Airship - Updated 11/5

Eventually I’m going to add a ship body hanging underneath the balloon, but I wanted some criticism for it first. I’m toying with the idea of putting some sails on the sides of the balloon too.

I textured the blimp and the sail with a uv map, which was a very good learning experience, and I’m fairly satisfied with the results, but of course any criticism would be welcome.

I know the rope needs work badly, but I’m not quite sure what to do with it, especially for the material. I’m thinking about remodeling it so it has a tighter twist.

I could also use some advice for the materials for the supports for the sail, and for the metal base attatching them to the blimp.

I’ve been trying to make a net to cover part of the balloon, but haven’t come up with anything realistic enough to satisfy me. I’ve tried hand modeling the net, but that takes an incredibly long time, even for a very simple mesh, and I hate to think of the time needed for a complex rope net. Are there any other methods I should look into? I’ve tried soft bodies, but never got a satisfactory result. Pieces kept falling through the balloon or it would roll off or stretch badly.

I also want to redo the sails as soft bodies so I can rotate the supports and have the cloth flow with it, but I don’t know how to attatch two different edges to two different objects. I can get it working with one edge just fine, using the goal setting, but don’t see how to have two different groups active in the same mesh.

Quick Update: Added on some sails to the side of the blimp. The sails were uv mapped in the same fashion as the blimp and the rear sails.

The sails have some strange points in them near the blimp because I only anchored certain verticies, instead of that whole edge. Idealy I’d have the whole edge recieve half of the goal effect, but it seems like its all or nothing. I’ll try and tweak that later.

looks good. i wish i could texture like that. =P

Are you planning on adding a steam engine or something like that? Looking good. Can’t really help you with the softbodies, since I haven’t goofed around with them yet, but I’m sure someone will pop in and share the knowledge.

I’ve started working on the ship body and hope to get some advice on it before I give texturing it a shot. I’d hate to get it right only to have something pointed out that I ought to fix.

The steps there are placeholders for stairs leading up to the top deck. I’m also planning on adding a bit more detail inside, but not too much more. I’m thinking of obscuring the inside for the final picture, so you can see a trace of detail, but its mostly too dark to see inside.

Texturing the blimp was actually surprisingly easy. Its just a bunch of image textures blended together, with a bit of work at the seams to make the stitches, and adding some patches. There’s also a few cloud textures to add a bit of dirt. The sails were even easier, since its all one sheet.

I’m planning on adding two turbines at the back of the ship hull, but a steam engine might actually be a nice touch to put on the upper deck. I was having trouble figuring out what to put up there.

once again,…it looks awsome

It has a promising start and has great texturing. It has some similarity to the one in The Mummy Returns

Looking good Tauceti38, very good indeed. About those “strange points” on the sails near the blimp: don’t change them, they fit right in with the patches on the gas bag and the mottling on the sails.

You might try painting the net on the gas bag texture, and just model ropes where the “net” moves away from the bag. Still, sounds like a lot of work. Maybe paint the net coming together in points attached to a single rope, in about eight spots, four on a side, then extend only eight ropes down to the ship.

nice. I love the textures. one question did you use a little bit of displacement on the balloon part or just bump maps?

Finally back with an update. I started modeling all of the planks individually after uv mapping it didn’t quite give me the result I wanted, but eventually settled on only modeling the planks on the deck, and leaving the hull of the ship as a single mesh. I’ve started adding molding on to the edges and gave it a basic wood texture.

Obviously it needs a lot of work, but I just wanted something to replace the standard gray.

I also tweaked the rope a bit, and added some detail to the top of the blimp.

There’s a larger attached image as well, taken from a different angle. You also get a close up of the blimp and can see the texture a bit better.

The_warder: I actually modeled all of that by hand. I originally tried creating a single segment, then spinning it around but kept getting results that were too symmetric, so I settled for modeling one side of the blimp and mirroring it. The bumps were the easiest part to make, just have to select a ring of points and scale them out.

Orinoco: I’ll try that out if I can’t find any other options, but it seems to me that the net would lack depth if it was just painted on, especially since the blimp has so many bumps. It’ll stick to the contours precisely if its a texture, which isn’t what a real net would do.

Thanks for all the compliments and suggestions so far.

Woops, forgot the attachment.

You can also see it at The attached image seems to have lost some quality in compression, but this one should be fine.


Very nice! Is this the ship from mummy returns?

I was thinking that the net would stick to the contours, on the top of the blimp, and wouldn’t diverge until the tangent headed for the deck of the ship. Using a bump map would create the illusion of depth for the net, except at the visible edges, which could be tweaked with some modeling.

I suppose I ought to have been a bit clearer. The net should follow the curve of the blimp, but I would think that it would look better if the net didn’t quite stick to the blimp. I’m not really sure how to describe what I’m thinking, so I sketched a quick diagram and attached it. The black line is the blimp, and the grey is the net.

If you look at the patch on the back of the blimp in the very first image I posted you can see how closely the patch follows the contours of the blimp.

Your suggestion did make me think of something similar that might work though. If I put a plane around the blimp and draped it in the way a net would fit, I could put a net texture onto that, along with alpha mapping and bump mapping.

I haven’t seen the Mummy Returns in years and can’t recall what the ship in it looked like. I’ve had the idea for this ship for a long time though, so it might have been originally inspired by it.


I see. You’re right, of course. I was thinking the ropes would be in the valleys between the puffed out squares, but a net would also go across them. Looking forward to seeing how your plane idea works out.

I’m reminded of the illustrations in the game Myst, myself.

Another update, added sandbags and railings, and fixed up the molding a bit. I also added some negative lights inside the ship to make the doorways darker.

just a question: what do you plan to use the model for, it is coming along great

man i looove textures and lightning, great job cant wait to see whole picture

You could use curves to model the net-place the curves where you want the ropes to be then make the ropes follow the curves.

I’m finally back with an update. Most of the changes here are extra details. I’ve added in the ropes connecting the blimp to the ship, added engines, a rope ladder, and made several minor modifications.

I’m planning on adding some detail inside the ship next, possibly a furnace for the engine. I’m going to leave it pretty dark though. More ropes too, loose ones hanging from the blimp, not any more support ropes. It seems like the main deck needs some stuff on it too.

I’m not really sure what sort of scene I’m going to put this in, but currently I’m leaning towards having it docked off of a pier. Its almsot certainly going to be related to the sea in some manner.