic) brown wooden boat and a cream zeppelin. At the moment the shields are blue because I think the contrast is nice. I would really like to have a nice design on the front of the shields.


I also made the central beam of the boat a slightly darker colour. Simply because it breaks up the boat, looks nice and also hides my seams.

Several people kindly told me about ambient occlusion maps and how to render and apply it to my textures. So I did, because it is a great start for the shading and also helped me save a heap of time. It did, however, take four goes to render it but mostly because I am a quality snob and wanted in a 2048 resolution (with 128 passes). Here is my final AO map:


I simply used multiply on the AO layer.


There was a lot of little bits that needed to be fixed but this copy looks pretty good already. As you can see below, there are issues with the shadow on the zeppelin fins and the seats. There is also several seams (seen on the zeppelin) and patches that are too dark.


The model shown in consistent colours with the AO map applied over the texture (not fixed up yet). 

A lot of time was spent fixing the AO map in order to hide the seams. In addition to this, I added some textures and adjusted the colours. It was really fun to play with textures and I would definitely like to experiment further with this in the future.


My model with the completed textures is shown below:


The shield has the most detail. I added a decal, a rust texture, a steel rim (with highlights) and some bolts.

rsz_44 (1)

I think the texturing worked out OK, even though I left it much too late. If I had more time I would like to have added additional highlights and shadows.

Wk 11 & 12: UV Mapping

I have realised how little I actually knew about UV mapping: this week as been a steep learning curve. Luckily, it will be extremely helpful for future modelling. I now have a much better understanding of breaks, seams, the relax tool and the peel tool. Now I can kind of see if an object will need to be broken up into smaller pieces or can be mapped as a whole.

The objects that took me the longest time to unwrap were the boat and the zeppelin. In retrospect I can see that these objects weren’t that hard. It just took me an extremely long time to remember how to unwrap, work out what technique or tools to use and get used to the new tools.


Now, I also understand when texture seams will be manageable. For example, I have a seam visible on the inside of the boat between the sides and the central strip. However, as I was going to texture that as a separate piece of wood the seam will be unnoticeable.


With the flippers and shields it was much more time efficient to unwrap one of each, delete the others and then just redo all the spacing and symmetry modifiers.


Finally I managed to Tetris them all together. Here is the final UV maps for my model:


Wk 10: Finishing the Modelling

Over the past week I have been working on the modelling. I completed the model of the boat by adding seats and decoration on the front and back. I initially included the seats and used the Boolean tool to carefully make sure that the boat and the seats did not overlap but rather sat against each other. Later, I was told that this was less effective so I extended the seats a fraction.


In addition to this, I created final details like the propeller, flippers, shields and zeppelin. The flipper took the longest time to model as it was difficult to get the shape right. In addition to this, the flipper was initially relatively high-poly, so I cut many polys from the back, where it is flat and there is less detail.


Finally, I assembled all the components together. I used the spacing tool in order to align the seats, shields and flippers.



Shown in consistent colours as my computer could not handle the shading. 

The last thing I did to my model was add some ropes (using spline lines) to connect the zeppelin and boat together. I am relatively happy with my model as it is. It is very basic but I hope to texture it in detail.

rsz_a rsz_b

I also look forward to animating it. I am planing on making the propeller will spin and the flippers paddle in a synchronized wave. At the moment, I think that it should be flying through clouds and a blizzard. This would look awesome and would also give me experience with some of the particle systems.

Wk 9: Modelling the Basics

This week I began modelling my hard-surface game asset. I began by putting my blueprint into 3dsMax by flipping the normals of a box, deleting the unnecessary polys and applying the blueprints as a standard texture with a bitmap fit. This worked really well as I allows me to get the correct shapes and scaling.


The blueprints of the front, side and top view. 


For the body of the zeppelin I started with the capsule primitive. 


By setting the object to see-through I was able to shape it easily to the blueprint by manipulating vertices, and edge rings. 

The zeppelin body was very simple and quick to model, much easier than the boat. With the boat I used similar techniques but also included a symmetry modifier. This time, I started with a chamfered cylinder because it gave the best possible shape with a flat end.


Starting the main body of the boat. 

The modelling of the boat involved a lot of vertex and edge modifying and the deletion of extraneous polys. To prepare for the wood detailing (shown in red on the blueprints) I chamfered the bottom so that the boat has a loop of flat polys running lengthwise.


Boat with one shield. At this point the boat has no thickness to it.

To give the boat a realistic thickness I cloned it, re-sized it appropriately and then bridged the two borders. This worked very well and makes the boat much more solid.