Airplane : Sopwith Pup

Hi everyone. I’m new on BA so I guess this is the occasion to present myself quickly (sorry if this is the wrong place), and especially the little project I’ve been working on for a few days.

I’m a french student of 24 years. I used Maya a few years ago (mainly did some tutorials), then Blender, but never got so far with it, and I did nothing very interesting. I’ve now used Blender rather ‘intensively’ for 3 weeks, and I’m very motivated to progress. I did principally tutorials from BlenderGuru (The Boeing 747, Spaceship corridor and Clouds ; BlenderGuru’s tutos are what got me very motivated, I must say) and some ‘everyday objects’ to practice modeling.

In the past week I began a project to practice, and in a attempt to make my first real ‘important’ modeling. I wanted to do a WW1 airplane, and chose the Sopwith Pup, a relatively widespread plane in this war, and which seemed relatively simple to do. I use blueprints to make sure the proportions are correct.

Latest render :


Here is the first render :


I put the wireframe too, if any of you are interested (not sure if this is the best method to show it, but fow now I don’t know how to render it better :smiley: ):


I saw some planes here before, I hope mine will interest some people too :slight_smile:

Thanks in advance for your feedback and advice.

Military Meshes site has some very good tutorials using Blender on building aircraft ,including WW1 vintage .
You look like you’ve got the hang of it though.

This is a nice start asmoth. Looking forward to seeing it textured. I’m assuming it’ll be the traditional khaki-green colour? Reason I ask is because the local RAAF base near me has theirs painted in white.

Also I think you might need to subdivide the bottom wing as well. It’s got a sharp edge on on the wingtip which I noticed.

Finally if you’re after an easier way to do wireframe renders I’d suggest this tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ItWP3lGBGY. It uses freestyle but it’s really straightforward.

Good start - you have properly recreated the proportions of this fighter. The bottom wing should have the same rounded tip as the upper wing (on your picture #1 it is angular).
Could you tell us what is the planned level of detail for this model?
If you are going to make it more detailed, there is a lot to do. For example: it seems that your wings have flat airfoil (cross section), while in the real airplane it was a high-camber, “bird-like” airfoil typical for this period. See for example this restored plane. The thickness and camber of the wing airfoil is visible here, thanks to the large transparent cut-outs in the upper wing surface. (However, these cout-outs and the cover by transparent celluloid seem to be modern modification - see this another restored machine).
Note on the first photo that during flight the airflow creates slight depressions of the fabric skin between the wing ribs - the quickest way to recreate such a effect is a bump or normal map (of course, if you can also model it or use a displacement map. It is more detailed, but requires much more mesh faces and work). I will not mention all these “piano” strings crossed between the wing struts, because I am sure that you know that your model will need this detail :).

Thanks for your replies. I forgot to mention that the modeling is not finished, and I use subsurf modifier on most of the parts, but not the lower wings because I detailed the top one first :stuck_out_tongue: That’s why it appears more sharp.

@domb3026 For the color, on most of the pictures I found the plane is white or something like beige, I don’t remember seeing any kakhi one. So I think I will chose white.

@Witold Jaworski : the section is not flat, I tried to recreate that type of airfoiled but it’s not that visible, I’ll try to show it better. For the ‘piano strings’, yes I will make them, like I did for the ‘tail’ part. Not sure if this is the right time as it’s mostly details, maybe I can do the texturing first?
I noticed the depressions of the skin, I was not sure how to do it… A bump map may not be realistic enough for some relatively close shots…

Yes, you are right: first texture the main mesh, then do the details (I use similar method).

Bump maps can be really strong in Cycles: see for example similar effect obtained on a fabric-covered rudder of a WWII fighter - this part was similar to your wing. (When you scroll back to the beginning of section 11.41 in this book, you can check how this bump map was created).
If you decide that you definitely want to see the ribs in the wing contour (for example - in the front view), you can deform your wing using displacement map (here you can find its example). It produces more final faces, but as every modifier, still keeps he source mesh topology simple (i.e. easy to unwrap).

Added some detail, mostly the metal strings and attachments pieces in the empennage (the rear part, it makes me learn the name of all the parts :p), the undercarriage too with little pieces added. I smoothed with subsurf and added loop cuts to the lower wings.

Thank you very much domb3026 for the wireframe tip, it’s very convenient (isn’t there a way to ‘mark freestyle edges’ for every object in the scene at the same time ? I had to enter edit mode for each one)

Here are the latest render, wireframe render and one of the rear part. I think I would like to keep that level of detail for the rest or the plane, however the cockpit part will be more difficult, and I will surely have to make a pilot too.




Next step will be making those piano strings for the rest of the plane too, I did’t noticed there was so much of them at the beginning :smiley:

I can’t reach this part, apparently it’s not in the free part. Maybe I didn’t understand how to do :smiley:

You’re probably right (you wrote a book on the subject, you surely are right :slight_smile: ), I will try bump or displacement maps. Increasing the crease on the main edges of the wings and fuselage would make it less smooth too, like there were ribs underneath ?

Edit : I cut the wing to show you the airfoil : I made the bottom flat, with a curve on the top. But now that I see it this way, the bolder part should be more to the front, right ?


Edit 2 to avoid too much posts :
@ domb3026 : I forgot to correct something about the color, I checked the RAAF aircrafts and this is not what I meant, I thought you meant the “camouflage” color. In fact most of them are bicolor, white or beige, and brown on the wings.

No, the bottom surface of these wings were not flat! See these original Sopwith blueprints of the wing ribs.

See below there is an extracted section 11.41: (excuse me, but this PDF is strangely rendered here, but it looks normal when you click it and open in the Adobe Reader). It uses Inkscape for 2D vector graphics. Note the profile of the texture gradient - it is important.
Of course, you can model the ribs as you described (put an edge along every rib, another in the between, then crease the rib edges). Many modelers use it, especially when they do a model for the first time. This is the most obvious method, but has two disadvantages:

  1. It requires much more work than the two others that use textures;
  2. It create much complex mesh topology (think about UV-unwrapping) than the texture-based methods;

11.41.pdf (492 KB)

Thanks, it’s indeed very detailed. I don’t know if I will do it as precisely, I will see that. I will try to improve the wings airfoil too, I didn’t see it like that (I assume the Pup’s wings are very close to the Camel’s)
I’ll have to try Inkscape too, I only use Gimp for textures usually.

Update : Did some simple materials, tried to changed the airfoil and overall shape of the wings and that’s it for the moment. It’s a bit dark but I’ll add a better lighting later, there is only a sun.


Like the progress made from the first render to the last one, you have made some improvements…keep on the good work.

I know is still early stages in texturing, like the overall look, at least is not out of proportions…now here’s an important question you need to ask yourself…how far do you want to take it as far as details. I would try Witold’s technique for getting the feel of fabric and ribs as he posted in #9, it would make justice to the work you have put into it so far.

Thanks tommy1441. I will try to make it pretty :slight_smile:

Today I ran into a problem :eek: . I’m not an expert in textures and UV mapping, those I used so far were simple.
But for my plane, I have many objects, one for each part : fuselage, wings, etc. Many share the same material, because they are covered with the same fabric (one material for the dark fabric, one beige etc). But I would like to use a different texture (for the bump mapping) for each object, if possible. And I don’t know how to use a texture for an object without duplicating my materials.
It seems I have to make separate materials, to use a specific texture for each. I don’t find it convenient, I couldn’t change the color of the fabric for all the materials for example, right ?
Or I could use a big texture for the entire plane, with the objects unwrapped to the right place, where their texture would be. But I don’t know neither how to unwrapped the different objects on only one UV map and export it. When I enter in edit mode I see only the UV maps for the current object.

Sorry for these newbie questions, I hope you can help me, I’m a bit discouraged and my ‘googlings’ were not successful.
Thanks in advance :slight_smile:

Bonus : I did a quick texture to test the bump map on the tailplane. UV unwrapping was done quickly, just to see what the bump could look like ; I think that’s not too bad. But in your pdf Witold you say the gradient has to be parabolic. In inkscape I didn’t find it, just linear or radial gradient (Inkscape is new for me, I hate it xD). How do you do it ?


Definitely: one material for the fabric skin, one large texture for all objects! There is a switch in UV/Image Editor which draws read-only contours of other selected objects in the UV view. I used it while unwrapping various parts (objects) of my models. (it is in the UV/Image Editor , checkbox: View–>Draw Other Objects).
However, there are also other issues during the texturing. Describing all details of this process took me over 100 printed pages (most of them are used by the pictures). It is as important as modeling. If you are new to it - you can at lest skim the pictures in the free (Polish) version of Volume III (Materials and Textures) of this book. (It is a little bit like a comic-book :), the pictures and command names are understable for all). It will be at least easier for me to refer in my explanations to a specific picture from this book, than to reproduce it in the full length here.

By default the color profile of Inkscape gradient is linear: there is a linear transition between start color and end color. However, you can add additional middle “nodes” (they call it “stops”) and set their color. In this way you will obtain “parabolic” distribution of the grayscale intensities along the gradient. You can find details in Volume III, section 6.38, see pictures labeled “Rysunek 6.38.8”, “Rysunek 6.38.9”.

Thank you. I just tried it but checking “draw all objects” allows me to see them in the UV/image Editor but not export them in one image. :confused: At least I don’t see how. And it depends which objects are selected, sometimes I see only a little part of an object, sometimes some other objects… I don’t understand. Maybe I can show you the .blend ?

Ok for Inkscape I thought this was a functionality. I’ll try that.

To export all selected objects into an SVG, I created an add-in, which is enclosed to my book. Download from this pagethe source.zip file. Inside there is the add-on file: source\scripts\addon\io_mesh_uv_svg.py. Its usage is described in Volume III, section 11.11 (starting from “Rysunek 11.11.2”)

To have this work without such problems:

  1. Unwrap all objects
  2. Assign all these UV layouts to a single image (it is the image ID which counts for Blender. You can still replace its content, using Image–>Replace)

Added some cables and details. Not touched to UV map/texturing yet.
Witold I’ll try your add-on tomorrow I think.


I’ve just noticed something that could make thing better as far as texturing and getting things right, IMO I would fix the lighting setup because @ the moment all I’m picking is just one light source and makes the fabric too dark to appreciate any detail that you might be adding in the near future.
In my case I have three light setups, one very basic that lights the scene evenly throughout giving me the chance to see any mesh imperfection like pinching and so forth, then a more “Studio” setup where I can have a feel for the overall textures/bumps and any detail and then lastly a full HDRI setup to fine tune the texture and final render.

My light setup is just a sun, really simple. I wanted to focus on the modeling before taking care of lighting, but I appreciate your advice, I’ll add some lights soon :slight_smile:
I didn’t change the plane today, hopefully tomorrow I will.

Quickly did a hangar tu put my plane into. It’s far from final.
I did some tests with lamps hanging to the beams, unfortunately I got a LOT of fireflies… Even with 500 passes. So I don’t know if I will keep them. Does anybody has any advice to improve that ?