How do I make the hull of a ship?

I tried studying this in order to get an idea of how to model my ship. Problem is, everything is applied, all modifiers are applied, so I cannot really study it.

I have no idea as to:

  1. How to model the hull. I have struggled with this for hours, and I have yet to come up with a satisfying solution.

  2. How to evenly place the cannon-holes and evenly place the hatches. On the model, it looks as if it is all made using an array modifier, but surely it is not, because of the uneven shape of the ship’s hull (curving inwards some places, curving outwards elsewhere etc.)

Please tell me how I do this.

  1. Try using a curve with an array. Like this:

Thanks. That works.

I managed to have a Nurbs curve follow the ship’s hull from top view, then just make a plane and rotate it so it is vertical. Then subdivide it and make the cannon holes and hatches. Then I gave it array modifier and curve modifier, and in Object view, adjusted it along the curve. Then apply the array and curve modifiers, and adjust the hull (give it a mirror modifier so you only have to work at one side. Remember to set mirror modifier to Merge.

I have to say, this problem is not solved yet. My model with array and curve modifier does not look like a hull of an old ship AT ALL!

Please please please help me out here!

Could you give more details ? Like “Why” you think it does not look like a old ship ? Does it come from your models ? Give us more infos if you want some help please. Thanks

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Like this “tutorial”:

I do not know how to get from this:

To this:

The author says 0 about how to get from one point of the project, to the other.

  1. What kinds of reference images are you using? For ship hulls, cross-section/rib references are best if you can get them.

  2. You’re not easily going to get from a flat mesh to a smooth ship’s hull using mesh editing or sculpting. Ben retopoed that mesh onto his model. Have you tried using curves or NURBS surfaces to get the shape? If you don’t know what that is, we can help.

Ben says right out, his guide is not meant to be a step by step tutorial. He also says the HMS Victory was difficult for him, and he’s a highly accomplished modeler.

Yes, I tried using NURBS curves. I tried the method suggested in this thread. But I end up with this:

Where this is the shape I am going for:


Hey !
It’s all said in the tuto… His model is “retopo-ed” (we can say that ? XD), so basicly, it’s like a texture projection, but with a mesh.

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Your hull looks mostly cylindrical because it has the same cross-sectional profile for most of its length. The profile should actually change dramatically as you move fore-to-aft, as shown in this figure from Ben Simond’s tutorial:

Those line drawings on the right show what the hull profile should look like at different fore-and-aft levels. You need to edit the segments of your NURBS profile accordingly before converting it to a mesh.

Hard-surface yet organically curved objects like ships and cars are difficult to model in Blender, because it’s not meant to be a CAD or surface modeling program like Autocad or Rhino. But keep trying, it’s not impossible.

Ok, so how do I retopo a flat surface onto a curved mesh?

He says something about “retopo-all” function in Blender… a non-existent function. I have yet to see that feature in my version of Blender.

He says something about “retopo-all” function in Blender

Retopo-all hasn’t been around since v2.5. Instead try editing your mesh with “snapping to faces” activated, using the “project individual elements” option.

The Shrinkwrap modifier may also work for you.

There is also the built-in BSurfaces addon that lets you retopologize by drawing on the mesh surface with the Grease Pencil and turning strokes into polys, but I haven’t used it.

Hey !
Hum… To be honest, retopo isn’t something I master. Or, in other words, I know the main lines, but don’t know how to use it, where, or why… Sorry, I’m not a master in Blender yet. You’ll have to find someone else.
Hope it was helpfull, or at least helped you a bit !

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I need to make the hull in order to have something to retopo onto. How the ___ do I make that damn hull? I tried everything!

I know people talk alot about these “theoretical lines”. I asked before, I ask again: What are theoretical lines, and how do I use them to model my hull?

Those are the lines numbered 2-12 and B-K in the image I posted above. They correspond to the same positions marked in the side view, ie the hull should curve at position 12 as shown in the frontal cross-section.

As in this image, the standard for naval architecture is to show the aft sections on the left and the fore sections on the right of the hull plan.

Edit: If you want to try modeling a boat by following the cross-sections in a plan, I’d suggest practicing first with something simpler like a canoe. Seriously, this stuff is hard. See post #24 in this thread for example plans:

Your hull actually looks pretty good. You just need to add a few more horizontal loop cuts along the bottom and then pull out the faces a little bit to give it more roundness, and then curve the sides inwards along the top part, starting where the upper cannon ports are. Once you get that pot-bellied shape to it, it will look a lot better.

I’m trying to model this as well, just for something interesting to do, and it isn’t easy, so I can understand your frustration. I don’t care to post what I’ve got… maybe later when it looks better.

Thank you.

I followed the suggestings made in this thread, and this is what I did:

First, model the base mesh of the hull (box-modelling with mirror modifier) to get basic hull shape.

Secondly, I had a plane with cannon holes in it. I used an array modifier to distribute the cannon holes, I just made 3 cannon holes vertical to each other. Applied the array modifier (remember to set it to ‘Merge’ and ‘First Last’ otherwise your vertices won’t be joined.

Then I used ShrinkWrap-modifier and adjusted the shape. I retopologized the the remaining part of the hull, then finally I used a Lattice modifier to bend the hull upward, and this is the shape I ended up with. Not pretty, but I’d like to know what you guys here think:

Great start. The stern will have to curve up more to make room for the stern post and rudder but I guess you’re getting to that. Are you trying to model a particular ship of the line?

Thanks. I’m not making a particular ship, just a “random” mix of the various battle ships from the 17th-18th century.

I have a problem though: The cannon holes gets shiny in an annoying way when I set it to Smooth. Why? And how can I correct this issue?

Look at the cannon holes, they have small shadows around them… annoying.

I would do the holes not topology based (face exactly at the correct place), because they will bring too much problems later when trying to edit hull.
I use array/curve modifiers and hull solidify modifier that boolean can work.
You can also shrinkwrap the curve to the hull so when hull geometry changes, your holes will follow hull shape.