First go at something big


This is my second post and I’m new to blender. I’m actually just an offshore engineer who’s been asked to make some animations to showcase our equipment. I have no background in animation or art so I’m in urgent need of feedback from people who know what they’re doing!

The boat is called the Ocean Reliance, I feel like the front of the boat is quite terrible and I’m not sure how to make it more real and less cartoon like… I’m not done with the ocean or sky I just quickly chucked that in to get a feel for what it might look like

Just basically looking for advice

Thanks for any help


The best advice I can give you for now is to spend a lot of time researching materials. You need to get some “bump” images to distort the panels slightly - don’t do this with the mesh, just with bumps - and you need some scratches, dirt, rust, etc to make it look more realistic and make it look its actual size. There is a thread here by Witold on his Navy Dauntless aeroplane, he is the king of this stuff and you should look at his thread to see how he does it.

As far as the sea is concerned, I would increase the scale, make the waves smaller, currently it makes the ship look too small to my eyes, particularly near the horizon. You could also decrease the camera focal length to get a better impression of size through greater perspective angles.

Very good start, keep up the good work!

Cheers, Clock.


Here’s the link to the plane WIP

Looks nice. Try to get the water around the ship to splash more so it looks like it’s hitting the ship and the ship isn’t standing still on the water. Pretty nice modelling though.

Wow. That guy is insane!! Thanks for the taking the time to share that, I’ll work my way through it properly when I don’t have to do real work and can concentrate on this…

The boat is to scale on a 1:1 ratio so it’s probably the sea that’s messing up that scene, I’ll have another go when my boat doesn’t look like a cartoon! Also I’ve never thought to decrease the camera focal length so I’ll have a play with that too.

Should I be rendering at real scale or does it save time to scale everything down when it’s finished?

Thank you again for the feedback and I’ll post again with an update

I think I can apply a negative surface wave on the boat so it looks like the waves splash upwards… Not sure how I’ll do this yet though, we’ll see!

I think it is pretty good for a first render here. In fact I really like the picture. Sure, some normal/bump maps and a bit of dirt will make it even more realistic, but it is nice as-is.

What do you mean by “less cartoon-like”? Is it a shape issue or a material issue? Do you have a photo of the original for comparison?

This is kind of what I’ve been working off. You’ll notice probably a few differences where I’ve taken shortcuts / the boat is constantly getting changed with paint colours, layout, equipment etc. I haven’t even put all the windows in yet…

With cartoon like it’s a bit of both but 90% the material, the detail in the panels would make it look more real. I think the front of the boat is also a bit too round but I can’t find an image that would help me here so it’s quite a lot of guess work

Thanks for the kind words

Shapewise, I guess that the biggest problem of your model is the concave area on the bow around the anchor. Looking at some photos, I think the whole bow should be convex:
© Patrick Hill


Yea I completely agree and it’s been bugging me from the start. The central bit above the bow also protrudes slightly in front of the wings…

I’ve had another go at the shape and made a few changes like texturing the front where it says Gardline going off this image.

I’m not sure if the panelling is too harsh and the like but just adding some details on the windows has helped fight the cartoon

The shape looks better for sure, but editing this way has left me with some weird wrinkles which I’ll need to smooth out

Does anyone have a favourite technique for unwrapping on a curved surface such as the Bow? Project from view? Obviously it has to say “Ocean Reliance” but every time I try something like this it’s incredibly fiddly…

Looks much better!

You can try “Smart UV Project” then clean up the UV’s yourself, or a better method is to use a text item, get the font and colour right, then angle it so it is in line with the hull at the correct location, then shrinkwrap it (use a Shrinkwrap Modifier) only the hull - often much easier!

Cheers, Clock.

I would, quite frankly, say that all of these images are already very good and effective at “showcasing your employer’s equipment!” All of them look like the ship, contain a rich amount of accurate visual detail, and make the ship look good, as any advertising piece should do.

I’d very-quickly agree with the suggestion to use shrinkwrap. Often, the geometry and UVs in a particular area of a finished model are “not so good for lettering.”

As you work on the project, always remember that you are “sailing in the sea of Diminishing Returns.” Some things that you can think of to do, are things that should be done because an actual viewer will actually notice them. Whereas, a great many other things simply do not matter to anyone other than yourself. There’s no Return On Investment in actually pursuing those points.

Try to get this model “good enough,” in all of the angles by which it will actually be viewed, from the camera-distances that will actually be used. Then, call it a day. (I know … that’s hard for a perfectionist to do.) The sets used in all those spaghetti Westerns never had anything but a front . . .

Also: “any time that a movie does a jump cut, the next shot might be the same set or a different one.” If, say, you had a shot where it was particularly important to show a certain detail of the ship using some kind of a “fly-over,” one way to do it is to fly the camera toward the ship, then JUMP-CUT to a close-up shot that slowly moves across the area of interest, and the viewer will never know that this is actually a different digital model which stops just beyond the camera’s view, but which contains the level-of-detail needed for the “show-off close-up.” If you are very careful with the proportions, and know in advance (through “OpenGL Preview” renders) precisely what the two shots will look like, it’s impossible to detect and very efficient time-wise.

I’ve not gone near the shrink wrap yet so might give this a cheeky try…

I completely agree with the sailing in the sea of diminishing times, it’s quickly getting to the point where I’m just going to have to render it. I’ve finished all the equipment thankfully but as it’s spread everywhere across the ship (coring equipment Port side, CPT equipment moonpool in the centre, environmental starboard side, geophysics towed out the back) there are only a few locations that I can leave. I think once the bow is done though a few adjustments to the textures and it’s camera time

With what you said in the “also” section are there any tutorials that have helped you most here that you can recommend?

Thank you for the feedback you guys have helped me an unbelievable amount already


I’m rendering the animations now for the equipment on board, I still need to set up a sequence for the cameras for the boat which I’ve quickly rendered now in the water to show - still need to do the horizon but that’s ok.

I think the last thing I need is a splash effect, like physically coming out the water. Do I have to use a fluid simulator to do this? Is it possible with particles? I’ve tried and got absolutely nowhere with it!!

Here’s an update of what it looks like now, I’ve had to do my real job so haven’t had much chance to update it. Adding a HDR has over exposed my whites so I have to have a look at this filmic addon. Most deployments are animated now but there’s still iffy bits on the front of the boat that need addressing