Submarine underwater scene

I’ve never made an underwater scene before and I decided to give it a shot. I’ve got a decent sub model, and I think the water looks pretty good. However, I need help on lighting and texturing. I can’t seem to make the scene any brighter without making it look strange, but it looks too dark the way is now. And I’m totally stuck with texturing the thing. So any advice would be much appreciated.

Scene test:

Sub Model:


I want to go for the look you see in the sub movies like K-19 and Red October. I have both those films and I used them for scene references.

As I recall, the SFX team on Hunt For Red October simulated the underwater sequences with the submarine by simply placing a light gauze filter over the lens of the camera and shoting with a lot of blue and a little green light. If you add some lamps with a blue color to them to your scene, it should add definition to your objects without increasing the overall brightness of your scene (since blue is least detectable by the human eye).

You might alwo try playing with the Mist settings in the World materials area. That might give you some sense of the depth and murkiness of the water.

You might also consider post-processing your image to increase the contrast in it after rendering, to make it easier to see your submarine without brightening the scene.

Try this tutorial:

You might check this out too:

I’ve got a couple of blue lights in the scene, as well as a few white lamps. I tried to increase the brightness and contrast in PS but it didn’t work right. I’ll take a look at those tutorials.

Any texturing hints? I tried to UV map it but I gave up.

Hi [email protected],

A few weeks I ago managed to push this out. I was trying to mimic the tiled skin that you see on submarines. This was a great reference ( i wish i had their setup!). Eventually after many many revebs, i settled on this metal-paneled lookalike texture set to nor+disp and stencil - combined with some cloudnoise.

Funnily enough, i found the Toon shader gave the best definition for the sub (but it might have just been the setup). Can post .blend if you wish.

Hope this is of some help. Liking the floating debris, and that Sub model is looking ready for action!


Looks good, but I can’t seem to map it correctly. Tube mapping is the closest, but still isn’t right. How did you map that texture?

With tube mapping with a mapInput of Orco, you have to ensure that the little pink dot of the centre point is in the center of the submarine, or at least along its long axis.

Select the loop of vertices that define the fore and aft sections (just before the nose and tail start to shrink in diameter), Shift-S and snap the cursor to selection, Tab to object mode, in the Mesh panel click the Centre Cursor button.

Another problem is the axes. Select the sub and do Ctrl-A to apply scale and rotation. Now, in the MapInput of the texture, you have to set the mapping to Tube, and then play with the X, Y, and Z buttons. First, in the top row click the Y button and in the second row click the X button, thus swapping the x and y axes. Do a render. Continue to swap pairs of axes until the render is correct.

Use a rim light - a bright light shining from the back. When done properly, it will cause a light rim around the edge of the submarine, showing off its shape without changing too much else in the scene.

Ok, i must really be losing it because i have some really outlandish texture settings on that model!

All mental conditions aside, i eventually settled upon these settings. Hope their logic can be deciphered! (after all you did ask…)

Also as it happens i recently located a kick-ass texture material for a sub on a 3dmax tut site here.

Hope the project is still full steam ahead…


Ok, I’ll give that a shot.

nyrathwiz: I couldn’t seem to get that to work. Still stretches the texture at the end.

Can you please post an image demonstrating the problem?

Here is the sub with a tube mapping:

It looks ok untill the end where it gets stretched. Also stretching on the top tower.

Ah, I see.

For the top tower, you’d probably be better off giving it a different material. Use the same texture file, but make it mapInput a tube, change the second coord from Y to Z, and change the third coord from Z to Y. Do you know how to put more than one material on a single object? (I’m assuming that the top tower and the sub body proper are both parts of one single object).

For the nose, I’d make a third material. Same texture file, but use mapInput Sphere instead of Tube.

You also seem to have a problem that the convergence point of the nose texture does NOT coincide with the tip of the nose, but is instead a little high. I’m still a Blender novice so I’m unsure what the best fix is for that.

A seperate texture for the tower will work, but for the nose there will probably be a big seam if I give it a seperate texture.

Well, if you want to do it the right way, with no seams or anything, you are going to have to UV unwrap the body.

You might want to download the ArchiMap UV Unwrapper script and give it a try. You can find it here:

I’ve attempted to unwrap the mesh. I can upwrap it ok, but the seam goes right down the middle and I can’t remove it. I’ll try putting the seam on the side that isn’t rendered and see if that will work.