The Underground

Thanks to Andrew Price’s excellent tutorial I just finished this piece:
Im pretty happy with the result but I would normally have spent much longer on a project like this but as I am very busy with a short film right now I only had a couple of hours to work on this one. I hope you like it and I look forward to hearing your feedback. Happy blending!

heres a link to a much higher res version: LINK

Your rails need to be on the floor otherwise the weight of the train will crack the rail between the sleepers. OK you don’t seem to have sleeper just blocks holding the rails but these should be sunk into either concrete or ballast (stones). I don’t know what those things like thin rails in the middle with two wires each going into them are but if they are supposed to be the third rail they need to be held off the ground by insulated pots otherwise they are permanently earthed and as the third rail provides the power to the train this is not a good idea. They would also need to be a lot thicker because you need a good contact surface area between the rail and the pick-up shoe and the power wires would need to be a lot thicker as they would be carrying between 600 and 750V DC (if that’s not what it is then ignore that bit). The signal is wrong. Railway signals have red at the bottom for safety reasons. If a signal has a sun visor it can get a build up of snow in winter and obscure the aspect above. This means even if the signal is covered in snow only the lowest aspect will still be visible and as red is the important one to see it is at the bottom. As all railway signals conform to a standard this also applies to those where the problem doesn’t occur including those in tunnels. I have never seen a signal on the ceiling of a tunnel, just on the ground or walls but I have only ever driven on the London Underground so I couldn’t comment on other railways. There are a few stones but nowhere for them to have come from. In a railway tunnel you either get loads if there is ballast or none if there isn’t. If you look at you can see sleepers embedded in ballast. There is a fourth rail as this is London Underground. If you look at the cables coming up out of the ballast and going into the middle rail just before the rail gap you will see how thick they are.
That’s the technical stuff out of the way. I really like the image. The texturing and depth of field are spot on. The atmosphere is just right too. Excellent job. Well done

Thanks mate I appreciate the detail of your feedback! I definitely understand what you are saying but If you look at my reference photo you’ll see that everything is pretty spot on except the blocks which could be a bit larger and the signal light which is at the top.

I guess I should have specified, its not based exactly on the london underground, its more just based on a generic underground railway. Thanks for the feedback!

I know it’s not the London Underground. There are only 3 rails in each bit. What I meant to say was that I can only comment on the London Underground as that is the only railway I have driven trains on. I really love this image and I want you to realise that. The things I commented on were supposed to be critiques (God I hate that word) from a realism point of view regarding any railway. Seriously shove the rails into the floor because on a concrete floor this is most likely.Get rid of the stones because unless there is ballast they really ain’t there. I’m a train driver and I see these things every day at work.The really big problem I have is that I get a totally different view of the railway from in the cab compared to what passengers imagine. I am being critical from a train driver’s point of view rather than a passenger’s or an artist’s. Please accept my congratulations for what you have done from an artistic point of view and ignore my train driver’s argument. It’s still a superb piece of work.

Thanks for your response, I made some changes based on your comments. Let me know what you think.

The original link is Broken, BTW. Might wanna fix that.

The image looks really nice, but I think the floor/ground needs a bit of bumping to make it look more normal. Right now it is a somehow perfectly smooth surface. Just a little bit of bump would break it uup and improve the image.
Also, the planks on the right look like they are floating. might wanna fix that too.


The signal’s the wrong way up. Red should be at the bottom. The current rails need to be bigger and off the ground and the cables shoulb be thicker (think of the current they carry). Also I’d lose the stones but you have the running rails correctly positioned and it’s looking very good.

Wait how are the rails held off the ground?

Rails are held up by insulated pots. On London Underground we have two types. The old type is very like those used on Network Rail. A porcelain piece with a metal top holds the rail up slightly higher than the running rail. The newer ones don’t have a metal piece on top but I don’t think I have any photos of that type. If you look at the traction current rail is nearest the camera. There is a porcelain pot near the centre at the bottom of the photo (just in front of the yellow bar shorting out the traction current rails). There is also one under the middle rail (this is London Underground so four rails) just in front of the ladder. The pots are always dirty unless very new so you don’t need much detail, just a cylinder with a plane on top with edges to stop the rail moving about too much. If you look at Andrew Price’s final render he did actually do this but he didn’t mention it in the tutorial.